Our View / Endorsement: Stauber emerges in heated race
There's no denying Pete Stauber's impressive lifetime of public service or his unwavering devotion and commitment to us in Northeastern Minnesota and in the 8th Congressional District.
Stauber was a Duluth police officer for 23 years and a Hermantown city councilor for eight years. He's serving his second term as an elected member of the St. Louis County Board. He was a union organizer and union president. And he's a business owner; he and his brothers started the Duluth Hockey Company nearly three decades ago.
In a heated election with strong, worthy candidates — don't buy the attack ads, smear campaigns, and other ugliness from special interests and party loyalists from both sides this fall — Stauber has emerged as the leader to stand up for and to fight for our corner of the state in Washington, D.C. On Election Day Nov. 6, eligible voters across the 8th District can pick Stauber as our next representative in Congress.
"I want to support the pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda and unleash the economic engine in Minnesota and in the 8th District," Stauber said at standing room-only candidate forum in Duluth on Sept. 26 that was sponsored by the News Tribune and Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce. "I'm running for Congress to be part of the solution. I've had a long successful history of working with people with diverse opinions and various backgrounds."
Stauber, nonetheless, took partisan heat for sharing a stage with fellow Republican President Donald Trump at a rally in Duluth over the summer.
"When (Trump's) legislative agenda helps us, I'll be all on board. When it doesn't, I won't," Stauber told the News Tribune Editorial Board in July when asked to address the criticism. "I am going to support initiatives that help the 8th Congressional District. I will not blindly follow anybody. ... If you think I'm (going) to Washington to vote 'Republican good,' 'Democrat bad,' I'm the wrong candidate. When you work on behalf of the party alone, which is happening, nothing gets done."
Had he already been in Congress, Stauber would have gone toe-to-toe with Trump, he said, when the president zeroed out funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
"I would have fought like tooth and nail to fully fund it," Stauber said at the forum. "The Great Lakes ... are an economic engine for our region. I myself attended Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. I saw those ore carriers come through the Soo Locks. I understand that Lake Superior must remain clean. It's commerce. It's recreation. And it's part of our economy."
In the same way, Stauber is committed to ensuring clean water and environmental protection while also supporting copper-nickel mining and the jobs and economic boon it promises for Northeastern Minnesota. Expert environmental reviews of more than 10 years for PolyMet's proposed mine assures Stauber the mining can be done safely. The thorough, exhaustive process can be trusted, he said.
"They are going to be held to that standard," Stauber said at the forum. "Otherwise we aren't going to give them the permits. ... We all want clean air and water."
Fourth-generation Iron Ranger Joe Radinovich — a state representative from 2012 to 2014 and an assistant commissioner of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board — is the DFLer looking to replace U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, who didn't seek re-election. Radinovich once was Nolan's campaign manager.
"Working people are losing ground," he said at the forum. "I propose that we take our government back and focus on three specific areas. The first is retirement security. That means Social Security, Medicare pensions, and the unions that fought for them. The second is the investments in the people and places of this country. That means get to work building infrastructure and making child care, health care, and education more affordable for every working family. And the third is that we ... need to wrest control from the special interests in Washington, D.C., and invest power in the people."
The Independence Party candidate is Ray Skip Sandman of Duluth, a Vietnam veteran and retired corrections officer. In opposition to copper-nickel mining as a threat to the environment, he was a Green Party candidate in the 8th District in 2014.
"Our future generations are what matter," Sandman said at last month's forum. "Democracy needs to be back in the hands of the people and not in the big donations and the people who are getting all of the money. ... It's for you and your future."
What kind of congressional representative will Stauber be? Consider his answer when asked about fixing health care: "It's going to be solved by Republicans and Democrats getting together and not caring who gets the credit," he said. "I'm not only going to reach across the aisle, I'm going to get up and walk over and legislate for the people of this country."
All voters in the 8th District can embrace Stauber's commitment to them, no matter their politics, confident he has made good on similar pledges made during a lifetime of devoted public service.
About this endorsement
This News Tribune endorsement editorial was determined entirely by the newspaper's Editorial Board. The board's members are Publisher Neal Ronquist, Editorial Page Editor Chuck Frederick, employee representative Kris Vereecken, citizen representative Julene Boe and citizen representative Denise Wise.