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In Response: Success in the 8th District should be celebrated, not feared

From the column: "We’ve always believed our 8th District is a tremendous place where we can enjoy our abundant resources and live and raise a family or even run a business. We are fortunate to live in a place filled with loving, smart, and hard-working people."

8th Congressional District candidate forum 2019
Residents listen to 8th Congressional District candidates during a forum at The Duluth Playhouse in 2019.
Bob King / File / Duluth News Tribune

In his Dec. 31 column in the News Tribune (Congressman’s View: “Under Biden, US in constant state of crisis”), Minnesota 8th District Congressman Pete Stauber highlighted what he claimed were failures of the administration of President Joe Biden during its just over 11 months in office.

What we found most interesting, however, was that Rep. Stauber did not list his own successes. He is potentially looking at a third term, and yet, while serving under both Republican and Democratic leadership, has been unable to consistently secure passage of legislation to improve the lives of his constituents. According to a 2020 legislation tracker , Stauber introduced the second-fewest bills among members of the Minnesota delegation. He has no laws enacted and only two bills out of his own committee. The congressman likes to talk a good game, but he’s not gotten a lot of action to back it up.

Luckily, the 8th District has some good news to celebrate, and not only in this past year.

In President Biden’s first 100 days alone, he signed the bipartisan $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that lifted our economy during a time of crisis. According to government sources, child tax credits lowered childhood poverty by 40%. Restaurants and entertainment venues received aid that kept many of them open and operating. Community health centers received vital funding to provide care to populations during the global pandemic. And the plan contributed to more than 200 million Americans receiving vaccinations against COVID-19.

Because of the rescue plan and the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure bill, 6 million new jobs are being created, and unemployment of 4.2% is the lowest since before COVID-19 — signaling a chance for further growth and increased stability. President Biden has also taken the lead on supporting our Northland farmers, giving them aid and leadership they need to succeed after President Donald Trump’s tariffs failed them.

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These are successes we have been able to achieve even in the face of Republican opposition, like that from Rep. Stauber. His most recent no votes on bringing potential federal criminal suspects to justice and expanding support to American families are just two examples of why we can’t expect Stauber to answer us when we ask him about his voting record. His calendar seems pretty full — unless your last name is “Inc.”

We believe in the goodness and the collective power of the people in the 8th District. We believe in them. With the right leaders in office, we have the power for economic growth that has not been seen in decades. When we come together, we can create lasting, people-powered opportunities.

As a Duluthian and as daughters of a miner and a union member, we have overcome personal obstacles — like many in our region. We come from the very people Rep. Stauber talks about when he references “our way of life.” We’ve lived it.

We’ve always believed our 8th District is a tremendous place where we can enjoy our abundant resources and live and raise a family or even run a business. We are fortunate to live in a place filled with loving, smart, and hard-working people who have many successes to celebrate. It’s true we’ve known hard times, but we’ve also experienced boom times.

We ought to appreciate and protect where we’ve been and what we’ve achieved together. And we also need to see the potential for an even greater future for this and future generations.

Theresa Lastovich of Chisholm became the first Democratic candidate for Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District in November when she filed a statement of candidacy and a statement of organization. Ashlie Castaldo of Duluth is her campaign manager. The district is represented by Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber of Hermantown.

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