Candidate's View: 'When we invest in people, we all do better'
ABOUT THIS PRIMARY: Jen Schultz of Duluth and John Munter of Warba, Minnesota, are vying in the Aug. 9 primary to be the Democratic candidate for Northeastern Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District. The winner will advance to Election Day on Nov. 8 to face the Republican candidate.
I’m running to represent Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District after four productive terms representing Duluth in the Minnesota Legislature. I’m focused on making health care more affordable, securing investments that allow our region to grow, supporting workers, attracting good jobs, diversifying our economy, and addressing climate change that is affecting businesses, farmers, and residents throughout the district. I’m running because I believe when we invest in people, we all do better.
I’m a teacher, mother of two boys, and an economist. As a legislator, I chaired the Human Services Finance Committee and served as a key member of the Taxes and Ways & Means committees. Over the past eight years, I’ve negotiated important health care reforms, championed funding for critical infrastructure upgrades, closed tax loopholes, and, as a member of the Great Lakes Commission, worked on protecting and promoting Lake Superior and the Duluth port.
We need to diversify our economy with investments in infrastructure, broadband, education, affordable housing, and technology. Our current Rep. Pete Stauber voted against the federal infrastructure bill that will bring more than $7 billion to Minnesota to upgrade our roads, bridges, ports, broadband, and airports. It will also pay to replace lead service lines and bring good-paying jobs to Northeastern Minnesota. Incredibly, Stauber’s strong opposition to the bill didn’t stop him from taking credit for projects it funded .
I have a 100% voting record from the AFL-CIO and have always supported workers over corporations. Stauber did not support unions when he voted against the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which would provide protections to workers trying to organize and limit companies trying to disrupt union-membership campaigns. I have always supported working families and will continue to do so as your congressional representative.
We must do something to address gun violence in America. The horrific mass shootings in Texas, New York, and more than 200 other locations across our country in 2022 fill me with grief and outrage. I am not alone. I support the Second Amendment and understand that hunting is part of our national and cultural heritage. Nevertheless, along with the vast majority of Americans, I support background checks for all gun purchases; red-flag laws; and reasonable measures to help keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill.
Stauber, a beneficiary of more than $200,000 of publicly reported contributions from the NRA, has not offered a single public statement addressing our crisis of gun violence beyond his prayers.
It’s a pattern.
Stauber has shown he puts corporate and wealthy interests ahead of working people in the 8th District. He voted for a massive tax cut for the wealthy and corporations. He voted against capping the price of insulin. He voted against veterans. He voted against investigating price gouging by oil companies, which are posting record profits while we pay record prices at the pump. He has not stood with the people he represents and should be held accountable.
I have pledged to not accept any corporate PAC money. I will be accountable to the people, not corporations.
After redistricting, the new 8th District includes all tribal land north of the Twin Cities. As your representative, I will prioritize Indigenous issues and will continually work with tribal leaders and communicate with tribal members. We’ll fight together for things we all need: affordable housing and health care, economic opportunities that enable good jobs, and safe communities where everyone can thrive.
The congressional investigation of the Jan. 6 insurrection revealed how close we came to falling into autocracy. Our democracy is in a fragile state because of the constant, repeatedly debunked lies told by Republicans about our elections. Stauber participated in this dangerous farce when he signed the Texas lawsuit attempting to invalidate the presidential election results. He should be held accountable.
People are tired of the disinformation that has divided our communities and families. They want elected officials solving problems and getting things done. I have a strong track record of doing both as a state legislator.
The people of the 8th District are smart and reasonable and care about protecting our democracy. They will not be tricked by those who wish to rig the system against the well-being of their families. I will fight for fair policies, fair taxes, our freedom, and opportunities for our rural communities. I am proud to be endorsed by groups that reflect our values, such as the DFL, labor, the rural caucus, and the environmental caucus.
The 8th District is a special place that includes the head of the Mississippi River, the majestic beauty of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and some of the best parks and trails in the country. But what makes it truly special are the amazing people and their willingness to help their friends and neighbors. The people of our district deserve a choice. A choice between Stauber, with his atrocious track record of voting against the interests of working families, or a strong, accomplished candidate with a track record of listening, working hard with people from all parties and delivering results. I am that candidate, and I ask for your vote in the August primary and November election.
Jen Schultz of Duluth is running as a Democrat to represent Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District. She wrote this at the invitation of the News Tribune Opinion page.