Heard on the Hill

Congressional Buddies Scott Rigell and Reid Ribble Talk Friendship

The retiring Republicans look back on their time in Congress

Retiring Reps. Scott Rigell of Virginia and Reid Ribble of Wisconsin have been close friends since their first days in office. The two Republicans look back on their relationship and look forward to riding motorcycles together and visiting each other’s home states.

On how they became friends …

Rigell: It was actually the day that we were being sworn in. Right before my name and the clerk calls out, “Ribble” and it was a little obscure but there was no response. I genuinely was thinking, as was my family, that she had mispronounced my name and I was at that time supposed to say, “Mr. Boehner.” And my mind was processing. And then, Mr. Ribble actually said, “Boehner!” And I went, “Phewf!”

Ribble: I remember two or three days later, Scott was sitting by himself and we had votes. I went and sat down next to him and reintroduced myself. And I said, “Do you have any idea what we’re doing?” And he kind of chuckled a little bit, I think he wanted to pretend that he did, but we had no idea. And so, we started to learn about each other. His dad was a Marine, my dad was a Marine. He owned a business, I owned a business.

[Rigell, Ribble Rumble Over Harley]

On working together…

Rigell: There’s a lot of pressure on us to continue to vote for [continuing resolutions]. I voted for the first one because leadership said they needed that. But I started voting against them after that out of protest because I just didn’t feel like we were doing our work. And I remember seeing Reid had a ‘No’ vote and I said, “Reid, why did you vote that way?” And he said, “Because I love my grandkids more than I love serving in Congress.” Right then, I went, well, this is my kind of guy.

Ribble: When you have these kind of very difficult, long range votes that you have to take, that impact not just your kids but the next generation, I always was able to stay focused on why I came. And I’m voting essentially today the exact same way — and I know Scott is too — that we started with.

UNITED STATES - MAY 26: Reps. Reid Ribble, R-Wis., left, and Scott Rigell, R-Va., board their Harley-Davidson motorcycles on the East Front of the Capitol after the last votes in the House which begins the Memorial Day recess, May 26, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Reps. Reid Ribble, R-Wis., left, and Scott Rigell, R-Va., board their Harley-Davidson motorcycles on the East Front of the Capitol after the last votes in the House in May. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On retiring together…

Ribble: Actually, he did not say anything to me and I read his announcement to retire in the newspaper. And it caught me off guard because I think you announced a couple months before me. We’ve had some good conversations about how we’ve both come to similar conclusions about our season of service. No, we didn’t collaborate on it at all.

[Exit Interview: Rep. Reid Ribble]

Rigell: That’s one of the few discussions of substance that I actually arrived at prior to my friend. We joke about that a bit. That Reid’s just a bit ahead of me on some things.

[Exit Interview: Rep. Scott Rigell]

A fond memory…

Rigell: I said, “Reid, I need to talk to you about something. I’m about to go public on this. I’m going to reject the Americans for Tax Reform pledge.” Here’s his response: “I did that two weeks ago, it was in the LA Times, here let me show you.” That typifies Reid’s political courage.

Ribble: When I steal stuff, he says I’ll say, “My good friend Scott Rigell puts it this way.” And I’ll only do that once and the second time, I’ll say, “It’s been said.” And the third time, I will just say it.

[The Harley Caucus Rides to Votes]

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