Stauber says he’ll be voice for Ely

Congressman-elect avoids partisan politics at Joint Powers meeting

TOURING - U.S. Representative-Elect Pete Stauber toured the Razor Edge production facility in Ely on Monday. Joe Juranitch (right) explained how the company was able to purchase an $80,000 piece of equipment as a result of tax breaks passed by the federal government. Photo by Nick Wognum.

by Tom Coombe -

The winner in an at-times bitter campaign for a seat in Congress, Pete Stauber struck several conciliatory notes Monday in Ely.
Stauber, who was elected last month to succeed Rick Nolan in the U.S. House of Representatives, steered clear of partisan politics at the annual legislative meeting hosted by the Community Economic Development Joint Powers Board.
Instead, the Republican offered effusive praise for DFL State Sen. Tom Bakk, words of advice for county commissioner-elect Paul McDonald and called for a change in tone in Washington, D.C.
“Instead of looking for perfect legislation, why can’t we agree on good legislation,” Stauber said to an audience of about 50 people at the Grand Ely Lodge
The first elected member of Congress to ever attend the annual Joint Powers gathering, Stauber spoke briefly about his experiences since Nov. 6, when he scored a five-point win over Democrat Joe Radinovich in the cavernous Eighth District, which extends from Minnesota’s Arrowhead to the edge of the Twin Cities.
A Hermantown resident and current member of the St. Louis County Board, Stauber harkened back to the day he announced his candidacy in 2017, which included events both in Hermantown as well as Ely.
Stauber said he came here in part to show that “rural Minnesota matters,” a point he also drove home in his campaign and again to an aide while traveling to Ely Monday.
“Ely, Minnesota matters, the townships matter,” said Stauber. “I understand what a township is. I know what a county commissioner does... I’m looking forward to find ways we can help rural America.”
Since the election, Stauber has already spent a week in Washington, D.C., with other newly-elected House members, and another week-long orientation is in the works.
That includes lining up office space and jockeying for committee assignments, and Stauber said he is working to land a spot on the House Natural Resources Committee, as well as Transportation and Infrastructure.
Both are natural fits, according to Stauber, who made support for copper-nickel mining a cornerstone of his campaign and noted the variety of transportation components that can be found in the district, ranging from rail and the Duluth International Airport to the Port of Duluth.
Stauber is also working to fill up to 18 paid staff positions, a group that will be headed by his first hire - Virginia native and chief of staff Desiree Koetzle.
“She understands this district and that was critically important for me,” said Stauber.
During the election season, Stauber was joined by President Trump for a summer campaign rally. Trump carried the district by a whopping 16 points two years ago.
In the campaign’s final weeks, Stauber also asserted his independence and said he’d buck Trump or his party if necessary to benefit his home district.
Stauber had kind words for Democrats this week, hailing Nolan and his staff for their assistance on constituent support matters during the transition, and recognizing Bakk during the Ely event.
“You have been a successful legislator,” Stauber told the Cook DFLer. “If I can be half as successful, the citizens of the Eighth District benefit.”