Our View / Endorsement: Hauschild the more ready to replace Bakk

This News Tribune endorsement was determined solely by the News Tribune Editorial Board.

Grant Hauschild
Grant Hauschild
Courtesy of Amanda J. Cane
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When the race is to replace a legislative giant like Sen. Tom Bakk — who’s taking decades of knowledge, leadership, and clout for the Northland with him with his retirement this year — eligible voters want to be sure to choose the candidate who’s more ready.

In Minnesota Senate District 3, that’s Grant Hauschild, the executive director of a foundation that raises money for those who can’t afford their health care. Hauschild is also a Hermantown city councilor who has worked in rural economic development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and was a labor policy aide for a U.S. senator.

In the Nov. 8 election, Hauschild, the DFL candidate, has emerged in a competitive race and in a massive district north of Duluth that also includes the North Shore and more than half of Minnesota’s border with Canada.

“We know that our region has been represented by titans for a long time. … We need an independent-minded leader who can make sure that they're delivering,” Hauschild said at a candidate forum in Canal Park this month co-sponsored by the News Tribune and the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce. “We need a senator that’s going to equitably get our fair share to the Northland. That means making sure that our Northland schools have the funding that they need. … It means making sure that we’re looking out for our communities. … I am ready on day one.”

Regarding being independent-minded, in recent years, Hauschild’s DFL Party included a moratorium on copper-nickel mining as part of its platform. But Hauschild supports mining and the processes in place to ensure it is done safely.


“We know that mining in northern Minnesota is a critical part of (our nation’s transition to electric vehicles and green economy). It’s something that I support,” Hauschild said. “I do not support stalling these projects. They have to have a fair shot. … I will be an advocate for those projects getting their fair shot. … Let's get them going. Let’s hire the union workers and put folks to work and make sure that we’re keeping strong our regulations that protect our environment.”

Hauschild, a hunter from a hunting family, also supports gun ownership while recognizing that common-sense restrictions are already in place by the federal government. “We need to make sure that we’re protecting our outdoor heritage in northern Minnesota,” he said.

He’s a “huge advocate for our police,” he said, and has gone through first-person shooter training alongside officers.

He does not support increasing the gas tax in Minnesota. “We need to make sure we’re looking out for families,” he said.

He wants to be an “education senator,” he said.

He also said he would push for a special session to extend unemployment benefits for laid-off Northshore mining workers. And he’s eager to improve how the Legislature operates to avoid the need for such special sessions.

“I’m really sick of the partisanship getting in the way and the gridlock getting in the way of passing agreements,” Hauschild said. “We know that (in this year’s session) the majority leader, the speaker of the House, and the governor had a deal ready that would have provided historic tax relief to families. I have a young family myself. I know how critical it is that we provide for families. We had a bill ready to go that would have eliminated the tax on Social Security income. I talk to seniors every day at the door, and that is their top issue. In addition to that, we (needed to pass) a bonding bill that … could have provided $4 million to my community in Hermantown and up and down the Northland.”

None of it got done, though, not even with a record state budget surplus, because of toxic politics. Hauschild vowed to rise above.


Babbitt Mayor Andrea Zupancich is the Republican candidate in Minnesota Senate District 3.

“My hope and my goals and my dreams are that the district thrives and grows,” she said at the forum. “We have been in a decline over the past years, more than the past years. I want to be your voice, and I want to represent everyone equally and fairly. … I really care about the area. I want to make sure my children are able to stay. I want to make sure your children are able to stay.”

Zupancich’s commitment to the region and public service is undeniable, and, by all indications, she has been an effective leader for Babbitt.

But Hauschild’s experiences, background, and grasp of the issues and what’s most pressing make him more ready to step in as a replacement for Bakk.

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