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Nolan might try another run for Congress

Longtime DFL activist Rick Nolan of the Crosslake area is considering another run for Congress.

The three-term congressman, who served on Capitol Hill in the mid-1970s, spoke to Crow Wing County and Senate District 12 DFLers Saturday. He said he’s giving a run for the 8th Congressional District seat now held by Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-Minn, “real, serious consideration.”

Issues such as U.S. wars, the federal deficit and entitlement programs have spurred him to consider another bid for elective office after 30 years off the campaign trail.

“It’s just getting very difficult to stand by on the sidelines,”  he said. “This is a really important juncture in our nation’s history.”

The nation’s budget deficits, he said are not sustainable and must be reversed, he said. Similarly, he said, entitlements must be reshaped and reformed.

Nolan, who has a financial interest in an Emily sawmill and pallet factory, said he would work full time exploring a potential candidacy. The former head of the World Trade Center in St. Paul is opposed to U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and what he termed the secret war in Pakistan. He said the wars were costly in both treasuries and blood, were counterproductive and were creating more enemies than they were eliminating. The 1962 graduate of Washington High School in Brainerd said he was also concerned with the ever-increasing gap between the rich and the middle class. 

“The rich are getting richer and the middle class is getting poorer  and being pushed more and more into poverty.” he said.

Nolan lives near Crosslake and his mailing address is rural Crosby. He lived in the United Arab Emirates after his time in Congress and advised businesses.

Minnesota’s 8th District was considered a Democratic stronghold from 1947 until last fall when Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., was upset by Cravaack. During that period the only two congressmen representing the district were Oberstar and his predecessor, Rep. John Blatnik, D-Minn. Once the district is reapportioned after the 2010 census it will gain between 15,000 and 20,000 residents, Nolan said. 

“It’s gotten more and more Republican,” he said of the geographically expanding 8th District. “If you examine the vote totals it’s become a much more marginal district.

Nolan noted he won election in the 6th District — a conservative, Republican district —  in 1974, 1976 and 1978. He also pointed to his experience in business in the last 30 years.

“I averaged about, through my successful campaigns, a 57 percent vote total,” Nolan said. “Which, of course, means, a lot of Republicans were voting for me.”

 At 67, he said he still has a passion for public service. He said he’s stayed involved in politics, behind the scenes. In the 2010 election he helped manage District 12 Senate candidate Taylor Stevenson’s campaign. He said he still picks wild rice and harvests and boils maple syrup.

“If I didn’t know how old I was I would think I was 25,” he said.

Other potential congressional candidates who spoke at Saturday’s Crow Wing County and Senate District 12 DFL annual conventions were Tim Faust, a former state representative; Jeff Anderson, a Duluth City Council member; and Daniel Fanning, a field staff person for Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.

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

Becca Clemens
After graduating high school in 2004, I attended Central Lakes College in Staples, MN for 2 years where I got a diploma in Communication Art and Design. I then transfered up to Bemidji State University in, you guessed it, Bemidji, MN. In the spring of 2009, I graduated from BSU. Then in the fall of 2009 I got a job at Echo Publishing, a sister company to the Brainerd Dispatch.