Congressman Rick Nolan Reflects on Career

Updated: December 04, 2018 06:42 PM

"Time goes by way too fast," Rick Nolan shared this with us on Tuesday. He's preparing to leave the office of Congressman serving the 8th District. "There's not one moment. There are many moments."

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He said it's been a privilege to serve this district. And it's his second time. Nolan was first elected in 1974, and served three terms. "I had a 32 year hiatus," he joked. He was then elected for his second stint in 2012, and survived two bruising campaigns against Republican Stewart Mills.

"Politics is not a destination. It's a journey. Sometimes it goes the way you want it to go. Sometimes it doesn't," he reflected. He decided against re-election this year. But then ended up as the Lt. Governor candidate with Lori Swanson, but they did not make it past the primary.

The session for this week was canceled because of the death of President George H.W. Bush. Nolan said it should give us pause. "It's a gentle but very important reminder, of the importance of civility in government and politics. And to be bipartisan, not partisan."

Congress still has to pass a resolution to fund the government. So he expects to be back out in Washington next week.

He travels so much, and the joke with the staffers is sometimes about junk food. "My wife always tells them to keep me away from White Castle and caramel corn," he laughed.

Nolan has been a strong advocate for the mining industry during the past six years. He's proud of helping bring about the tariffs on Chinese steel, and for passing the land exchange bill for PolyMet. "I'm still hopeful something can be done in the Senate," he added.

He also supported infrastructure money for the Northland, to the tune of $1.3 billion dollars. He's spoken about pensions, the port, the West Duluth post office, and more.

During the transition period, he's offered his and his staff's input to Congressman-elect, Pete Stauber. "I wish him nothing but the best. He's a good man. I want him to be successful."

As for what's next, it's spending time with family and in the great outdoors. He's ruled out another run for office, but said he'll still stay active, behind the scenes. "There's always more challenges and opportunities, to show your gratitude."

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