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Reid Ribble: Redistricting has led to "political dysfunction"

WASHINGTON D.C. (WTAQ) - Wisconsin House Republican Reid Ribble says voters no longer pick their own representatives, thanks to a redistricting process in which the parties in charge pick their own voters.

Ribble, of Sherwood, is part of a congressional group called “No Labels” which seeks to promote cooperation between the two parties’ members.

On a Houston public radio station recently, Ribble and House Democrat Jim Cooper of Tennessee addressed the question of why voters keep re-electing members of Congress, while expressing heavy dissatisfaction with Capitol Hill in general.

Ribble said districts which are 80 percent Republican or Democrat create “political dysfunction.” He said the big problem for incumbents is a fear of having primaries in their next elections.

As a result, “The very nature pushes you to the perimeter of the political spectrum, just by virtue of the people you’re giving voice to.” Ribble concludes that it’s the representatives who are picking themselves, “through the gerrymandering process.”

In Wisconsin, a three-judge federal court panel condemned the way majority Republicans secretly re-aligned state and congressional districts in 2011 – but the court said it couldn’t do anything because the districts met the constitutional mandate of having relatively equal populations.

Ribble’s comments came from an interview with KUHF-FM.