Mills and Nolan battle it out over Minnesota's 8th District

DFL Congressman Rick Nolan is running for reelection in Minnesota's 8th congressional district.

U.S. Representative Rick Nolan in his D.C. office.
U.S. Representative Rick Nolan, DFL 8th District, in his Washington, D.C. office on March 14, 2016.
Mark Zdechlik | MPR News

He and his GOP opponent, Stewart Mills, were invited into our studios for a debate.

Mills declined the invitation. Select the audio player above to hear an interview with Nolan.

Below are some key points taken from Nolan's conversation with host Tom Weber. Also below are answers Mills has given in other instances on similar topics.

The economic slump in the Northland

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Stewart Mills at State Fair on Tuesday
Stewart Mills at State Fair on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016. Mills is making a second run at unseating Rick Nolan in the Eighth District.
Mark Zdechlik | MPR News

Magnetation, an Iron Range mining company, has been cleared for bankruptcy. Weber asked Nolan if that was a sign of another economic downturn on the Iron Range.


"What's more indicative of what's happening is Cliff's Natural Resources has just put over a thousand workers back to work at Forbes and Eveleth and Silver Bay and Babbitt. They just invested another $65 million in the latest, newest taconite technology.

The tariffs that we put in on Chinese steel and steel from other Asian countries ... cheap imported steal has declined dramatically since the first of the year. As a result of that, steal prices have moved up. We've seen a 30 percent reduction in foreign, cheap imported steal.

It's going to take a while to absorb all the cheap steel that was imported that's still sitting in the marketplace, but as that declines we'll continue to see improvements and we'll continue to see more people going to work."


Mills said in a debate in September that Magenetation closing is a sign that the economy in the Iron Range is taking a step back.

Mining and the environment


"Mining is not just important for the Iron Range, not just important for Minnesota. It's important for our national security, it's important for our national economy. Those ores supply the mills ... and all the heavy industrials. I'm a very strong supporter of mining. But I grew up in a time when we didn't have good, strong environmental rules and regulations. I'm one of those who ... said, we can still do mining and have strong, good environmental protections.

There was a lot of resistance to that from the business community. Well, some people need to have the courage to stand up now and say, 'Hey we have the brains, we've got the technology, we have the political will to do both. To do mining and make sure that we protect our air and water.'"


Mills was in favor of the PolyMet mine proposal, as he mentioned in a debate in 2014. He also believed that the Environmental Protection Agency has become "weaponized," and that Americans need to regain control of it.

Fair and free trade


"NAFTA and these other deals have caused thousands of manufacturing and other operations in this country moving overseas with millions of jobs going with them. I've been a leading opponent of [the Trans-Pacific Partnership] agreement and leading efforts on revising the other bad trade agreements that got us into this mess we're in. [Donald] Trump has a message that resonates up [on the Iron Range]."


Mills told the Star Tribune that he would vote against the Trans-Pacific Partnership.