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Phifer announces campaign manager

Sue Hakes

Leah Phifer, DFL candidate for the 8th Congressional District, announced Monday, Dec. 4, she has named Sue Hakes as her campaign manager.

Hakes is a former mayor of Grand Marais and onetime Cook County Commissioner. Phifer, a Two Harbors native and resident of Isanti, is challenging three-time incumbent Rep. Rick Nolan for the right to represent the DFL party on the 2018 midterm ballot.

"Sue's dedication to fostering community engagement, especially in our rural communities, is unparalleled," Phifer said in a news release. "Her experience organizing and mobilizing diverse populations is an incredible asset to our campaign."

Hakes works in real estate and has deep family ties to Aitkin County, the news release said. In 2014, Hakes was awarded a two-year Bush Foundation Fellowship to build leadership in rural, northeastern Minnesota.

A graduate of Augsburg College, Hakes used her Bush Fellowship to study at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

In 2016, she worked as a field organizer with the Ohio Together campaign to elect Hillary Clinton for president.

She currently serves on the board of directors for Rural American Indigenous Leadership, and serves on both the Duluth and Cook County YMCA advisory councils. Hakes is also an adviser to the first Grand Marais Youth in Government delegation.

Phifer opposes Nolan's support of efforts to bring sulfide mining to the Iron Range and onto the doorstep of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

"I trust (Phifer) with the future of Minnesota's Eighth Congressional District," Hakes said in the news release. "That's why I am excited to get to work convincing the 8th District to put their trust in her, too."