First off, let me just say I know Congressman Pete Stauber. Nice guy, nice family and, from what I’ve heard, an OK county commissioner. This makes it extremely baffling, troubling and disheartening to observe his actions as a Congressman that run contrary to who he was before.

His voting record speaks for itself. According to the website, “Politicsthatworks.com”, Stauber’s voting record skews heavily toward big business, big deficits, narrow civil rights and racial inequality. Conversely, he has voted zero percent on issues such as labor rights and wages, humane immigration policy, Russian interference in elections, LGBT rights, environmental protections, lowering drug prices, protecting voting rights, financial sector regulation and The Easter Beagle (rumored).

This isn’t surprising. It’s how Stauber’s master, Impeached President Donald Trump operates. Stauber has officially become yet another lap dog for Trump, despite claiming otherwise. He gleefully posts photos of him and Trump together – on a stage, in a limo, on Air Force One and doing the tango together (rumored). But then he turns around, and with a straight face, and says he’s not beholden to the impeached President. It’s laughable

And Stauber isn’t doing himself any favors with his lackluster response to the pandemic. At least this time he’s not parroting Trump’s crazy talk about the crisis. Small comfort. During this crisis millions are losing their jobs, and the folks on the Iron Range are no different. Mining jobs are evaporating and people who voted for Stauber are waiting for him to back up his talk with action. But instead of waving his magic wand and “unleashing the economic engine,” Stauber is just shrugging his shoulders and basically saying, “I’d like to help, but it’s above my pay grade, and besides, I have a date with Trump, then a meaningless photo op at some factory. Good luck!”

As a former staffer for the late Congressman James Oberstar, I take seriously who represents the district he represented so well over the years. Obviously, finding someone of Jim’s caliber would be hard; Cravaack was a disaster, Nolan a solid worker, and Stauber, well, you know I feel. But it’s not about finding another Oberstar. He’s gone and it’s time to move on. Fortunately, the people of the 8th have an alternative in DFL Congressional candidate Quinn Nystrom. I checked up on her, and I like what I see. A 4th generation resident of Crow Wing County who has suffered from Type 1 diabetes most of her life, Nystrom has dedicated her life to public service by advocating for accessible healthcare and affordable prescription drug coverage. Nystrom was the youngest person elected to the Baxter City Council, where she championed healthcare, sex trafficking and other issues that affect the people in her community, state and country. Through this all she has proven to be a person of indefatigable energy and empathy. She’s more interested in listening to the day-to-day problems of individuals, families, farmers, miners, retirees, veterans and students. She’s less interested in the day-to-day woes of lobbyists for corporations, especially those who profit off the criminally expensive healthcare needs of people.

Obviously, it’s just not healthcare Quinn has to be concerned about. To play off Stauber’s tired catch phrase, as a member of Congress, Nystrom will, I believe, unleash her own “Energy and Empathy Engine” to address all issues that are of concern to the people of the 8th Congressional District. And she’s a nice person.

Dave Boe is a communications professional who lives in Duluth.

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