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Press-Gazette endorsement: Ribble deserves second term in House

Oct. 29, 2012
 
Wisconsin 8th Congressional District Rep. Reid Ribble reached across the political aisle to get passage of a transportation bill to benefit constituents.
Wisconsin 8th Congressional District Rep. Reid Ribble reached across the political aisle to get passage of a transportation bill to benefit constituents.
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Endorsements

The schedule of Green Bay Press-Gazette endorsements:
• Today: 8th Congressional District
• Tuesday: U.S. Senate
• Wednesday: 30th Senate District

See all our our endorsements on our 2012 election page

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When Reid Ribble first campaigned to represent the 8th Congressional District in Washington, we thought he would bring a fresh perspective and vote along the lines of conservative values that we support.

We also challenged him to reach across the aisle and work with fellow lawmakers from the Democrat side.

The passage of a transportation bill in June showed Ribble’s ability to work with Democrats and his ability to work for his constituents. The multiyear deal provides about $100 billion for the federal highway program. It includes transit funds for the Green Bay Metro system, which was in danger of losing federal funds because its growing population would have classified it as a large metropolitan area. His work on the bill did something that the Democrats couldn’t do when they controlled both the House and Senate: It forged a multiyear transportation bill that garnered bipartisan support and passed Congress in a session that has not seen much substantive action.

“The idea that you can’t work together is not completely accurate, either. We have been able to find ways to work together,” Ribble told Gannett Wisconsin Media in an interview last month.

For his work in his first term, and for the promise that he brings to the office, we endorse Ribble for a second term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

His opponent, Jamie Wall, is a Democrat who has worked as a business consultant and helped found the New North, a regional marketing and economic development nonprofit.

Wall helped put together an incentive package that helped Procter & Gamble bring a $200 million paper machine to its Green Bay facility.

Wall has some good ideas about encouraging investment in small businesses and investing in our infrastructure by helping manufacturers, maintaining a skilled work force and promoting entrepreneurship. He, like many, wants to preserve Medicare and Social Security.

Wall reminds voters of Ribble’s comments critical of the Social Security system. In the campaign against Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton, whom Ribble beat, the former roofing contractor did call for the phase-out of the current system but he said it should be replaced with a new system. Ribble has said politicians need to stop raiding the Social Security fund and that seniors should get what they put into it, with interest.

Wall, meanwhile, proclaims on his website that “sound fiscal management” will save Medicare and Social Security. “Using common sense we can protect taxpayers without drastic cuts in benefits to seniors.”

If only it were so easy.

Ribble believes the plan that U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, has put forward will save Medicare from going insolvent. He believes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will bring about Medicare’s demise, therefore Ribble wants to repeal and replace it with a GOP plan that would reform medical liability insurance, focus on outcomes, be transparent and promote competition.

But getting anything done in Congress has been tough.

In an interview with Gannett Wisconsin Media during this campaign, Wall was critical of the gridlock in Washington, D.C. He said Ribble just follows orders and that congressmen and congresswomen need to reach across the aisle. “Not every issue needs to be a terrible partisan death match,” he said.

We agree with him on gridlock’s hold on Washington. But Ribble has been able to forge some compromises and bipartisan cooperation. Though his voting record shows he has voted with the Republican Party 90 percent of his time in office, he’s also been able to show examples of gaining bipartisan compromise, most notably with the transportation bill. He also worked with U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, who’s running for the U.S. Senate, in authoring the CHEATS Act, which would protect the state paper industry from unfair trade practices by China. The act was signed into law in February.

In an effort to force lawmakers to work together, Ribble wants to dock lawmakers’ pay until they pass a budget on time. He has signed on as co-sponsor of the No Budget, No Pay Act, which would do just that. If lawmakers don’t pass a budget and all spending bills by Oct. 1, the start of a new fiscal year, their pay would stop; plus, they wouldn’t get retroactive pay once they did approve the budget.

This bipartisan action has at least 50 co-sponsors in the House and 10 in the Senate, according to the bipartisan grass-roots movement No Labels, which aims to move politics from “point-scoring toward a new politics of problem-solving.”

Meeting the Oct. 1 deadline has happened four times in the last 50 years, the group notes.

While the bill has been sent to two committees and might never pass, it shows a congressman trying to do something about a problem that most people sit back and complain about without ever lifting a finger.

Any incumbent has the advantage, or sometimes disadvantage, of a track record in Congress. Ribble has such a record, and it’s to his advantage. We also like some of his ideas for the future — getting rid of red tape, reinvigorating our infrastructure, helping state agriculture, supporting manufacturing and creating jobs. “This election is about jobs and the economy,” he told Gannett Wisconsin Media.

We like the work we’ve seen from him and the promise another term in the House holds. The work he has done in Congress has represented his district well, and we believe re-electing Ribble will continue to benefit residents of the 8th Congressional District, Wisconsin and the nation.

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