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Cravaack to re-open 8th District office in Brainerd

Brainerd’s 8th Congressional District office will re-open in city hall, possibly in April, despite 5 percent reductions in congressional office budgets that resulted in one less 8th District office.

Rep. Chip Cravaack’s office said Wednesday a constituent office will re-open in Brainerd although the Republican congressman and staff members have not yet decided who will staff it or how many days it will be open. Once those decision are made, Cravaack spokesman Shawn Ryan said the days and hours will be publicized.

Not counting states with only one U.S. representative, the first-term congressman’s district, is among the top 10 in geographic size, west of the Mississippi River, Ryan said. 

Ryan noted the cuts in congressional budgets saved taxpayers $35 million but eliminated one office and two full-time positions for the 8th District.  Constituent services offices were formerly located in Duluth, Brainerd, North Branch and Chisholm, the hometown of former Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn. The new sites will be Brainerd, Duluth and North Branch.

“The congressman is interested in a top-notch constituent services program,” Ryan said.

Brainerd has been the site of a constituent services office since the early 1980s, shortly after the city was switched from the 7th Congressional District to the 8th Congressional District. Former Gov. and then-Brainerd Mayor C. Elmer Anderson was among those who urged Oberstar to consider a Brainerd office.

The office has not been staffed since Oberstar left office after being upset by Cravaack in 2010.

MIKE O’ROURKE may be reached at or 855-5860.