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Airport manager claims Cravaack ‘absent’ on airline issue

Airport Manager Steve Sievek expressed disappointment with what he saw as the lack of action by Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-Minn., as the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Commission deals with eventually replacing Delta Airlines.

Cravaack’s communications director, Michael J. Bars, issued a statement in response to the criticism.

“Under law it is the duty of the Department of Transportation to solicit proposals from carriers willing to provide service to the Brainerd Airport. Although Rep. Cravaack is not authorized to actively participate in the replacement process, he met with the Brainerd airport manager in North Branch, and his team continues to monitor this situation closely. Rep Cravaack and staff stand ready to assist constituents who have questions on this issue or would like any background information on the EAS program.”

Airport commissioners directed Sievek to keep Cravaack, who sits on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, informed of future meetings.

“He’s been very absent in this whole process,” Sievek said.

“I’m with you completely,” said Crow Wing County Commissioner Rachel Reabe Nystrom, an airport commissioner, of the criticism of Cravaack.

At an earlier airport commission meeting Sievek said that no one from Cravaack’s office attended an informational meeting on that topic in September in the Twin Cities that included officials from Great Lakes Airlines, MnDOT’s Department of Aeronautics and the offices of Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.

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