By Rachel Kytonen/Isanti County News—
As part of his continuing efforts to help generate jobs and promote local manufacturers, small businesses and employers, Congressman Rick Nolan visited Cambridge, Wyoming and Chisago City last week on his “Make It In America” tour.
During his visit Aug. 28, Nolan took tours of Arrow Tank and Cambridge Metal and Plastics.
On Aug. 29, Nolan toured Kendall Howard in Chisago City, Polaris in Wyoming and Xccent Medical and Industrial, also in Wyoming. He and local government officials and business leaders met for a luncheon at Winehaven Winery and Vineyard.
He also met with county commissioners, mayors, city councilors, economic development officials, school superintendents and local manufacturers during a luncheon Aug. 28.
“People who serve in local government are the unsung heroes in government,” Nolan said during the luncheon in Cambridge. “You have serious responsibilities and deal with serious budgets that have a profound impact on the community. The same can be said of municipal officials, township officials and law enforcement officers. You really are the folks who build these communities.”
Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmer thanked Nolan for visiting Cambridge.
“Cambridge is a regional destination center, and we work very hard at that,” Palmer said. “All of the elected officials in this county work well together and always work as a collaborative unit. It’s a tremendous honor for the city, myself, and for all of us gathered here today to introduce Congressman Rick Nolan.”
Nolan, who has been in business 32 years, mentioned he kept invested in education and other organizations during his time away from Congress. Nolan served in Congress from 1975-1981 before assuming office again in January 2013.
“As many have said, it takes an entire community, including the business community, to have a sense of understanding that we are all in this together,” Nolan said. “Government does play a very crucial role in all of this, but I’ve always felt we need to make sure it’s for the good and positive. If not, let’s get rid of it.”
Nolan touched on some of the differences he’s experienced since being back in Congress.
“Congress has changed a lot since I’ve been back, with one of the major things being the amount of money being spent in congressional politics,” Nolan said. “My election contest cost around $20 million when all added up. In general, but not in my case, it seems those with the most money gets the most votes. I don’t think that’s what our Founding Fathers had in mind.”
Nolan mentioned how the number of conference committee meetings, as well as subcommittee meetings, has drastically dropped from when he was previously in Congress.
“When the election was over, we would all join together and what emerged from our committees was bipartisan compromise … and the country was better off for it,” Nolan said. “Like you, I’m in the business because I care, and as far as political consequences, I don’t care. I’m going to do what I think is right and I’m not going to spend 30 to 40 hours per week dialing for dollars.”
Nolan feels everyone should care about the work in Congress.
“A lot of people don’t fully comprehend how government does impact all of us in so many different ways,” Nolan said. “The air we breathe is based on political decisions, as well as the clocks on the wall and the material on our clothing. All of this is impacted by government, and if you want something to say about your life, you have got to pay attention to government and what they’re doing, and what they can do better.”
Nolan’s been enjoying his time again in Congress, he said.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to serve again,” Nolan said. “I am so excited to see all of you today and to see what the people are doing in their communities. I see a lot of building, engineering, new businesses starting and current businesses expanding. It’s all very exciting.”
Nolan told those at the luncheon that he is here to work for them.
“You people are responsible for building a quality group of communities here in East Central Minnesota,” Nolan said. “The office I have in Washington is yours, and it’s important that if something can be made better, I want to be the first to know about it.”
Nolan said he is appreciative of the opportunity he’s been given.
“The message I want to give to you is I am so thrilled at where I am in this point in my life,” Nolan said. “I’ve had a wonderful life and wonderful experiences and family, and community and business opportunities that I can apply what I’ve learned to help make a difference in this country. It’s an unparalleled opportunity to wake up every day to make a difference. Please consider me your servant, and I’ll do whatever I can to help you.”
Nolan said he will continue to work hard for the people of the 8th Congressional District.
“When people bring things to your attention, it’s where you learn about things that need to be done,” Nolan said. “I’ll leave no stone unturned when it comes to helping you to achieve your objective and goals.”