Nolan visits state Capitol

Congressman not crossing fingers on gun legislation


T.W. Budig
ECM Political Reporter

Democratic Eighth District Congressman Rick Nolan was at the State Capitol last week. A member of the minority caucus, Nolan said divisions within the House Republican Caucus lends the minority a little extra power.

“We’re able to make a much bigger difference, quite frankly, than I anticipated,” he said.

Nolan, outspoken in support of renewing the federal assault weapons ban, questions whether much gun legislation will come out of Washington.

“I don’t think it will be anything significant,” he said. “The pushback has been pretty powerful.”

Asked whether district voters understand the mechanics and Washington-speak vocabulary of sequestration, Nolan said most are too busy leading their lives to scrutinize details in Washington. But that doesn’t mean they’re indifferent, he said.

“They care — they care deeply,” Nolan said. That is, they see the rich get richer and their wages stay static. “They get all of that — ‘Fix it,’” they say, Nolan said, smiling.

Nolan returned to Congress after service decades ago.

“Pretty much a whole new school,” Nolan said. Committees have been largely “abandoned,” he said. Debate has been muzzled by not accepting amendments on big bills.

“If you had an idea, you got your date in court, so to speak,” Nolan said of offering amendments back when he first served. “You don’t get it anymore.”

Nolan also noted the skyrocketing costs of political campaigns. His most expensive, back in the 1970s, cost a couple hundred thousand dollars, he said. Last election, the campaign cost $20 million, Nolan said.

Brodkorb pleas guilty

On Wednesday, March 13, former Republican Senate communications director Michael Brodkorb plead guilty to fourth degree DUI relating to his Jan. 23 car accident.

In a Facebook statement, the Forest Lake High School graduate said he screwed up.

“I accept complete responsibility for my behavior and I apologize to my family, friends and public. I have seen the pain and horrific tragedy of (how) drunk driving affects those close to me and I should have made different decisions. While the publicity involving my accident has been very difficult for my family, it will hopefully bring additional public awareness to the serious dangers of driving while intoxicated and the importance of wearing your seatbelt,” he said.