The latest dust-up in the race for Wisconsin's 8th Congressional District revolves around the fact that Reid Ribble's family roofing business performed work for the Kaukauna school district that was paid for by money from the stimulus package. Apparently, Steve Kagen and the Democratic campaign machine see this as a problem since candidate Ribble has been critical of the stimulus.
The reporting on the issue has revolved around time-lines and whether the figures for the amount received are accurate. If you want to read the details for yourself, check out Politicfact Wisconsin, but this misses the point.
If you are a businessman in the business of providing roofing services to institutions like school districts and your local school district needs a roof, wouldn't it make sense for you to put in a bid on that work regardless of how the school district pays for it? Personally, I think the school taxes where I live are too high but if I was in the roofing business, and my school district needed a roof, I wouldn't refuse to bid just because they are using my tax dollars to pay for the roof.
Once Steve Kagen voted for the stimulus and it became law, who would be served by a qualified local contracting firm not bidding on work funded by the stimulus? Not the people of WI-8, not the citizens of Kaukauna, and certainly not the employees of the Ribble family roofing business.
If you think taxes are too high or the stimulus was a bad idea what do you think the best way to respond is? By having your company avoid doing work it is qualified for or by getting involved in the political process to affect change where it really matters? In this case Reid Ribble chose the latter, and he didn't just write a check, make some phone calls, or write a blog post. He got involved in the biggest way possible, as a candidate. And if you don't think that represents a major commitment, just turn on the television for five minutes and count the attack ads.
This entire issue is a ridiculous distraction from the fact that our current congressman, Steve Kagen, voted for the stimulus bill and it hasn't produced the results promised. The future is uncertain and solutions from Kagen and the Democrats in Washington are in short supply. What's going on at Ribble Roofing won't impact the lives of most voters in WI-8, but the makeup of the next Congress will.