The second Republican to serve Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District in 71 years, Pete Stauber is vowing to meet his campaign promise to promote economic revitalization.
“A consistent theme from small businesses when I was on the campaign trail is we need Washington to get out of our way and allow us to flourish without the overburden of rules crushing us,” he said. “One of the priorities for me in congress is to make sure we are putting out policies that are going to help promote economic growth and jobs.”
A part-owner in a family business, Duluth Hockey Company (formerly Stauber Brothers), Stauber said his experience over the last 28 years has given him special insight into the needs of other small business owners.
“What resonated on the campaign trail was that I understand what it feels like to reach into your own pocket to make payroll, and over-regulation from congress by people who have never been in business gets in the way for businesses to be effective and efficient,” he said.
Pointing to President Trump’s tariffs on steel earlier this year as a boon to mining, Stauber said he believed the mining industry in the region has benefited directly.
“Look at the tariffs and what they have done for our mining,” he said. “They should have been put in place years ago and when Trump said ‘no more steel dumping’ in our country that sent the message that nobody’s going to undercut our Iron Range.”
Stauber said he realized farmers in the western part of his district were worried about the tariffs, but noted he had heard from farmers who were supportive of them.
“I talked to farmers a week before the election and they are thankful the president is putting farmers, manufacturers and steel first because we know the American worker and farmer can compete with anybody in the world on a level and equitable playing field,” he said.
Supporting copper-nickel mining in the 8th district, he said he sees it as an evolution from traditional taconite mining.
“Mining is our past, our present and our future and I know using twenty first century technology we can mine copper-nickel safely and make sure the mining companies meet or exceed every federal and state environmental regulation,” he said.
Increasing logging to 100 percent of allowable sales is one of Stauber’s goals, while he calls for the development of the forest product market.
“Our timber industry is only cutting 40 to 60 percent of what’s allowed and we need to be competitive and maximize logging to 100 percent of allowable cutting and look at additional ways to use biomass,” Stauber said.
Growing the tourism industry through increased marketing and creating promotional campaigns is one way Stauber hopes to proceed.
“Tourism is extremely important for northern Minnesota and we need to promote what we have up here with our lakes, camping, fishing and ATV trails, (because) not many districts in the country can offer what we have here,” he said.
Calling the tax cuts instituted earlier this year a very good start to economic vitality, Stauber said he wanted to see even more being done through tax legislation.
“I want to see an increase in standard deductions to allow our construction men and women to deduct fully their cost of travel instead of the maximum of $24,000 allowed now,” he said.
A former member on the board for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, Stauber sees the port as an asset to the region.
“I want to ensure the port has the resources it needs to be an economic engine for us, and that the greatest freshwater lake in the world is taken care of for shipping and recreation,” he said.
Another area of special concern to Stauber is the Minnesota National Guard - 148th Fighter Wing stationed in Duluth.
“I want to work with folks at the Department of Defense and Minnesota Air National Guard as we look at where the wing wants to be in 50 years,” he said. “They are extremely important to keep front and center in our state and nation’s defense.”
During his campaign Stauber said people he met within business and manufacturing frequently told him there was a shortage of skilled workers for hire.
“Workforce development through secondary education is something I really want to look into to get more men and women interested in the trades where there are great paying jobs. This district is one of the most pristine places in the country and we have to make opportunities for people to stay here instead of going to the metro area.”