DE PERE, Wis. (WHBL) - Freshman Congressman Reid Ribble no longer lives in his House district.
The Republican had moved to an apartment near De Pere in order to win the northeast Wisconsin House seat a year ago.
In a statement issued late Tuesday afternoon, Ribble says:
“My wife and I initially put our Sherwood house up for sale last year. When the listing contract with our first realtor expired we hired a new real estate agent and put the house back on the market this year at a sizeable price reduction. Unfortunately, our second time listing the house brought the same result as the first and we did not close a buyer.
"Since our kids are grown, my wife and I have felt that a family-sized home was unnecessary. We have discussed for awhile the desire to downsize and move into a smaller home that requires less maintenance.
"As empty nesters, we don’t need the same amount of space as we did when we had our kids running around. Along with that, my schedule requires a lot of traveling to and from Washington and around the district. We wish the home would have sold, but unfortunately the tough housing market prevented this from happening.
“With the listing contract coming to an end soon, the house is coming off the market until the housing market turns around. We are not immune to the negative effects of the unsteady housing market and just like many Americans across the country we have had to change our plans.
“I have a long and personal tie to the 8th District and assertions to challenge this are just ridiculous. I grew up in Appleton, went to Appleton East High School, and coached Volleyball at Appleton East High School for over 20 years. My roofing business was located in Kaukauna and my wife’s long time book store was also in Appleton. Sherwood is about four miles over the current congressional boundary line and it is so close that the property taxes we pay go to the Kaukauna School District, which is in the 8th District.
“Northeast Wisconsin is my home and always will be, and that fact has made serving the people of Wisconsin more meaningful than words can describe.
“I said last year when asked from time to time about this issue that the Constitution doesn’t care where I sleep at night - and with my schedule that’s about all I’m doing at that house…sleeping.
“With all the challenges our nation is facing during these difficult times, focus should be on creating jobs for the millions of unemployed and getting our economy back on track instead of wasting time on inconsequential matters. I took a vow when I was elected to Congress to represent the people of the 8th District to the best of my abilities and I will continue to work each and every day on the issues that will help improve the lives of Northeastern Wisconsin residents.”
If Ribble doesn’t sell the house by next year’s election, he won’t have to worry. The Journal Sentinel says the new redistricting map puts Ribble’s Sherwood home in the 8th District that he currently serves.
The home is currently in Republican Tom Petri’s district – and Ribble had said a couple years ago that he didn’t want to try to unseat a fellow Republican, so he ran against Democrat Steve Kagen and defeated him.
State Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski calls Ribble a “carpet-bagger.”
House officials say members do not have to live in their districts during the terms – and they only have to live there when they’re elected.