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Rep. John Nygren, in the Assembly Chambers at the Capitol in September 2015.

MICHELLE STOCKER

State Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, will consider running for Congress to replace U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble. Ribble announced this weekend that he won't seek re-election.

“Congressman Reid Ribble was not only a good friend, but a consistent conservative champion for Northeastern Wisconsin. I, like many others, was shocked to learn of his decision to not run for reelection. However, the decision was driven by what he felt was best for his family and to fulfill a commitment he made to the citizens of Northeast Wisconsin, a decision that anyone can respect," Nygren said in a statement.

Nygren said he has been "humbled" by the number of people in the 8th Congressional District who have encouraged him to run since Ribble announced his retirement.

Ribble, a Republican from Sherwood, was elected to Congress in 2010, ousting Democratic incumbent Steve Kagen. He defeated Democrat Jamie Wall to hold onto the seat in 2012 and defeated Democrat Ron Gruett in 2014.

Announcing his retirement, he said he wants to spend more time with his family and return to the private sector. He also said he had promised not to serve more than four terms in office.

Ribble made news recently for his pointed criticism of GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump and for his departure from the House Freedom Congress. He is one of few Republican elected officials who have pledged not to support Trump even if he is the party's nominee.

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The conservative Freedom Caucus played a polarizing role in the House leadership race after Speaker John Boehner's resignation in September. Ribble left the caucus in October, citing its politicization of the leadership race and its decreased focus on policy changes.

Nygren has represented the state's 89th Assembly District since 2007. He has served as co-chairman of the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee since 2013, and has successfully introduced two sets of bills aimed at combating the state's heroin and opiate epidemic.

Nygren said he will continue his work on those issues while discussing the possibility of running for Congress with his family.

"One thing is clear; Northeastern Wisconsin deserves to continue to be represented by a candidate not only with a proven conservative record, but the ability to get things done," Nygren said in a statement. "I’m proud of the work that we have done in the state legislature to reform government, cut taxes and address critical issues in our communities like heroin addiction. I look forward to continue being a strong voice for Northeastern Wisconsin in one way or another."

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Jessie Opoien covers state government and politics for the Capital Times. She joined the Cap Times in 2013 and has also covered Madison life, race relations, culture and music. She has also covered education and politics for the Oshkosh Northwestern.