Monday Report from Representative Rick Nolan


House Passes Nolan Amendments to Boost Rural Broadband, Small Airports and Range Mining

Additional Measures Readied to Increase Funding for Cancer and Lyme Disease Research

Click on the screen above to hear me explain more about our amendment to help extend high speed rural broadband to more small communities in Minnesota and across the Nation. 


Dear Friend,

As I’ve pointed out many times before, it’s not easy to be effective in this unproductive Congress, especially when the other party controls the agenda. But last week alone, the House approved my bipartisan amendments to boost federal funding for rural broadband services and small airport expansion. My Minnesota Republican colleague Tom Emmer and I also teamed up to pass an amendment to ensure the integrity of the environmental review process for any future mining projects that might take place in designated areas of Superior National Forest. 

And two more amendments to boost funding for cancer and Lyme disease research have been made in order when the House resumes consideration of the 2018 federal spending package this week.

Specifically, my rural broadband amendment provides small communities and businesses looking to provide high-speed broadband services for local residents with additional access to low-interest or no-interest federal loans. The measure boosts the pool of loan subsidies by $479,000 for a total of $5 million for 2018 under the Agriculture Department’s Rural Broadband Access Loan and Guarantee Program.

My small airport amendment restores full funding in the amount of $10 million to the Small Community Air Service Development Program, which supports efforts by rural airports to expand services to places the national air transportation system doesn’t reach. Duluth International Airport is presently seeking assistance under the program to begin flights to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Across Minnesota’s 8th District, airports in Hibbing-Chisholm, Brainerd, Bemidji, and International Falls could also benefit from the program.

The National Cancer Institute’s lifesaving medical research program would receive an increase of just over $3.1 million – bringing the total for 2018 to $5.5 billion – under my cancer research measure. Those funds are intended to expand the remarkable progress being made against lung cancer, the most deadly form of this multi-faceted disease. 

Minnesota – and particularly Northern Minnesota – is an epicenter for Lyme disease carried by deer ticks in our fields and forests. Thousands of Minnesotans are affected every year. My Lyme disease amendment provides a $300,000 research boost to the Centers for Disease Control – to a total of $11 million in 2018 – to better prevent, diagnose and cure this condition. 

As I’ve frequently pointed out, effectiveness in Congress requires Democrats and Republicans alike to work together for the good of all. That’s what I’ve been working hard to do, and as you can see, we’re getting results that benefit the 8th District, Minnesota and our Nation.

We will keep you posted as events proceed. Meanwhile, I want to hear your thoughts. Feel free to contact any of our offices listed below or send me an email.




Trump Sends "Dreamers" a Nightmare Threat of Deportation

These young “Dreamers” remind us that many are college students getting an education to contribute to our Nation. 

President Trump’s decision to begin a process that could lead to the deportation of some 800,000 “Dreamers” – young men and women of great promise who were brought to America as minors by their undocumented parents – is mean spirited, tearing families apart, and not in the interests or the spirit of our Nation.

The President has given Congress six months to pass legislation to reverse his ill-considered move. Accordingly, I have joined many of my colleagues in cosponsoring The Dream Act – a bipartisan bill to give these Dreamers the opportunity to stay in America, earn their citizenship, and use their talents to move our Nation forward.

To be clear, these young people have done nothing wrong. They have enormous potential and love for the only Nation they have ever called home - and have come forward to pass rigorous background checks and every requirement under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy. They are starting careers in every important field – as emergency first responders, members of our military, technicians, medical researchers, designers, educators and entrepreneurs. Name the worthy goal and there is probably a Dreamer pursuing it. Our Nation is made better by their continued presence and participation in our great democracy. 



Range Iron Ore Exports Surge Thanks to Crackdown on Illegal Steel 

Great Lakes ships like this one are moving more and more Iron Range taconite to Canada, Japan and other nations around the world. 

There is more good news for the economic recovery on Minnesota’s Iron Range that began after we persuaded the Obama Administration to crack down on illegal foreign steel dumping by China and other trade cheater nations. With more than 1,000 miners now back at work and orders for American steel pouring in from Canada and Japan, Range iron ore and other Minnesota mining exports tripled over the summer to a healthy $112 million.

The Iron Mining Association of Minnesota and top economists credit the boost in iron ore exports to crippling taxes and tariffs of up to 522% imposed on illegal steel from China, England, South Korea and other nations. Over the past three years, I have repeatedly testified before the International Trade Commission (ITC), urging them to impose those tough penalties, and give American miners and steel workers the opportunity to compete on a level global playing field. When given that opportunity, American workers and the top quality products they produce can win every time, and this good news proves the point. 


Trump Administration Seeks Rollback in Campus Sexual Assault Protections

All students have a right to be safe from sexual assault at school and on their college campuses. Under the federal law known as Title IX, K-12 schools and colleges are required to take the initiative to guard students against sexual discrimination and harassment - including sexual assault. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos should reaffirm and work to strengthen those protections. Yet last week, the Secretary announced that the Trump Administration will take action to weaken and roll back Obama-era guidance to schools in enforcing the law.  

This highly disturbing move by the Administration ignores the epidemic of sexual assault on campus. A 2015 survey found that one in five women at a number of leading universities experienced sexual assault while in college. By giving clarity to schools on how to respond to these incidents, the Obama Administration helped to install a more thorough and fair process for all involved.

In the wake of Secretary Devos’ announcement, I have joined Congresswoman Susan Davis to introduce the Survivor Outreach and Support (SOS) Campus Act. This important legislation would ensure an independent, on-campus advocate for survivors of sexual assault is available to help students access all of the resources available and guide them through the process of reporting the assault, should they choose to do so.

Make no mistake – I’ll be working hard to ensure that we do more, and not less, to protect all our students from sexual assault, harassment and discrimination as they strive to get a good and safe education. 


Nolan Presses to Reauthorize Perkins College Loan Program for Low-Income Students

Minnesota has some of the finest colleges and universities in the Nation, and Perkins Loans help ensure that students in need have an opportunity to attend and succeed in life. 

With some 500,000 low-income college students at risk of losing their financial assistance under the Perkins Loan Program, I have joined in cosponsoring legislation to extend this highly efficient way of helping promising young people complete their education. The program, which provides low interest loans to students who are often the first in their families to attend college, is scheduled to expire on September 30th. 

Perkins is a risk-sharing initiative, with colleges contributing one-third of their students’ awards. And unlike many student loan programs, Perkins is administered directly by colleges and universities, with students receiving counseling to help ensure timely repayment. I’ll be working hard to help get this extension done by the deadline so no Perkins participant is in danger of losing the help they need to get an education and live up to their full potential in life. 


Our Week in DC

I had a good visit with Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat to discuss light rail and other Minnesota transportation issues. 
Ben Thuringer, Chief Operating Officer at Madden's Resort on Gull Lake, was in town to discuss the H-2B visa program under which many people from all around the world get an opportunity to work at our Minnesota resorts and help out our tourism and recreation industry. 

Last Friday, our bipartisan Problem Solvers group held a press conference with Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich and Colorado Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper to announce our intention to press for a new, cost-controlled health care reform bill that both parties can support. That’s Governor Hickenlooper speaking in the top photo, with Yours Truly on the far right. In the photo directly above, I’m chatting with Governor Kasich, who turned his head at just the wrong second. 

Our Week in Near Lake Vermilion 

Minnesota's newest state park on beautiful Lake Vermilion is set to open to the public in mid-September. The park consists of 3,034 acres and 5.1 miles of undeveloped shoreline. Hopefully you’ll have time to visit Lake Vermilion State Park for spectacular display of Fall colors along side one of Minnesota's most treasured lakes. The Park is projected to attract up to 250,000 visitors every year. 

Our Week in Duluth

Captain Laurence Grimes is donating this model of the USS Duluth to the city of Duluth. Pictured are Mayor Emily Larson and Don Rowe, former USS Duluth crew member. The Duluth was decommissioned in 2005. Our office was also instrumental in obtaining the official captain’s tea set from the USS Duluth. The set is now on display at the museum exhibit at the Duluth Depot. 


My District Director Jeff Anderson attended the Minnesota Freight Advisory Committee (MFAC) Meeting in Duluth on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017.  Established in 1998, the MFAC was formed to increase awareness of freight transportation issues; facilitate quick responses to freight questions and issues for the Minnesota legislature, MNDOT, and other organizations; and provide a focal point of freight transportation expertise in Minnesota.  

Here is MNDOT District 1 Engineer Duane Hill updating the group on the new Highway 53 Bridge being built on the Iron Range; as well as the need for redesign and reconstruction of the “Can of Worms” interchange in Duluth and the need for replacing the Blatnik Bridge which connects Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Both projects combined would cost more than $500 million dollars.  Both projects are critical to expanding commerce through freight shipments in and out of the Port of Duluth.  


It’s Wild Rice Season Up North!

Native, organic, delicious Minnesota wild rice is one of our state’s finest delicacies, and it was great to take some time over the Labor Day weekend to begin the Nolan family’s annual harvest. As you can see, we do it the old-fashioned way here in Northern Minnesota’s great outdoors!


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