Wrapping up his first term in Congress, U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber has quickly become an accomplished fighter for the Iron Range, Duluth, and largely rural Northeastern Minnesota. By being willing to work with Democrats, the Republican from Hermantown had the most pieces of legislation passed through the House during his first session last year. He also was the first Republican freshman from Minnesota to have a bill pass the House in 2019.
In the primary on Aug. 11, Eighth Congressional District Republicans can again support Stauber’s effectiveness and his commitment to our region. They can send him to Election Day on Nov. 3 to face Democrat Quinn Nystrom and Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party candidate Judith Schwartzbacker.
“I have the burning desire to do the work for the people in the Eighth District and support our economic drivers, (making) sure we have the ability to have a strong voice (and) that rural America and rural Minnesota matter,” Stauber said in an interview this month, held virtually, with News Tribune Editorial Board members. “With the opportunity that I’ve been given, I’ve gotten things done and continue to get things done.”
Stauber is a proud member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, its 50 congressional members an equal split of Republicans and Democrats. His work on the caucus, which deliberately sets aside party affiliations in the name of serving all Americans, helped end the government shutdown.
It’s working now on police reform in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis while in the custody of police. A Duluth police officer for 23 years, Stauber supports officer-worn body cameras; community policing, which wasn’t federally funded under President Barack Obama and hasn’t been federally funded under President Donald Trump; a national database of verified bad actions by police officers to head off rehiring them; psychological background checks for all prospective law enforcement; and no-knock warrants that are carried out properly, meaning not at all like the warrant that led to the death of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky.
“The nation is calling for this reform. If you read the Justice Act, the reforms are very, very good and, quite frankly, were needed a long time ago,” Stauber said.
For all the criticism hurled at Stauber for sharing a stage with Trump, a fellow Republican, Stauber battled the president during his first term in office after Trump proposed steep funding cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The initiative is a successful federal effort to clean up, restore, and protect the Great Lakes, including our Lake Superior.
“When the president supports the Eighth District and the economic drivers, he’ll have my support. When the president doesn’t support the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, he won’t have my support — and I will build a coalition with Great Lakes members both in the House and the Senate, like we did,” Stauber said. “When the president makes the comment that he can open up the economy in the respective states, I disagree. It’s the states’ rights. I’m a 10th Amendment supporter, and I believe that the governors and the legislatures of the individual states have the priority.”
Stauber’s Republican opponent in the primary is former Duluth School Board member Harry Welty, who also opposed Stauber in the primary two years ago. Three times now Welty has run failed campaigns for the 8th Congressional District. He ran as an independent in 1992 and 2006.
“I’m a throwback to a Republican Party very different from the one under Donald Trump,” Welty said in a separate interview with the Editorial Board. “I’m a moderate (and) social liberal. Those are not welcome attributes in today’s Republican Party.”
What is welcome to Republican voters on Aug. 11 is support for U.S. Rep. Stauber, who’s succeeding in D.C. on behalf of the Northland.