A roofing representative

They told him he didn't raise enough money. They told him he wasn't getting enough exposure on television. They told him winning the House of Representatives seat for the 8th District of Wisconsin was a long shot. Well, none of that mattered.

Former NRCA President Reid Ribble, former roofing contractor and president of The Ribble Group, Kaukauna, Wis., not only handily beat his Democratic opponent and incumbent Steve Kagen, he beat him by a 10-point margin while being outspent 3 to 1.

"Nothing about this race was normal," Ribble says. "It wasn't at all what I expected."

Ribble says when he first began the campaign, he assumed he could speak to organizations such as local Kiwanis or Rotary clubs. However, such organizations typically are apolitical and shy away from inviting candidates to speak at their events. So Ribble started asking friends to host small gatherings at their homes.

Those gatherings slowly led to more gatherings, and during the primary race, Ribble found himself in front of an 800-person crowd in a park in Appleton, Wis.

"That's when I knew this campaign was turning into a movement," he says. "The number of people in attendance was huge for a race such as this."

Of course, Ribble went on to win the primary and general elections. Now, he is busy studying the five three-ring binders sent to him by the government and preparing for his orientation in Washington, D.C.

"It's been a bit overwhelming," he says. "But I have been getting a lot of help and advice from fellow Wisconsin Reps. Paul Ryan and Jim Sensenbrenner."

Ribble says the first issue he would like Congress to address during his term is Social Security reform.

"We need to fix problems with entitlement programs," he says. "I don't know what the correct answers are, but we need to have a thoughtful, grown-up discussion about these issues and put politics aside."

The 112th Congress officially convenes Jan. 3, 2011. Ribble will be sworn in either Jan. 4 or Jan. 5. You can keep up with him on Facebook, Twitter and his website,

Ambika Puniani Bailey is editor of Professional Roofing and NRCA's senior director of communications.


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