Congressman Rick Nolan

Representing the 8th District of Minnesota
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Pentagon's war on lung cancer hits $20 million mark.

Jul 3, 2018
the Monday Report

Nolan Amendment Boosts Pentagon's Lung Cancer Research Program to $20 Million for 2019

Nolan Lung Cancer Amendment

Dear Friend, 

The war on lung cancer – a disease that kills 159,000 Americans every year – got a solid boost last week as the House passed my bipartisan amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill increasing support for the Defense Department’s lung cancer research program from $14 million to $20 million dollars for 2019. The funds will be targeted to special lung cancer research linked to the unique exposures to cancer-causing substances our military experience in and out of combat. 

In fact, an extensive study conducted by the prestigious Walter Reed Medical Center has concluded that our military Veterans are up to 75 percent more likely to develop lung cancer than people who do not serve in the military. We know that’s largely due to high rates of exposure to carcinogens like asbestos, diesel fuel, depleted uranium, and, of course, Agent Orange from the Vietnam Era.

Moreover, the same study reported that the cost of treating lung cancer in active military soldiers and military Veterans every year is roughly $564 million dollars. So my colleagues agreed that a modest increase in research dollars was a sound, necessary, and reasonable investment of public money. 

The bipartisan support we are generating for lung cancer research is due, in part, to the work of our new Congressional Lung Cancer Caucus. I’m honored to co-chair this growing group along with Republican Congressman Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey.

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.


Time for the President and GOP Leaders to Get Serious About Immigration Reform

Nolan is an Original Cosponsor of the Family Unity Rights and Protection Act to Immediately Bring Separated Immigrant Families Back Together

Joining other immigration reform leaders in the House last week, I became an original cosponsor of the Family Unity Rights and Protection Act, which requires the federal government to immediately reunify the immigrant children and parents so cruelly torn apart by the President’s family separation policy at our southern border.  Standing with me at the announcement are, from left to right, Representative Frederica Wilson, Representative Norma Torres (at the podium), Representative Karen Bass, Representative Ann Kuster, and Representative Pramila Jayapal. 

It’s time for the President to use the legal and moral authority of his office to appoint a Special Administrator - a “get things done” leader who will marshal the full force of the federal government to immediately reunite more than 2,000 immigrant children the Administration has so shamefully and cruelly separated from their parents at our southern border. No more wasted time and no more excuses. The longer the wait, the more time-consuming and difficult the reunification process will become. 

It’s also time for Republican leaders to get serious about immigration reform – and stop trying to fix the immigration mess with bad legislation concocted from behind closed doors in a back room somewhere, with every Democrat and a good share of their own caucus left out of consideration. House Democrats and many Republicans are ready and willing to work across the aisle on real bipartisan immigration reform that puts a permanent end to the terrible practice of parent-child separation on our border, solves the DACA crisis, and provides a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers.

The simple fact is, the Republican immigration bill went up in smoke and down to defeat last week because GOP leaders couldn’t convince 113 members of their own party, a single Democrat, or the American people that the measure had any merit. 

In addition to failing to permanently prohibit family separation at our borders, the Republican bill would have gutted our country’s asylum laws, created a confusing, convoluted path to citizenship, and terminated the critical Diversity Visa program. Additionally the bill would have wasted $23.4 billion of taxpayer dollars on the President’s ridiculous and unnecessary wall, which he promised Mexico, not U.S. taxpayers, would pay for. 

Supreme Court Rulings Undermine Unions, Working Families, Women's Health, and Democracy - and Things Could Get Worse

Pro-worker, pro-union demonstrators stood outside the U.S. Supreme Court last week awaiting a ruling in the case of Janus v. AFSCME. In a hard and shameful blow to working families, the court ruled that non-unionized public employees can enjoy all the benefits of a union contract without paying a “fair share” of the costs of negotiating the contract. The courts decision amounts to union busting, pure and simple. 

Make no mistake – the right wing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court have become agents of the President and Republican leaders in attempts to roll back a century of progress for workers, women, and our democracy. And with Justice Anthony Kennedy’s decision to retire at the end of this month, the situation will get worse if the President is allowed to succeed in appointing a new Justice far less moderate and more partisan than Kennedy. In just the past few days, the court decided to:

  • Undermine labor unions and working families by ruling that non-union public employees are entitled to all the contract benefits union workers enjoy without contributing a “fair share” of the cost of negotiating the workplace agreement.

  • Undermine women’s health and Roe v. Wade by ruling in a California case that religious groups operating so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” aren’t required to inform women that these operations are not licensed to practice medicine, or to inform them of a full range of women’s health services available through the state. This decision could have serious and dire implications for how the court may rule in any future challenge to the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that gave women the right to choose. 

  • Undermine democracy by refusing to decide two partisan gerrymandering cases, and by upholding partisan gerrymandering in a Texas case that will likely make it easier for states to discourage minorities from voting in federal elections. 

With a Presidential election looming in 2016, Senate Republican leaders refused to even allow a vote on Judge Merrick Garland, former President Obama’s choice to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Anthony Scalia. They argued that the American people should have a say in that decision through their votes in November. The same principle should apply in 2018. The current President should wait to nominate a replacement for Justice Anthony Kennedy until the American people weigh in with several key elections that will determine which party controls the Senate come 2019.

Great Lakes Plastics Pollution is Target of Successful Nolan Amendment

Taken together, the U.S. and Canada discard 22 million pounds of plastic into the Great Lakes every single year, according to a study by the Rochester (NY) Institute of Technology. The study reported that 80 percent of all the litter on the Great Lakes’ shoreline is made up of plastic. 

The American people need to better understand and support federal efforts to clean up the flood of plastic debris and other pollutants fouling the Great Lakes, and last week we made progress in that direction. Specifically, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed my amendment to the Save Our Seas Act expressing Congress’s strong support for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Debris Action Plan.  

The plan, developed in 2014, includes 53 specific steps to clean up and protect Great Lakes people, wildlife and shorelines from the terribly destructive effects of plastics, microplastics, abandoned vessels and other harmful pollutants. All steps are scheduled for completion in 2019.

Click on the screen above to hear my remarks in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee explaining the need to better understand and support federal efforts to clean up the flood of plastic debris and other pollutants fouling the Great Lakes.

Here and around the world, pollution of our precious waters by plastics and microplastics has reached crisis proportion. Just recently, it was reported that a whale washed up dead on a shore in Indonesia with 80 plastic bags in its stomach. That’s heartbreaking. 

Taken together, the U.S. and Canada discard 22 million pounds of plastic into the Great Lakes every single year, according to a study by the Rochester (NY) Institute of Technology. The study reported that 80 percent of all the litter on the Great Lakes’ shoreline is made up of plastic. 

We need to leave the Great Lakes to our children and grandchildren in better shape than we found them. This amendment underscores Congress’s bipartisan commitment to do just that. 

Nolan Presses to Expand H-2B Visa Program to Aid Minnesota's Resort and Hospitality Industry

Our wonderful Minnesota resorts need enough workers to ensure that every visitor has a great vacation. That’s what expanding the H-2B Visa program for temporary workers is all about. 

Minnesota’s $15 billion annual resort and hospitality industry needs more temporary, entry-level workers to keep up with demand, especially during the height of the tourist season. Some northern resorts are so short of help this summer that they’ve been forced to operate at half-capacity, and shut down some food and beverage services. Retail, food, agriculture and manufacturing industries across the Nation also need more help to grow and be successful. 

So I’ve joined numerous other colleagues in urging the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security to meet the need by dramatically boosting the number of special “H-2B” visas made available to allow well-vetted, mostly young workers from Europe and other nations to come to the U.S. and work for up to ten months at a time. In addition, I am urging House leadership to pursue a permanent fix to the H-2B program – lifting or substantially boosting the cap on the number of visas that can be issued. 

According to the Department of Labor, this year U.S. businesses require a total of more than 142,000 temporary foreign workers for entry-level jobs that can’t be filled by U.S. workers. So far, the two agencies have only issued a combined total of 15,000 H-2B visas – a fraction of the number needed. All across our Nation, there are temporary, entry-level jobs open that American workers don’t want, and people who want to come to the U.S. and fill them. When that happens, everybody wins. 

National Recognition for 2018 Art Competition Winner Davinia Gangl

Minnesota State Senator David Tomassoni (left), Eighth District Congressional Arts Competition winner Davinia Gangl (middle), and Yours Truly are pictured in front of Davinia's artwork, entitled “The Flower,” now displayed in the tunnel that connects the U.S. Capitol building with the House office buildings. Senator Tomassoni is Davinia’s proud grandfather. 

Congratulations again to Chisholm Ninth Grader Davania Gangl, whose beautiful work entitled simply “The Flower” was the winner of our 2018 Congressional Arts Competition. It was great getting a chance to show Davinia the spot where her artwork is being displayed in the tunnel between the U.S. Capitol and the House office buildings.Thousands of people will see the piece every day over the next several months.

In between numerous votes and meetings, I was able to spend time with Danvinia and Senator Tomassoni touring the Capitol, riding the underground train to the U.S. Capitol Building, and even taking Davinia on the House Floor while I voted! This was Davinia's first trip to Washington and first time flying on a plane.  

Here we are riding the underground train to the Capitol in the "Members Only" section. 

By way of background, the Congressional Arts Competition began in 1982 to provide an opportunity for members of Congress to encourage and recognize the talents of their young constituents. Each Congressional District’s winning artwork is displayed for one year in the halls of the U.S. Capitol, and the student artist receives a trip to Washington for themselves and a parent or guardian for the unveiling. So far, more than 650,000 high school students have been involved with the nationwide competition.  

Our Week in DC

Hibbing, Minnesota native and now Bloomberg News Reporter Nancy Ognanovich stopped into my office for a Capitol Tour. Here we are pictured in what is called the "crypt” of  the U.S. Captiol. Our office also arranged a special guided tour for Nancy to the top of the inside of the U.S. Capitol Dome.

It was great meeting with United Spinal Association representatives to discuss how we can better serve those with spinal conditions. The United Spinal Chapters in Minnesota provide services to the Spinal Cord Injury & Disability Community by promoting health and well being, promoting inclusion and independence, organizing events and projects, advocating for rights and accessibility, and offering guidance and support to their communities.

Members of Minnesota Soybean Growers Association were in Washington for the National Biodiesel Board Meeting. They took time to stop by my office to discuss renewable fuel standards, trade policies and tax policies. The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) monitors government policies, supports research activities and market development to improve the profitability of soybean producersthroughout the state.  

“Hats off” to Mike Rudd of Duluth (on my left in this picture) and his family, who traveled to Washington along with several members of the Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare Organization to advocate for Medicaid and other important health and research-related programs. Mike is a simply remarkable young man who has overcome many challenges in his young life to become an effective lobbyist and spokesperson. He even came along while I cast a vote on the House floor! As Mike explained to me, Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare provides specialized health care for people who have short-term or long-term disabilities that began during childhood. 

Representatives of the Minnesota Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee stopped by my office while they were visiting Washington as a part of their advocacy week. We discussed several important topics including the Delinquency Act and funding for juvenile justice initiatives. The Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee provides leadership and support in setting a vision for juvenile justice in Minnesota that is informed by evidence-based practices, multi-disciplinary experience and the diverse communities of Minnesota. 

Organizational leaders representing the Riverwood Healthcare Center came by to discuss Riverwood’s growth, innovation and current needs. Riverwood Healthcare Center is an integrated clinic and hospital facility with three primary care clinics in Aitkin, Garrison and McGregor. Their 25-bed hospital, with all single occupancy patient rooms, features 24-hour emergency care with intensive/coronary care, inpatient and outpatient surgery, and an outstanding birthing center. 

The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national association representing nearly 22,000 merit shop construction and construction-related firms in 71 chapters across the United States. Several members of the organization stopped by my office to discuss construction, workforce, and infrastructure issues.  

Our Week in Duluth

Members of Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency, local food shelves, the Salvation Army, and the University of Wisconsin Superior Social Work program gathered on a panel to discuss the high importance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) - a program I have always strongly supported. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Hannah Alstead attended on my behalf.

Our Week in Breezy Point

Cuyuna Regional Medical Center broke ground for a new clinic on County Road 11. In this picture, representatives from Cuyuna Regional Medical Center; Whitebirch, Inc; Hy-Tec Construction; the City of Breezy Point; and others break ground for the new facility. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Tiffany Stenglein attended the event and snapped the photo above.

Our Week in Bemidji  

Minnesota Monthly and Visit Bemidji co-hosted a celebration to commemorate Bemidji being named Minnesota Monthly magazine’s Best Minnesota Town 2017. In this picture, Mayor Rita Albrecht welcomes the crowd to the Paul Bunyan Park. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Tiffany Stenglein attended the event on my behalf.

Our Week in International Falls 

Northland Counseling Center representatives Danielle Krasaway, Allison O’Hara, Bill Johnson and Amie Black met with my staff to discuss how Medicare regulations are severely limiting access to mental health treatment in Koochiching County. Currently, it is not uncommon for clients to wait a month for an initial visit and then wait several weeks for subsequent therapy sessions because of a lack of mental health providers recognized by Medicare. By including licensed marriage and family therapists along with mental health counselors as qualified providers under Medicare, they can provide professional mental health services while increasing mental health access, particularly in rural areas. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Tom Whiteside attended the meeting. 

Our Week in Aurora

Implemented in the 1980's to serve laid off miners, the Aurora Food Shelf still serves Aurora and the surrounding communities every week. In fact, in just one year, the Aurora Food Shelf serves approximately 2,035 households, which is about 4,700 individuals within a 10 mile radius. The food shelf is run by only volunteers. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Tom Whiteside stopped by the food shelf to thank volunteers and hear their ideas about how public and private concerns can team up to better serve northern Minnesota residents' nutritional needs. 

The East Range Joint Powers Board (ERJPB) met in Aurora at the City Hall. The board oversees economic and community development on behalf of the cities of Aurora, Biwabik, Hoyt Lakes and the Town of White. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Tom Whiteside attended the meeting and captured this photo. 

Coming Up in Washington

This week:

  • The only fireworks this recess week in Washington will be on the Fourth of July - so watch for me as I visit with folks in communities throughout our region. And please take a minute to step up, say hello, and tell me what’s on your mind. I get some of my best ideas from the folks I’m so proud to represent here in Minnesota’s Eighth District 


Minnesota's Iconic "Grace" Photograph Celebrates its 100th Anniversary!

The "Grace" photograph pictured above was said to be taken in 1918. The picture caused little stir at the 1918 photography convention.  A few years later, however, photographer Eric Enstrom took it to the convention again.This time it was hung in exhibit and received warm critical acclaim. Most sales of the photo in the early 1920's were to travelers who came through Bovey and saw the picture in the window of his photo studio.  As soon as one print was sold, he'd make another to take its place.

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the iconic “Grace” photograph of Charles Wilden taken by Eric Enstrom at his photography studio in Bovey, Minnesota. After developing the photograph, Enstrom knew he had something special, a picture that seemed to say, “This man doesn’t have much earthly goods, but he has more than most people because he has a thankful heart,” Enstrom noted.

Copies of the early picture were printed in black and white or in a brown tint. Later his daughter, Rhoda Nyberg, began hand-painting them in oils and interest in the picture soared and eventually captured the imagination and attention of the world. In 2002, the Minnesota state legislature established it as the state photograph.