Rick Nolan explains his views

Rick Nolan

DFL candidate Rick Nolan recently highlighted the differences between himself and the GOP congressman he seeks to unseat, Eighth District Rep. Chip Cravaack.

“There are a lot of differences, but one of them is that I am of and by this district,” Nolan said last week as he sat down with members of the ECM editorial board.

“I’ve been deeply involved in my community,” he added. “I can tell you how many pounds of walleye were taken out of Mille Lacs Lake, and I have 12 grandchildren in our school districts. I know it’s not a requirement to run for office, but it sure does come in handy. In this particular race, it gives me an edge.”

Nolan said he was honored during his time in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1970s for “doing the right thing and not necessarily the political thing,” adding that he is someone who has “proven I can roll up my sleeves and get things done.”

On the economy

“Contrary to what some argue, the stimulus did some good,” Nolan said. “Not fast enough, not good enough, but a pretty dramatic improvement. I have friends in the construction industry, and the stimulus has greatly helped their business.”

As a founder, chairman and former president of the Minnesota World Trade Center Corporation, Nolan said he has first-hand experience in job creation.

“As an expert trader, I’ve created a lot of jobs,” he said. “We sold goods around the world.”

He said the center compiled access, resources and education that boosted Minnesota’s export presence all over the globe.

“[Gov. Rudy] Perpich and the rest of us were in the forefront of all that,” he said, adding that he would support a combination of taxes and incentives that encourage domestic manufacturing.

“We do just the opposite of that,” he said. “We need to reverse our policy.”

He said he is in favor of increasing tariffs and countervailing duties on imports from countries with poor health and safety standards.

“The alternative, of course, is to bring yourself down to the lowest common denominator around the world,” Nolan said.

He said tax breaks do not create jobs, demand for product does.

“If someone gives me a 10 percent tax break, why would I go out and hire more people if I don’t have demand for my products?” Nolan said, giving his sawmill and pallet factory business in northern Minnesota as an example.

On taxes and spending

“The Republican approach is we need more tax cuts, we need more tax cuts,” he said.

His approach, Nolan said, would be to end these “wars of choice” and use a portion of the savings to reduce the deficit and the rest on rebuilding America’s infrastructure.

“Most economists will agree that a billion dollars spent on domestic programs will create more jobs than that same billion dollars spent on Defense,” he said, stating the Department of Defense’s budget should be cut.

“I lived in Abu Dhabi for four years,” he said. “If you read behind the lines, an awful lot of that money we’re sending over there is ending up in bank accounts in Dubai.”

He said he favors extending the Bush era tax cuts for those making $250,000 or less and took issue with the frequently cited figure of the “47 percent.”

“When you hear this statement that 47 percent of people don’t pay taxes, it’s very misleading,” he said. “You can’t drive down the street without paying taxes.”

For the full story, see the Thursday, Sept. 27 print edition of the Times.