Quinn Nystrom, a vocal advocate for people with diabetes, is launching a DFL campaign for Congress in the Eighth District, a northeastern Minnesota region now represented by first-term Republican Rep. Pete Stauber.

Nystrom, 33, said she is running to continue her work "because for the past 23 years I've committed my life to standing up for people who have struggled with a chronic illness." She said she will focus on health care and the price of prescription drugs.

Nystrom said that at age 10, when her 5-year-old brother was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, she began knocking on doors and raising money for the cause.

She was later diagnosed with type 1 diabetes herself and now travels the country speaking to health care groups and others about how to talk to people with chronic illness. She also speaks to groups of people diagnosed with chronic disease and eating disorders about how to live with the diseases.

The rising price of insulin has thrust Nystrom, a former Baxter City Council member, into the public eye in recent months, as the Legislature has been debating the best approach to help people who cannot afford their medicine.

Stauber, a hockey player, retired police officer and former St. Louis County commissioner, is seen by the DFL as a tough opponent even though he is in his first term.

The DFL controlled the district for decades until 2010. Stauber is the second Republican to win there.

Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan said in a statement that national Democrats' decision to drop the race from their list of top targets acknowledges "that this formerly heavy Democratic district is being well-represented by Stauber."

J. Patrick Coolican • 651-925-5042