Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Quinn Nystrom stumps for votes in Ely

Looks to challenge Stauber in 8th District

Keith Vandervort
Posted 2/19/20

ELY – Quinn Nystrom, a candidate for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party endorsement for U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District, spoke to a large Tuesday Group …

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Quinn Nystrom stumps for votes in Ely

Looks to challenge Stauber in 8th District

Posted

ELY – Quinn Nystrom, a candidate for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party endorsement for U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District, spoke to a large Tuesday Group audience last week. She was also the featured speaker at a gathering of the Northern Progressives group in Cook later that day.
Nystrom, 28, is challenging first-term incumbent Pete Stauber for the expansive Eighth District seat in northern Minnesota. While she is a fourth-generation resident of Crow Wing County and the youngest (and first) woman to serve on the Baxter City Council, she is very familiar with the Ely area, having spent most of her childhood summers on Burntside Lake at her grandparents’ cabin.
“I just found out she graduated summa cum laude from (YMCA) Camp Widjiwagan,” said Steve Piragis in his introductory remarks, “so she knows her knots and how to paddle into the wind.”
While Nystrom has been advocating since grade school on healthcare issues, especially affordable prescription drug coverage, she has become well known more recently as an advocate for persons living with diabetes, and lobbied last year for a bill in the state Legislature to make insulin more affordable and accessible to everyone.
When that bill died in the Republican-controlled Senate, Nystrom helped organize a series of car and bus caravans to purchase insulin in Canada, where the drug is cheaper and available over the counter.
Nystrom said her motivation to run for Congress was born out of those efforts to bring affordable and accessible health care to everyone. “Last spring, I went to Washington, D.C. and met with (Rep.) Stauber, who was elected to represent every single one of us. That is his job. I asked him three things, one was to sign onto legislation to help with the insulin affordability crisis. I asked him to keep his campaign promise not to attack pre-existing conditions. And I asked him to host a diabetes roundtable back here in the Eighth District.”
She said Stauber agreed to do the three things she asked of him. “I thought we had a real ally in Congress,” Nystrom said. She said she had no intention of running for Congress.
“I never got any follow-up from him or his staff,” she said. “I found out later that he never signed on to any legislation to lower the cost of insulin. He also voted against people with pre-existing conditions. And he didn’t have any intention of having a diabetes roundtable.”
Her frustration with having ineffective representation in Congress prompted her to take action. “Just like I have been taught for my entire life, instead of sitting around and complaining I made the decision to run for Congress,” Nystrom said. “I feel we need a strong voice who represents all people.”

Mining and the
environment
Nystrom told the crowd of about 80 Ely-area residents that in preparing her campaign for Congress, she sought to be pragmatic in researching the proposed sulfide mining projects in northern Minnesota.
“As a member of Congress, I would really not have any jurisdiction over PolyMet,” she said. “There is not really anything I could do in regards to PolyMet, so I am sticking with Twin Metals here.”
She disclosed that she met with PolyMet and Twin Metals officials, environmental advocates and area business owners and stakeholders. “Anyone who contacted our campaign, on any side of the issue, I wanted to listen to them. I did not come in with any assumptions one way or the other. That was important to me. It was also important to me not to later waver on the issue.”
With a taconite mining background pervasive in her fiance’s family, Nystrom stressed the importance of being proud of the mining history of the region. “I think we have to do everything possible to keep HibTac open,” she said.
“In reviewing Twin Metals and the way it has been proposed, in its current form, I believe that it poses too much of a threat to the BWCA as it sits right now, and I can’t support it as it is because of the environmental threat that it poses to the BWCA,” Nystrom said.
She asserted that she is “not opposed to copper-nickel mining across the board,” but believes in the “not this mine, not this location” philosophy of the current form of the Twin Metals proposal.
She welcomed more conversations on the divisive issue. “I don’t feel comfortable being a rubber stamp on the project,” Nystrom said. “Sometimes, I have felt that Rep. Stauber is just a rubber stamp. I believe my job is to look at every single project that would come in front of me and look at the safety and environmental issues, and a plethora of different things. That’s how I have always been, and that’s what I will do for the Eighth District.”

Other issues
Nystrom stressed the importance of public education funding. “Back in the 1970s when the federal government mandated that public school districts must support special education students, they also agreed to fund public schools for that,” she said.
“Unfortunately, the federal government has never fully funded the program, and over the years, school districts have seen an increase in special education needs and must now use their general fund to offset those costs. That hurts our schools even more,” she added.
The issue of dark money in politics is another issue Nystrom said she feels strongly about. “There is a huge underlying issue in the Citizens United decision made 10 years ago,” she said. “I would implore all of you to look at what corporations give money to what candidates. I have taken a pledge that I am not going to take a penny from any health insurance organization or PAC, nor pharmaceutical company, because I believe if I am saying I want to fix our healthcare system, I don’t want my hands tied behind my back.”
She maintained her attack on Rep. Stauber. “I find it personally an issue that (the congressman) takes so much money from corporations,” she said. “You can all go online and see how much that is. It is a lot, in my opinion, and I think that is a conflict of interest.”
Nystrom added that diversifying economic opportunities includes expanding rural broadband internet. “There are so many people who want to open small businesses or want to be consultants,” she said. “There are many businesses who want to give employees telecommuting opportunities to work from home. Many people would love to live here in Ely and still do their work online, and need equitable access around the Eighth District.”
Affordable housing and access to childcare are also part of Nystrom’s economic development triangle in northern Minnesota. “Both parents have to go to work to afford their home, but they can’t get childcare in our area,” she said.

ELY – Quinn Nystrom, a candidate for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party endorsement for U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District, spoke to a large Tuesday Group audience last week. She was also the featured speaker at a gathering of the Northern Progressives group in Cook later that day.
Nystrom, 28, is challenging first-term incumbent Pete Stauber for the expansive Eighth District seat in northern Minnesota. While she is a fourth-generation resident of Crow Wing County and the youngest (and first) woman to serve on the Baxter City Council, she is very familiar with the Ely area, having spent most of her childhood summers on Burntside Lake at her grandparents’ cabin.
“I just found out she graduated summa cum laude from (YMCA) Camp Widjiwagan,” said Steve Piragis in his introductory remarks, “so she knows her knots and how to paddle into the wind.”
While Nystrom has been advocating since grade school on healthcare issues, especially affordable prescription drug coverage, she has become well known more recently as an advocate for persons living with diabetes, and lobbied last year for a bill in the state Legislature to make insulin more affordable and accessible to everyone.
When that bill died in the Republican-controlled Senate, Nystrom helped organize a series of car and bus caravans to purchase insulin in Canada, where the drug is cheaper and available over the counter.
Nystrom said her motivation to run for Congress was born out of those efforts to bring affordable and accessible health care to everyone. “Last spring, I went to Washington, D.C. and met with (Rep.) Stauber, who was elected to represent every single one of us. That is his job. I asked him three things, one was to sign onto legislation to help with the insulin affordability crisis. I asked him to keep his campaign promise not to attack pre-existing conditions. And I asked him to host a diabetes roundtable back here in the Eighth District.”
She said Stauber agreed to do the three things she asked of him. “I thought we had a real ally in Congress,” Nystrom said. She said she had no intention of running for Congress.
“I never got any follow-up from him or his staff,” she said. “I found out later that he never signed on to any legislation to lower the cost of insulin. He also voted against people with pre-existing conditions. And he didn’t have any intention of having a diabetes roundtable.”
Her frustration with having ineffective representation in Congress prompted her to take action. “Just like I have been taught for my entire life, instead of sitting around and complaining I made the decision to run for Congress,” Nystrom said. “I feel we need a strong voice who represents all people.”

Mining and the
environment
Nystrom told the crowd of about 80 Ely-area residents that in preparing her campaign for Congress, she sought to be pragmatic in researching the proposed sulfide mining projects in northern Minnesota.
“As a member of Congress, I would really not have any jurisdiction over PolyMet,” she said. “There is not really anything I could do in regards to PolyMet, so I am sticking with Twin Metals here.”
She disclosed that she met with PolyMet and Twin Metals officials, environmental advocates and area business owners and stakeholders. “Anyone who contacted our campaign, on any side of the issue, I wanted to listen to them. I did not come in with any assumptions one way or the other. That was important to me. It was also important to me not to later waver on the issue.”
With a taconite mining background pervasive in her fiance’s family, Nystrom stressed the importance of being proud of the mining history of the region. “I think we have to do everything possible to keep HibTac open,” she said.
“In reviewing Twin Metals and the way it has been proposed, in its current form, I believe that it poses too much of a threat to the BWCA as it sits right now, and I can’t support it as it is because of the environmental threat that it poses to the BWCA,” Nystrom said.
She asserted that she is “not opposed to copper-nickel mining across the board,” but believes in the “not this mine, not this location” philosophy of the current form of the Twin Metals proposal.
She welcomed more conversations on the divisive issue. “I don’t feel comfortable being a rubber stamp on the project,” Nystrom said. “Sometimes, I have felt that Rep. Stauber is just a rubber stamp. I believe my job is to look at every single project that would come in front of me and look at the safety and environmental issues, and a plethora of different things. That’s how I have always been, and that’s what I will do for the Eighth District.”

Other issues
Nystrom stressed the importance of public education funding. “Back in the 1970s when the federal government mandated that public school districts must support special education students, they also agreed to fund public schools for that,” she said.
“Unfortunately, the federal government has never fully funded the program, and over the years, school districts have seen an increase in special education needs and must now use their general fund to offset those costs. That hurts our schools even more,” she added.
The issue of dark money in politics is another issue Nystrom said she feels strongly about. “There is a huge underlying issue in the Citizens United decision made 10 years ago,” she said. “I would implore all of you to look at what corporations give money to what candidates. I have taken a pledge that I am not going to take a penny from any health insurance organization or PAC, nor pharmaceutical company, because I believe if I am saying I want to fix our healthcare system, I don’t want my hands tied behind my back.”
She maintained her attack on Rep. Stauber. “I find it personally an issue that (the congressman) takes so much money from corporations,” she said. “You can all go online and see how much that is. It is a lot, in my opinion, and I think that is a conflict of interest.”
Nystrom added that diversifying economic opportunities includes expanding rural broadband internet. “There are so many people who want to open small businesses or want to be consultants,” she said. “There are many businesses who want to give employees telecommuting opportunities to work from home. Many people would love to live here in Ely and still do their work online, and need equitable access around the Eighth District.”
Affordable housing and access to childcare are also part of Nystrom’s economic development triangle in northern Minnesota. “Both parents have to go to work to afford their home, but they can’t get childcare in our area,” she said.

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