To win the election for Congress, the Democratic challenger believes he must persuade voters that Rep. Reid Ribble is no moderate.
Ron Gruett is currently circulating petitions to appear on the Democratic primary ballot.
The 64-year-old college professor from Chilton visited Waupaca Wednesday, May 7, and spoke with local citizens about his bid for office.
“My main reason for running is to prevent some of the damage Reid Ribble might do if he is re-elected,” Gruett said.
Gruett noted that Ribble voted for Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which sought to cut benefits and privatize Medicare with a voucher system, cut Social Security benefits for seniors, cut Pell grants for college students, repeal the Affordable Care Act, and cut food stamps for low-income families.
The Ryan budget that Ribble supported included a proposal for a fast-track process to trigger cuts in Social Security, Gruett said. Any year that Social Security is not projected to be balanced over the next 75 years, expedited changes would be mandated to make it solvent.
“There would be a trigger to make Social Security go down without a vote in Congress, but no trigger to make it go up,” Gruett said.
The same budget plan also included more tax cuts that primarily benefit millionaires, Gruett said.
“Every tax break in recent history has disproportionately benefitted the rich,” Gruett said, noting that most senators and congressmen now are millionaires who have little understanding of middle class struggles.
“We have millionaires running for Congress with contributions from billionaires,” Gruett said.
In addition to protecting the programs that benefit low- and middle-income Americans, such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, Gruett said he also supports the Affordable Care Act.
“I’m pro-life because I support Obamacare,” Gruett said. “A Harvard study recently showed that 45,000 people die every year because they don’t have health insurance.”
Gruett said the No. 1 cause of bankruptcy in America is not having insurance coverage to pay hospital bills.
“Obamacare helps alleviate that. Obamacare takes people with pre-existing conditions who wouldn’t be able to get coverage without it,” Gruett said, adding that Ribble voted repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“I think he (Ribble) is perceived as a moderate because that’s the way he talks, but that’s not the way he votes,” Gruett said. “He votes in lock-step with the tea party.”
Gruett teaches chemistry and physics at Marian University in Fond du Lac. Previously, he taught at Brillion High School from 1973 to 2005.
Gruett has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and a master’s degree from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass.