A bill renaming Wayzata's post office for former U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad is a presidential signature away from becoming law.
Ramstad was a Republican member of Congress from 1991-2009 and represented the state's Third Congressional District. The longtime Wayzata resident died last November at the age of 74.
"He was a true mentor to me on how to work with both Democrats and Republicans to get things done," said Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar. "A faithful public servant, his personal struggle with addiction guided his life's work to help those facing substance abuse and mental health challenges."
The effort to honor Ramstad unanimously passed the Senate on Tuesday after moving out of the House in a voice vote back in February. In the House, Rep. Dean Phillips, who holds Ramstad's seat, sponsored the legislation that was co-sponsored by the seven other Minnesota House members.
"Through his decades of selfless public service, Jim Ramstad left an indelible mark on our nation," said Phillips, a Democrat. "His tireless advocacy and willingness to reach across the political aisle to expand access to treatment for mental health and addiction, an issue of personal importance borne from his own life experiences, exemplifies the broader approach he took to helping make lives better."
Klobuchar led the Senate version of the legislation to honor Ramstad's legacy, which was co-sponsored by fellow Democratic Sen. Tina Smith. Two GOP senators from North Dakota, the state where Ramstad was born, also co-sponsored the effort.
Ramstad was remembered as "a giant of Minnesota politics" in a June letter signed by seven Minnesota U.S. House members. The letter noted that "after overcoming his own battle with alcoholism," a major achievement of Ramstad's was "a law which has helped millions of families access treatment for mental health and addiction" that also carried the name of the late Sen. Paul Wellstone who died in 2002.
"Shortly before his death last year, Congressman Ramstad himself celebrated 39 years of sobriety and often spoke candidly about his struggles and his road to recovery," the congressional letter said.
"By proposing to rename the Wayzata Post Office in Congressman Ramstad's honor, we hope to create a lasting tribute to a man who dedicated his life to serving others."
Hunter Woodall • 612-673-4559