When Pete Stauber was elected to represent Minnesota’s Eighth District in Congress, I knew he and I would disagree on a wide range of issues. I was optimistic, however, that when it came to funding the infrastructure needs of the district, he would set aside partisan politics and do the right thing.
Sadly, Stauber’s vote against the recently approved bipartisan federal infrastructure bill proved my optimism was misplaced.
What exactly did Stauber vote against? He voted against federal investments in ports, airports, and waterways. He voted against the expansion of rural broadband. He voted against federal assistance to communities like Duluth that are struggling to maintain our aging water systems. And he voted against federal dollars for highways, roads, and bridges, including funds that can be used to accelerate the delayed portions of Duluth’s current “Can of Worms” project that are absolutely vital to improving the efficiency and maintaining the competitiveness of the Duluth port. Ironically, earlier this year, Stauber declared that obtaining the funds to accelerate that project was among his top priorities.
In explaining his no vote, Stauber issued a statement full of empty political rhetoric that did little more than bash Democrats.
In my eight years as Duluth city councilor, among my greatest challenges has been finding the funds to maintain our city’s aging infrastructure at a time when the federal government has largely abandoned its responsibility to help support the physical needs of local communities.
We are fortunate that Democrats and Republicans finally came together to provide our region and our communities with the support we need. The bipartisan infrastructure bill passed Congress with only a handful of votes to spare, however. It is disappointing our congressional representative apparently placed scoring political points ahead of the needs of his constituents.
The writer did not seek reelection this year as representative of District 2 on the Duluth City Council.
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