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Phifer announces campaign manager

Sue Hakes

DFL-candidate for the 8th Congressional District Leah Phifer announced her campaign manager on Monday, naming Sue Hakes to lead the Phifer bid.

Hakes is a former mayor of Grand Marais and onetime Cook County Commissioner. Phifer is challenging three-time incumbent Rep. Rick Nolan for the right to represent the Leah PhiferDemocratic-Farmer-Labor party on the 2018 midterm ballot.

“Sue’s dedication to fostering community engagement, especially in our rural communities, is unparalleled,” Phifer said in a news release Monday. “Her experience organizing and mobilizing diverse populations is an incredible asset to our campaign."

Hakes works in real estate and has deep family ties to Aitkin County, the news release said. In 2014, Hakes was awarded a two-year Bush Foundation Fellowship to build leadership in rural, northeastern Minnesota. A graduate of Augsburg College, Hakes used her Bush Fellowship to study at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. In 2016, she worked as a field organizer with the Ohio Together campaign to elect Hillary Clinton for president. Currently, she serves on the board of directors for Rural American Indigenous Leadership, and serves on both the Duluth and Cook County YMCA Advisory councils. Hakes is also an advisor to the first Grand Marais Youth in Government delegation.

Phifer, of Isanti, Minn., is a Two Harbors native who, among other things, opposes Nolan’s support of efforts to bring sulfide mining to the Iron Range and onto the doorstep of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

“I trust (Phifer) with the future of Minnesota's Eighth Congressional District,” Hakes said in the news release. “That’s why I am excited to get to work convincing the 8th District to put their trust in her too.”