Lakes area, meet Louis Crombie.
Crombie serves as 8th Congressional District Republican Congressman Pete Stauber's local field representative for the Brainerd lakes area and surrounding counties-one of four such offices, including Hermantown (Duluth), Chisholm, Cambridge and Crombie's own office on the ground floor of Brainerd City Hall, 501 Laurel St., Brainerd. Local reps work as accessible intermediaries between constituents and their congressperson's office.
In a sit-down Tuesday, Feb. 19, the former landscaping foreman described his current job as a proactive one-a role, he said, in which he intends to make himself visible, accessible and helpful to the various communities, governing bodies, businesses and constituents in his jurisdiction.
"(I'll be) working with constituents-if people have issues working with state agencies, even navigating legislation. Or, if they want to report a concern or opinion to the congressman. As well as event outreach, going out into the community, being Pete's eyes and ears," Crombie said. "That's what we're here for. We can either take care of it as it is, or we can direct it to staff in D.C."
Crombie said anyone looking to contact Rep. Pete Stauber's office should reach out to their local representative first-which, for constituents who Crombie represents, includes Morrison, Hubbard, Cass, Wadena, Crow Wing and Aitkin counties, as well as the southeastern portion of Beltrami County (outside of Bemidji) that falls inside the 8th Congressional District.
"That's the beauty of this job-for the most part, it's nonpartisan," Crombie said. "It's hearing out issues and communicating that with Congressman Stauber."
Crombie's schedule-generally speaking, and somewhat subject to his week-by-week responsibilities-includes:
• Set office hours 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. During this time, Crombie should be accessible to constituents at his office at Brainerd City Hall.
• For Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Crombie said he'll be out and about, meeting with local governing bodies, visiting local events, meeting with constituents, and taking part in other activities throughout his extensive jurisdiction. At times, he may have mobile office hours in communities he's visiting-Aitkin, Little Falls, Walker, Pine River and others.
• Otherwise, Crombie noted, constituents can call at any time if they need to contact Stauber's office or communicate their concerns to Crombie.
Up until last May, Crombie worked for Jacobson Landscaping & Excavating-a job that attracted him to the Brainerd lakes area six years ago after growing up in southern Minnesota. He got involved in the 2018 election cycle as a campaign staffer, then as an aide for state legislators-jobs that took him all over the state, from the metro, to Bemidji, then back to southern Minnesota-before he learned of a job opening with Stauber's office.
"(I) wanted to go to city council meetings-just to get involved, just to see the projects going on in the area," Crombie said. "I really enjoy administration. I really enjoy local government, local politics. I knew I wanted to get out of construction to do administration and politics."
So far-after a couple months on the job-Crombie said the most surprising issues brought to his attention by constituents are crossings and property concerns related to railroads.
Crombie said it touches on a larger conversation that's especially important to the 8th Congressional District-the oldest congressional district in Minnesota by median age, and one that features huge swaths of rural, undeveloped Northland-namely, public transportation or volunteer transportation, particularly for elderly folks.
Any constituents who have concerns, questions or complaints for Stauber's office are encouraged to call Crombie at 218-355-0862, or he can be reached via email at Louis.Crombie@mail.house.gov.