U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble carves niche as anti-regulation hawk

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“Voters are asking why Congressman Reid Ribble voted in lockstep with Washington Republicans to end Medicare and protect tax breaks for billionaires and Big Oil, but hasn’t done anything to create jobs,” said Haley Morris, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

As far as De Pere motorbike dealer James Eng is concerned, Ribble is doing just fine. Eng, who supported Ribble’s 2010 campaign, said he has no complaints about the congressman’s first-year performance in 2011.

“He’s doing a great job,” said Eng, owner of Nick’s BMW Motorcycles. “I send him emails often, and he responds to all of them.”

Eng said as a small business owner, he agrees with Ribble’s assault on government regulations. “He’s a businessman,” Eng said, “and knows what it takes to create jobs and put people back to work.”

Clock is ticking

In a year-end interview, Ribble said the gridlock and partisan politics that dominates Washington has exceeded his imagination. He expressed frustration over the process, as well as optimism that it will get better by the time his self-imposed four-term limit expires.

“I came into the job pretty cynical,” Ribble said, seated in a leather chair in his office on the third floor of the House Longworth Office Building. “I’m still pretty cynical, but I do believe that the system can work.”

In terms of campaign promises, Ribble said he is fulfilling his pledges of trying to fix the economy, reduce regulations, reform the tax code and help change the tone of discourse.

“I believe that jobs and the economy are the number one issues facing the country, and I’ve focused on things that will help turn the economy around by reining in the out-of-control regulatory environment in this country,” Ribble said. “I supported the (Rep. Paul) Ryan Path to Prosperity that reduces corporate tax rates to 25 percent. I’ve been consistent in tempering the speech.”

Ribble points to a 30-minute colloquy he had with Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., over the nation’s fiscal crisis as an example of his intent to engage in civil discussions with colleagues from across the political aisle.

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