Minnesota’s Eighth District Congressman-elect Rick Nolan has been appointed to serve on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, "the body at the epicenter of efforts to spur job growth by revitalizing the nation’s roads, bridges, railroads and waterways," his office announced Thursday.
Nolan will follow outgoing freshman Republican Chip Cravaack, who also had a seat on the committee. Nolan defeated Cravaack by 9 percentage points in November, returning the northern Minnesota district to decades-long Democratic control.
Cravaack's predecessor, Jim Oberstar, made the committee his home base during 36 years in Congress, serving both as its chairman and the ranking Democrat, depending on which party controlled the House.
The Transportation Committee now appears to be something of birth-right for Minnesota Eight, and Nolan says he requested the assignment during earlier meetings with House Democratic leadership. He received the word from Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic Caucus.
“This is a major committee assignment – vital to generating good jobs and economic development here in the Eighth Congressional District,” Nolan said. “Building a strong surface and water transportation system creates good paying jobs, improves the quality of our lives, and is the economic backbone of a large district like the Eighth. Timber, taconite, tourism and manufacturing spread over a large geographic area all require strong transportation to be successful."
Nolan indicated that the assignment will allow him to move forward on "Day One" with efforts to secure federal support for the Northern Lights Express high speed rail project and Essential Air Service for regional airports, issues on which Cravaack and district DFLers sharply diverged.
For Nolan and other newly-elected House members, Day One is January 3.
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Nolan would be formidable in a crowded DFL field.
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