Stauber stumps in Two Harbors
About 40 people gathered at McQuade's Herbs, Spices and More in Two Harbors on Monday, April 9, for a meet-and-greet with Pete Stauber, a Republican candidate for the 8th Congressional District seat in 2018.
Stauber, a two-term Hermantown city councilor and St. Louis County commissioner, tried out his stump speech at the small gathering of mostly Lake County Republicans. He billed himself as a "blue-collar, common-sense conservative" to the friendly crowd. Stauber also spent 22 years with the Duluth Police Department before retiring last fall.
Stauber told the crowd he was "the only pro-life candidate" currently in the race to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, DFL-Crosby. He derided the DFL candidates as having views to the left of Nolan.
He also talked about receiving a phone call a few weeks ago from a 202 area code and being surprised when he was asked to hold for President Donald Trump. Stauber said the 8th District is the Republicans' No. 1 priority for a pickup in the midterm elections in November. Trump told him he would do what was necessary to help him turn the 8th District red.
Stauber said he would support the president on issues they agreed on and would stand up to him on those where they diverge.
"We have to work to benefit the people and not the party," he said.
When it comes to gun rights, Stauber is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, despite twice being the victim of gun violence: He was struck in the forehead by a random discharge of a .22 caliber handgun in 1995 while off duty, and he was shot while on duty when a perpetrator tried to fire at Stauber, but the weapon misfired.
Stauber said he supports keeping firearms out of the hands with of those with mental illness or those who are "in crisis." He said instead of increased restrictions on the sale firearms, there should be greater transparency of medical records across state lines, so a person with a mental health crisis in Minnesota can't cross the border into Wisconsin to purchase a weapon.
Gun violence recently made headlines after a student at William Kelley Schools in Silver Bay was taken into custody after a threat to "shoot up a bus." Stauber isn't opposed to arming teachers in the classroom, but said the decision should be made locally.
"Your school board, your school districts should make that decision — not somebody in Washington," he said.
On the question of substance problems in Lake County, Stauber supports its implementation of substance abuse courts this fall as a way to combat the problem of addiction, which he said is an "excellent" tool in fighting addiction. Drug courts focus on an intensive, long-term treatment program and have proven be more effective, and less expensive, in combating drug abuse than incarceration.
"We have to come together to work on a solution, invest in preventive maintenance and also make sure that we can invest in the person and treatment to make sure they come back and become healthy productive citizens like they were before they became an addict," Stauber said. "Having been a law enforcement officer, we cannot arrest our way out of this problem."