Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was elected speaker of the House of Representatives in a House vote Thursday. The Republican congressman, who was initially reluctant to run, citing concerns about the role affecting his family, will continue to face a fracturing GOP and a dysfunctional Congress ahead of him.

The Wisconsin representative won with 234 votes, beating Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi with 182, and Republican Rep. Daniel Webster with 9, to become the 62nd speaker of the House.

Ryan looked to unify not only his own party but also the House as a whole. “We have nothing to fear from honest differences honestly stated. If you have ideas, let’s hear them," Ryan was set to tell his colleagues Thursday, according to prepared remarks released to the media as reported by the Washington Post. “A greater clarity between us can lead to a greater charity among us.”

The position of speaker became open in September after John Boehner announced his intentions to retire on late October, citing a lack of unity within the Republican Party. The GOP had struggled to agree on a candidate in the month that followed, with candidates either refusing the position or not garnering enough support from both hard-liners and conservatives.

The newly elected speaker said during his first address as speaker that he did not want to engage in partisan bickering. "I'm not interested in laying blame. We're not settling scores - we're wiping the slate clean," he said. Ryan projected a message of hope and rejuvenation throughout his remarks, at one moment saying, “I believe with every fiber of my being that we can renew the American idea. Our task is to make us all believe.”

Ryan made a name for himself as a young congressman by defending traditional values and making a healthy economy one of his top priorities. He was thrust into the national spotlight when he ran as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's running mate in the 2012 presidential elections. 

Ryan, 45, is the youngest person to the hold office of speaker since James Blaine was elected in 1869 at the age of 39, according to the House historian. The young speaker will face many challenges during his tenure, including a strong Tea Party presence and frequent threats of a government shutdown.

“This begins a new day in the House of Representatives,” Ryan said Wednesday after accepting the nomination. “Tomorrow we are not going to have a House that looked like it did the last few years. We are going to move forward; we are going to unify.”