Minnesota has eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and all of them are up for election this fall. In the 8th District, Republican Rep. Pete Stauber is facing DFL state Rep. Jen Schultz.
The 8th Congressional District for years leaned Democratic, but in 2018 it was one of three congressional districts in the country to flip Republican. Stauber won by nearly 20 percent. The 8th Congressional District covers an enormous swath of the northeastern part of Minnesota.
Stauber is in his second term in Congress. Schultz has represented district 7A in the Minnesota House of Representatives since 2015.
Here’s where each candidate stands on the top issues for Minnesotans.
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Schultz: She supports “the right to have control over our own bodies and access to safe abortions.” She is in favor of codifying Roe v. Wade into law.
Stauber: He is against abortion and says “the majority of Americans oppose abortion with no limits.” After Roe v. Wade was overturned, he said the ruling will “save countless innocent lives” and “is a win for the sanctity of life.”
Crime, police and public safety
Schultz: She opposes defunding the police and says better law enforcement will require better resources and “law enforcement agencies should be supported in their efforts to expand and enhance their community policing efforts and to hire officers that demographically reflect the communities they serve.”
Stauber: He was a police officer for more than 20 years. In lieu of supporting Democrats’ attempts at police reform, he has introduced legislation that would fund body cameras for law enforcement, prioritize recruiting diverse officers to reflect the communities they serve, and invest in more training on de-escalation and duty to intervene, which requires officers to prevent other officers from using excessive force.
Economy and tax policy
Schultz: She says she will focus on bringing jobs to the 8th Congressional District and wants to “to be a bridge between environmental groups and the mining industry.“ She is in favor of expanding mining and in favor of precious metals mining if it can be done safely without polluting water.
Stauber: He says the economy is worse under President Joe Biden than President Donald Trump, and is against any ban on mining in northern Minnesota, including PolyMet, which he supports.
Schultz: She supports increased federal funding to schools, smaller class sizes and higher wages for teachers.
Stauber: He has backed more funding for special education classes and rural education. In October, he introduced the House Resolution to Support First Amendment Rights of Parents at School Board Meetings. This resolution is against critical race theory and mask and vaccine mandates.
Environment and climate change
Schultz: She supports northern Minnesota creating union jobs through building and maintaining sustainable alternative energy infrastructure.
Stauber: MPR News could not find recent public comment on the issue.
Farming and rural Minnesota
Schultz: She says she supports issues impacting farmers and rural Minnesotans, including better mental health resources. In 2019 she passed a new Agriculture and Housing budget.
Stauber: He says he is committed to helping and improving farming in his district. This year, he said the Environmental Protection Agency had “abused their regulatory authorities to stifle innovation and growth in the American energy.” He voted against the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that Congress passed and President Joe Biden approved in 2021, which so far has brought $9.4 million in federal grants to airports in northeastern Minnesota and will bring more money to fix rural roads, broadband and more.
Schultz: She supports assault rifle bans, and wrote “I support background checks for all gun purchases; red-flag laws; and reasonable measures to help keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill,” but says “our societal issue with gun violence has nothing to do with the vast majority of guns Minnesotans own.”
Stauber: He says the Second Amendment is “an important part of our way of life throughout Minnesota.” He says he is not “ignorant” of gun violence, but gun control measures are “out of misguided fear.”
Schultz: She supports the proposed creation of a single-payer system, also known as Medicare for All, and says “quality health care should be a right for all Americans.”
Stauber: In 2019 he was one of eight House Republicans who voted “in favor of a resolution decrying the Trump administration’s push to have the courts invalidate ObamaCare,” according to The Hill, but he also voted to repeal the “Cadillac Tax” provision of the Affordable Care Act. Also, he once introduced an amendment to lower the cost of insulin but then this year voted against a bill to cap its cost at $35. He is against the Affordable Care Act.
Schultz: MPR News could not find recent public comment on the issue.
Stauber: He supports securing the U.S.-Mexico border and voted against the DREAM Act, which would create a pathway to citizenship for some undocumented people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, saying it would increase crime at the border.
The 2020 Election
Schultz: On Jan. 6, 2021, she signed a protest and dissent letter objecting to House members who endorsed the Texas lawsuit claiming election fraud. On Jan. 7, 2021, she said: “It has been a fairly ordinary election, with a modest but clear victory by President-Elect Biden, and with a democratic transfer of power to the party that was in opposition. This has happened many times in our past; it will, if we can preserve our democracy, happen many times in the future.”
Stauber: As reported by the Mesabi Tribune, in 2020 Stauber remained silent on Election Day and the following weeks on whether or not he saw President Biden’s win as legitimate. In December, he said that he signed an amicus brief to overturn the presidential election. Shortly after the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection, he changed and said he would vote to certify Biden’s victory, breaking with Trump and other Republican members of congress.