Stauber Q&A: 'I’m going to support the outcome of this election'
Newly reelected, U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber addressed presidential vote counting and COVID-19 practices in an interview with the News Tribune.
Two days after his reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Pete Stauber spoke to the News Tribune on Thursday for a question-and-answer report.
The Hermantown Republican won decidedly, becoming the first repeat Republican in 76 years. He's called that fact humbling, while also promising to be representative of everyone in the 8th Congressional District.
What follows has been slightly abridged for length:
Q: Congressman, how are you today?
A: Good, good. Went to church, went out to breakfast with my wife (Jodi), and I’m going to rake the yard, because I’ve got a lot of leaves that I didn’t get to.
Q: When do you go back to Washington, D.C.?
A: We go back next week. We go back for a week and hopefully pass some legislation like the Justice Act. We’ll see what happens in the lame-duck session, but for me it’s time to get some of these bipartisan pieces of legislation across the finish line.
Q: The Justice Act is yours and Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, is also carrying a version in the U.S Senate. (It's police reform legislation which would increase the number of body cameras in use, open up access to police officers' disciplinary records, and ensure makeup of departments more closely reflects their communities.) Are you confident it can move through?
A: I believe legislation is the art of the possible. I've worked across party lines. I’ve worked with the Congressional Black Caucus and Chairwoman Karen Bass (Democrat from California) on really intimate details of that act. It’s moving forward. We really have an opportunity. The fact is the nation and our communities have been calling for that. If you’ve read that act there is a lot of commonsense, pragmatic solutions that, quite frankly, should have been implemented many years ago.
STOP THE COUNT!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2020
Q: Pete, you’ve been through your election, you’re clear. But the presidential election is still counting votes. What are your thoughts on the vote counting, in particular with President Trump tweeting this morning to stop the count?
A: At this point I don’t want to speculate on the outcome of the race or the potential for (more) lawsuits, but as Americans we all want the legal and legitimate votes to be counted.
Q: Aren't most votes legal and legitimate?
A: Yes, we all want the legal and legitimate votes to be counted. After all the ballots are fairly counted, I’m going to support the outcome of this election. Once this election is over, my hope is that as a nation we can come together and move forward. I will say this, no matter who is our president we can all say we live in a great country. I’m going to continue to fight for our economic drivers and each and every resident of our congressional district.
Q: What did you learn that you’ll bring into this next, 117th Congress?
A: What I’ve learned is it’s really critical to build relationships and work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle. That’s something that I’ve done. It’s something that I stated when I was elected, that I would not only reach across the aisle, but I would get up and make friends across the aisle. And that’s exactly what I’ve done, and am going to continue to carry through this upcoming term.
Q: After your win, you mentioned earning trust from voters who didn’t vote for you. How do you manage that?
A: Have conversations and realize that some of my constituents may have different opinions than I do, or different ways to remedy legislation, but the bottom line is I will always sit down and have that conversation with that individual or groups of people in a mutually respectful way. When you do that — when you see where each other is coming from — maybe there is some movement on either side of the thinking that can get really great legislation forward.
Q: Let's talk about COVID-19. How do you restart the economy when we’ve got this raging virus right now — it’s as bad as it’s been?
A: Well, we know that the priority is that we beat this virus as a nation. We know more about it. We know who succumbs to it more than others. There’s vaccines attempting to be produced by three major manufacturers. We must follow the science, we must follow social distancing, mask-wearing and making sure that the vulnerable (people) among us are protected. But at the same time, we have to open up our economy.
Look at what we’ve done thus far. We’ve brought back 11.4 million jobs, and we’ve saved 51 million jobs across this nation with the (Paycheck Protection Program). Even now the World Health Organization says you can’t shut down the economy. We are seeing right now the effects of this shutdown. ... The suicides and suicide attempts are increasingly growing. Depression is increasingly growing. Domestic abuse is increasingly growing. And violence in general. You’re seeing that negative side of this.
We need to continue to have that parallel path, working on the commitment to defeat this virus as a nation using all tools at our disposal, and opening up the economy. The third quarter of this year was the biggest (gross domestic product) growth in this nation’s history and it happened during a pandemic. We know that as a nation we can follow those parallel paths and be successful.
Q: It seemed to me that some of the biggest gathering events were campaign events. Do you think those campaign events hurt what we’re seeing in terms of the virus trajectory today?
A: The premise of your question is that the campaign events were large. I will say that there is protesting across this nation. Even today across this nation. Thousands and thousands are gathering. At some point during this pandemic, it became political and that’s unfortunate. We are going to beat this as one nation, not one political party — as one nation, using the best science and best practices.
Q: Last topic, redistricting. How much have you thought about Minnesota potentially losing a congressional district now that the 2020 U.S. Census is over, and next year we may have to see the state Legislature go to work on that?
A: I don’t want to speculate too much. I will say I want our state to have its fair share of representation and receive its fair share of funding, which is why it was so important for everyone to have completed the census. I do not want to see Minnesotans lose their fair share of revenue.