It’s hard to knock U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber for longing, for yearning — along with the rest of us — for the robust economy we were enjoying before COVID-19, as the congressman did at a candidate forum this month sponsored by the Duluth News Tribune and Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Just seven months ago, if we look back, we had a blue-collar boom in this country,” Stauber said at the forum, held virtually as a pandemic precaution. “Unemployment was at historic lows, the GDP was rising, optimism from our small businesses was at an all-time high, and wages were rising.

“And then the pandemic hit our shores through no fault of our own,” he said.

The need for our nation and for Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District to rebound and to return to those heady days of promise and prosperity is reason enough for eligible voters in Northeastern Minnesota to re-elect and to return Stauber to the office where he has been doing so much good. But there’s also the reality that, in just his first term in Congress, he has quickly emerged as an outspoken and accomplished fighter for the Iron Range, Duluth, Brainerd, and the rest of the 8th. His willingness to work with Democrats — and anyone, really, who shares his passion for a better America for all — makes the Republican from Hermantown the clear pick in the Nov. 3 election.

“We are ready, able, and on our way to the great American comeback. Just in these last four months we’ve created 4 million jobs, (and) we’re opening up our economy in a safe and responsible way,” said an infectiously optimistic Stauber. “Right here in St. Louis County we have the opportunity to bring blue-collar, middle-class jobs back (by) opening up our mines and expanding our iron ore mining capacity, expanding into copper-nickel mining to help with our supply-chain dependency, and, of course, (supporting) the replacement of Enbridge Line 3. These are the middle-class, blue-collar jobs this region was founded on. And I’m committed to fighting for them. I’m fighting for our way of life and to unleash the economic engine in our 8th Congressional District.”

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Stauber is doing so as a proud member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, a cooperative undertaking of 50 congressional members, with an even number of Republicans and Democrats, who set aside party affiliation in the name of serving all in our nation. The caucus helped end last year’s government shutdown.

Also last year, Stauber had the most pieces of legislation passed through the House — in just his first session. And he was Minnesota’s first Republican freshman to have a bill pass the House in 2019. He’s getting the work done.

And we’re talking important legislation, too.

Like the IDEA Act, or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which ensures students with disabilities receive public education tailored to their individual needs. Stauber partnered with Democratic Rep. Angie Craig of Eagan, Minnesota, on the legislation, both of them the parents of special-needs children.

Or like the Small Business Last Mile Act to improve high-speed internet access for small businesses in rural areas. Stauber worked across the aisle again with Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat from Maine.

And, among other examples, like the police-reform JUSTICE Act. Stauber, a police officer in Duluth for 23 years, led the proposal in the House while Sen. Tim Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate, led it in his chamber in the days following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.

“In Washington, the word compromise is a bad word. Compromise is not a bad word,” Stauber said. “We get the best results and best laws … when we work on behalf of our constituents and work together in Congress. And that’s exactly what I’ve done.”

In addition to being a police officer for more than two decades, Stauber was a union organizer and union president, served on the Duluth Seaway Port Authority Board, is a former professional hockey player, was an elected Hermantown City Council member for eight years, and was an elected member of the St. Louis County Board from 2013 to 2019. He also has small-business experience with his family’s hockey-equipment outlet.

Stauber is being challenged by Democrat Quinn Nystrom, an advocate for health care and affordable insulin. As impressive and impassioned as she is, her move from the small-town Baxter, Minnesota, City Council to the U.S. Congress would be quite the leap, particularly for a largely single-issue candidate.

“As somebody who has lived with type 1 diabetes for over 20 years, I’ve seen firsthand that our health care system does not work for everybody,” she said at the forum.

Our health care system is far from the only thing not working well for everyone, however. This is why the proven effectiveness of Stauber and his deep background make him the choice this election to continue representing the Eight, a massive district that stretches from the Canadian border to the northern suburbs of Minneapolis.

“I will protect you,” he said. “I will invest in you to make sure we have safe streets and safe communities for us all. We are looking forward to a better tomorrow.”

ABOUT THIS EDITORIAL: This endorsement was determined by and represents the opinion of Forum Communications Co. management.