Cravaack, Nolan Vie for Steelworker Support
Posted at: 09/26/2012 5:41 PM
| Updated at: 09/26/2012 10:58 PM
Democrat Rick Nolan has won the backing of the steelworkers union on the Iron Range as he tries to unseat Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack in northeastern Minnesota.
Nolan announced the endorsement from United Steelworkers District 11 on Wednesday as he focused on mining in Virginia.
Democrats have typically won union backing in the blue-collar 8th District, but Cravaack is supported by the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49.
Nolan said he supports speeding up the permitting process, but wants to protect the environment while doing so. He said he also wants to invest in research.
"We have to support our mining industry, it is the backbone of the iron range, the 8th District, and this country and that's why I support mining," Nolan said.
Cravaack's campaign was quick to put out a statement pointing out individual steelworkers who back him.
"Leadership of the union might not be right in touch with actual union members," Cravaack said.
He, too, wants to speed up permitting. During his term he said he ensured federal projects will use U.S. Steel, and recently introduced a bill favoring the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's (MPCA) plan to cut back on regional haze instead of the federal Environmental Protection Agency or EPA's plan, which he said is impractical.
"It is impossible to do that in an 18 month time period. That is going to cost jobs."
The candidates are also going back and forth on aviation. At the Duluth Airshow on Sunday, Nolan took aim at Cravaack's voting record.
"One of the first things he did when he got to congress was to vote against Essential Air Service for our regional airports, work against the expansion of the Duluth Airport and come out in opposition to the acquisition of Cirrus, which enabled them to stay in business and continue creating the jobs that it does," Nolan said.
Cravaack said those statements are not true. He said his work with the Essential Air Service Subcommittee did not affect any regional airports in the state. He also said he worked closely with the Duluth Airport during their expansion, and didn't oppose the Cirrus merger with Chinese firm CAIGA, but instead wanted to make sure Cirrus technology did not get into the wrong hands.
"There actually was an investigation on this and it actually went past the original 90 days so they could make sure that the technology of the Williams Engine would not be taken over by the Chinese and used against us," Cravaack said.
The race will help determine whether Democrats gain a net 25 seats to take control of the House, where Republicans now hold the majority. The election is just over a month away.
(Copyright 2012 WDIO-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)