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Harry's gang: Stauber needs to get real about needs in the district

I’m disappointed that our representative in Congress voted against the infrastructure bill last month. It seems to me it was a great bill for our region, but U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber didn’t agree and voted against it.

It was a mistake.

It’s not hard for people to guess my political persuasion, but I try to limit my criticism (and my effusive praise) for specific actions by our leaders, because hypocrisy is destroying politics in our country. So, I’ve been pretty silent on Pete Stauber, a very nice man with a very conservative viewpoint. I am not surprised he votes with the Republican caucus; freshman representatives typically follow party leadership pretty closely. And I’m not surprised that he votes conservative, given his background as one of the organizers of the Northern Liberty Alliance, the local version of the Tea Party movement. After all, he was elected as a Republican, so I expect him to vote accordingly.

But he was not elected to serve the Republican Party; he was elected to serve the Eighth Congressional District, and he failed our district when voting against the infrastructure bill.

He has claimed for some time that he favors an infrastructure bill, and in fact has said that “nobody wants an infrastructure bill more than I do.” But his actions speak louder than his words.

Investing in our country’s infrastructure is a wise move at this point. Our hard infrastructure, such as roads and electrical grids, is in poor shape after decades of tight-fisted spending policy by our leaders. And our soft infrastructure, such as education, research, and broadband, is in need of a significant boost. I can understand that in tough times we may have to restrain ourselves. But when times are good, and when the need is there, it’s time to invest in our country. Delaying investment just makes it more expensive to fix later.

Take, for example, the solar plant on the Iron Range. It’s naïve to think that coal, oil and other fossil fuels are the future. Now, we can’t neglect their importance. But we’ve seen time and time again how minor blips in the fossil fuel energy supply can cause major disruptions to our economy. Diversifying is an excellent strategy: developing alternatives to fossil fuels gives us options and makes us more secure. So, investing in that solar plant is exactly what we should be doing: providing jobs, creating opportunity and diversifying our economy. Stauber voted ‘no.’

Or, think about telephones. Telephones used to be hung on a wall and shared with a bunch of your neighbors. Then we got our own numbers, then cordless phones, and now everyone carries one in their pocket. All that innovation was spurred by government spending. There’s a huge future in advances in telecommunication. Stauber can’t seem to see past the party line. It’s too bad.

I can only speculate on his motivations. But reading his tweets, emails, and press releases gives me some clues. He is not advancing bipartisanship. I’ve noticed that he refers to our president as “Biden” rather than “President Biden,” while still using the title when referring to the last one in that office. His communications are filled with loaded words such as “reckless” and “socialist.” That’s not leadership. It’s not helpful. It advances nothing for the Eighth District. And it doesn’t reflect our way of life around here.

There’s a tendency for people in power to let it go to their heads. After years of government service where the ultra-conservative Stauber voted in the middle, I’m afraid he’s let his position in Congress go to his head. I hope he reverses course and governs for our real way of life.


Estate planning

I’ve gotten a lot of response to the estate planning information I wrote about a few weeks back. I intended to give some basic information so people had a general idea of what options are available. But if you have specific questions, I suggest you call a local lawyer who understands estate planning. There’s quite a few to choose from besides me. Keith Carlson does a lot of this kind of work; so does Sarah Helwig at the Fryberger firm’s Cloquet office. Jake Baker at Hanft Fride’s Cloquet office does, too. Gail Nouska has an office in town and does estate planning. There are probably others, too. Make an appointment; it’s worth spending a few bucks now to rest assured your wishes are carried out correctly later.

— Pete Radosevich

Pete Radosevich is the publisher of the Pine Knot News and an attorney in Esko who hosts the cable access talk show Harry’s Gang on CAT-7. His opinions are his own. Contact him at [email protected].


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