Rick Nolan

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Rick Nolan
Rick Nolan official photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 8th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Chip Cravaack
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 6th district
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1981
Preceded by John M. Zwach
Succeeded by Vin Weber
Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives
from the 53A district
In office
Succeeded by Raymond Kempe
Personal details
Born (1943-12-17) December 17, 1943 (age 75)
Brainerd, Minnesota
Political party Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party
Spouse(s) Mary Nolan (Current), Marjorie Nolan (Divorced)
Residence Crosby, Minnesota
Alma mater St. John’s University
University of Minnesota (B.A.)
University of Maryland, College Park
St. Cloud State University
Profession business owner and politician
Religion Catholic
Website Representative Rick Nolan

Richard Michael "Rick" Nolan (born December 17, 1943) is an American politician who has been the U.S. Representative for Minnesota's 8th congressional district since 2013. A member of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party, he previously served as the U.S. Representative for Minnesota's 6th congressional district from 1975 to 1981. After re-entering politics in 2011, he was nominated to challenge first-term incumbent Republican Chip Cravaack in the 8th district,[1] defeating Cravaack on November 6, 2012.[2] Nolan and Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy are the only two remaining Watergate Babies in Congress, though Nolan's service included a break from 1981 to 2013. Nolan's 32 year gap between terms in Congress is the longest such break in service in U.S. history.[3]

Early life

Nolan was born in Brainerd, Minnesota and graduated from Brainerd High School in 1962. His aunt was a district judge, whom Nolan called his “biggest political influence growing up.”[4] He attended St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota the following year, but completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota, earning his B.A. in 1966. Nolan pursued postgraduate work in public administration and policy formation at the University of Maryland, College Park, and in education at St. Cloud State University.[5]

Early in his career he served as a staff assistant to Walter Mondale in the United States Senate,[6] and was a teacher of social studies in Royalton, Minnesota.[5] In 1968, he campaigned for presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy.[4]

Early political career

Nolan during his first stint in Congress in the 1970s

Nolan was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1968 and served two terms (1969-72), representing House District 53A (Morrison County). His uncle Martin J. McGowan, Jr. also served in the Minnesota Legislature.[7] He then ran unsuccessfully for Minnesota's 6th congressional district seat in the United States House of Representatives in 1972, but was elected in his second run in 1974 to the 94th Congress and reelected to the 95th and the 96th.

See also:

In 1979, he broke with his party in endorsing Senator Ted Kennedy for President over the sitting Democratic President Jimmy Carter.[6][8]

In 2007, he endorsed Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd in his campaign for President of the United States, and traveled the state of Iowa campaigning on his behalf.[9]

Business career

Nolan decided not to run for reelection in 1980, and served as president of the U.S. Export Corporation until 1986, and was later appointed to and became president of the Minnesota World Trade Center, a private-public initiative, by then-Democratic Party chairman Governor Rudy Perpich from 1987 to 1994.[5][7] The National Journal reported that "his Republican foes criticized his $70,000 salary, which they considered high for a civil servant at the time, and the budget deficits the company ran up." [4] He has also served as chairman of the Mission Township[10] Planning Committee, president and board member of the Central Lakes College foundation, to which he helped direct federal funding.[11] Nolan is the former owner of Emily Wood Products, a small sawmill and pallet factory in the northern Minnesota community of Emily.[4] His daughter and son-in-law now own and operate the enterprise.[12]

Return to politics

2012 campaign for U.S. Congress

Nolan announced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives on July 12, 2011, challenging incumbent Chip Cravaack in Minnesota's 8th congressional district.[13] He won the Democratic primary in August 2012, defeating Tarryl Clark and Jeff Anderson.[14][15] The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent about $2 million on his campaign, and the liberal House Majority PAC spent another $1.5 million.[16] Nolan defeated Cravaack, 191,976 to 160,520, to return to Congress after a 32-year absence.

2014 campaign for U.S. Congress

Nolan ran for re-election in 2014. The Democratic primary took place on August 12, 2014 and the general election on November 4, 2014. He was challenged by Republican nominee Stewart Mills III.[17][18] According to Politico, Nolan was a vulnerable Democrat in a competitive congressional district. He was targeted by Americans for Prosperity over his support of the Affordable Care Act. He was successful in his close re-election bid, defeating Mills 129,090 to 125,358.[19]


Gun policy

Nolan has said that he supports the Second Amendment but believes there should be some restrictions on gun ownership.[20] In January 2013, Rick Nolan called the assault weapon ban, which expired in 2004, common sense legislation, saying he didn’t need an assault weapon to kill a duck.[21]

Energy and environment

Nolan has voiced opposition to the proposed route of the Enbridge Sandpiper pipeline, saying it poses environmental risks to vulnerable wetlands and drinking water in northern Minnesota.[22]

Nolan voted against an amendment requiring a study of the vulnerabilities of the Keystone XL pipeline to a terrorist attack and certification that necessary protections have been put in place.[23]

Nolan supports increased federal investment in the mining industry, including a “$250 million-a-year research center that would look at newer, cheaper and more environmentally friendly ways of extracting resources from the region.” He also advocates speeding up the environmental review process for mining companies.[24]

Economic issues

During a debate in 2012, Nolan said that taxes should be raised and that provisions in the tax code that encourage offshoring should be eliminated. Nolan also said that the "super-rich" in particular should be targeted for tax increases.[25]

Nolan has voiced support for the stimulus spending championed by President Obama. He said, "It did in fact create good jobs in a whole wide range of areas, not the least of which is in the field of transportation."[26]

On October 1, 2013, Nolan introduced a bill that would withhold the pay of members of Congress during a government shutdown, in response to the shutdown that had gone into effect that morning. “It’s time for Congress to start living in the real world - where you either do your job, or you don’t get paid,” he said concerning the bill.[27]

Health care

In June 2014, Nolan and Republican David McKinley introduced the Health Care Fairness and Flexibility Act, which would delay an Affordable Care Act fee on every person covered by large self-insured employers and insurance companies. According to the Duluth News Tribune, "The effort marks a rare bit of bipartisan cooperation in Washington when it comes to legislation, especially regarding the president’s signature law."[28]

Nolan supports the Affordable Care Act and said he would not vote to repeal it. Nolan said, "It ensures that another 30 million people in this country would have health insurance; it provides that nobody can be denied as a result of preconditions; it provides that parents can keep their children insured up to the age of 26."[29]

Nolan is a strong supporter of single-payer health care and believes it should be the ultimate goal of the Affordable Care Act.[30]

Foreign policy

Nolan was one of four members of Congress to vote against the 2014 Veterans Affairs appropriations bill. The bill allocates $73.3 billion to veterans programs and military construction projects, "$1.4 billion more than what Congress budgeted last year." In a statement, Nolan said, "I voted against the bill in protest, because it under-funds veterans health and benefit programs, while shoveling billions of new dollars into unnecessary new military construction in places all around the world where American presence and American resources do not belong."[31]

In 2014, Nolan urged President Obama to resist further military intervention in both Syria and Iraq.[32][33][34]

Nolan visited Cuba along with President Barack Obama in March 2016. It was a return trip for Nolan, who had first been to Cuba in 1977.[35]


Nolan voted against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which prohibits abortions after 20 weeks.[36]

Campaign finance

Nolan supports campaign finance reform. In February 2013, Nolan introduced a constitutional amendment designed to overturn the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United v. FEC case that dealt with the regulation of campaign spending by organizations.[37] In 2015, Nolan joined Democratic U.S. Representatives Keith Ellison, Mark Pocan, Matt Cartwright, Jared Huffman and Raúl Grijalva as co-sponsors of legislation calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision.[38]

Congressional tenure

Nolan sits on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and four of its Subcommittees: Highways and Transit; Aviation; Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management; and Water Resources and the Environment.[39] He also serves on the House Agriculture Committee and two of its Subcommittees: Conservation, Energy and Forestry, and Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit.[39]

Nolan has previously served on the House Small Business Committee and the House Agriculture Committee; his previous appointments would have earned him some Committee Seniority on these committees that he had already served on[40] in the 94th, 95th and 96th Congresses.[41] Instead, Nolan will now have Committee Seniority on only the House Agriculture Committee and be a junior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Nolan had been quoted as saying he would like to serve on "the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, along with the Natural Resources Committee, which hears legislation that directly affects the mining, forestry, agriculture and tourism-based economy of the Eighth Congressional District."[42][43]

Nolan and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar were the original co-sponsors of legislation called the Small Airplane Revitalization Act of 2013, that would modernize small aircraft regulations. The bill would modernize the FAA's Part 23 certification process.[44][45]

Nolan endorsed Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic U.S. presidential primary election.[46]

Personal life

Nolan is divorced from Marjorie Nolan. He is currently married to Mary Nolan. He has four children.[47][48]

Electoral history

See also: United States House of Representatives elections in Minnesota, 2012#District 8
2012 Eighth Congressional District of Minnesota Elections[49]
Party Candidate Votes %
DFL Rick Nolan 191,981 54.3
Republican Chip Cravaack (incumbent) 160,520 45.39
Write-ins 1,164 .33
Total votes 353,665 100.0
Voter turnout  %
DFL gain from Republican

See also


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  2. "Nolan defeats Cravaack in 8th District". MPR News. November 6, 2012. Retrieved 2013-12-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Viser, Matt (May 28, 2013). "Lawmaker Finds New Realities in Return to Congress: Minnesota's Rick Nolan, Back After 32 Years, Decries Disunity, Focus on Money". Boston Globe. Boston, MA.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Bennett, Cory (Nov 1, 2012). "Minnesota, 8th House District". National Journal. Retrieved 12 August 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  12. http://nolan.house.gov/about/about-rick
  13. Collins, Jon (July 13, 2011). "Former Rep. Nolan enter 8th District race against Cravaack". Minnesota Independent. Retrieved 2012-06-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  20. Murphy, Esme. "Interview: Rep. Rick Nolan Discusses Money In Politics, ISIS & Guns". WCCO News. Retrieved 2014-10-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  22. O'Rourke, Mike (Jul 25, 2014). "Nolan wants Enbridge Sandpiper route moved south". Bemidji Pioneer. Retrieved 12 August 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  35. Brodey, Sam (March 24, 2016). "Visits to Cuba will be new for many Americans, but Rep. Rick Nolan's been there". MinnPost. Retrieved 28 March 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  40. Office of the Historian, House of Representatives. "Committees in the U.S. Congress 1947-1992", Volume 2: Committee Histories and Member Assignments, by Garrison Nelson, University of Vermont with Mary T. Mitchell, University of Michigan, Clark H. Bensen, PoliData. Published by the Congressional Quarterly, page 665.
  41. Office of the Historian, House of Representatives. "Encyclopedia of the United States Congress", c. 1995, volume 4, pages 1795 & 1799
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  44. "Plan to reduce aviation red tape goes to Obama". Duluth News Tribune. November 15, 2013. Retrieved 2016-04-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Zwach
U.S. Representative from Minnesota's 6th congressional district
1975 – 1981
Succeeded by
Vin Weber
Preceded by
Chip Cravaack
U.S. Representative from Minnesota's 8th congressional district
2013 –
Succeeded by
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Marcia Fudge
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Matt Salmon