• WisPolitics


Friday, September 25, 2015

 5:33 PM 

Boehner's resignation surprises Wisconsin delegation

The prevailing mood on Capitol Hill after Speaker John Boehner's announcement that he will resign from his post next month was one of surprise.

"I was with the speaker in a private meeting yesterday and he never mentioned it," Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Appleton. "I was totally caught off guard."

Despite not even confiding in even his closest allies until minutes before telling the House Republican Conference in a closed-door meeting, the response was almost universally positive. Despite grumblings from the rank-and-file and challenges to his speakership from his right flank, most members applauded him for a thankless job well done.

The Wisconsin delegation was no different.

Rep. Paul Ryan, whose spokesman responded with a flat "no" when asked if he would pursue the speakership, called Boehner's move "an act of pure selflessness."

"We will miss John, and I am confident our conference will elect leaders who are capable of meeting the challenges our nation faces," the Janesville Republican said.

Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Weston, called the Ohio Republican "the epitome of the American dream" and said, "His strong Midwestern work ethic and devout Catholic faith have served him well in his political career and allowed him to follow his heart and conscience, regardless of his critics' concerns.

"I value his leadership, I am grateful for his friendship, and Rachel and I will always appreciate the extra care he showed our family," Duffy said, referring to Boehner's patience when he and his wife, Rachel, were wrangling five of their children into place to take the official photo of Duffy's swearing-in with Boehner in 2013. The couple has seven children. Watch video of the ceremony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVUD_KFqS_A

The dean of the Wisconsin delegation, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, had kind words for Boehner as well.

Boehner "led the Republican Party to its largest majorities since the 1920s," Sensenbrenner stated. "And in a contentious political atmosphere where it's nearly impossible to achieve anything, he has done an exceptional job building relationships, bridging gaps and passing meaningful and necessary legislation."

The only freshman in the delegation, Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, has previously noted what a difficult job Boehner had keeping the fractious GOP conference in line.

"He grew the Republican majority by over 60 seats during his tenure," Grothman noted in wishing Boehner well. "Congress has a lot of work to do in the coming months, and I am confident we will elect the right leadership to move the Republican Conference forward."

Wisconsin's House Democrats also spoke favorably of Boehner, and noted what a hard job he had.

"Speaker Boehner has been a friend since the days we served on the House Education and Workforce committee together," Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, stated. "He was tasked with making Congress function but was often stopped at every turn by members of his own party who refused to work together to get to yes.

"In light of this frustration I am not surprised he is stepping down," Kind noted.

Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, praised Boehner for his leadership in ending the conservative-driven government shutdown in 2013.

"He did a great job," she said. "I felt sorry for him for a long time; it's a really unmanageable herd, really."

By Nicole Duran
For WisPolitics.com

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