Rick Nolan ContactBack to top
Address: 2447 RHOB, DC 20515
Phone: (218) 464-5095
Address: 11 East Superior Street, Duluth MN 55802
Phone: (218) 454-4078
Fax: (218) 454-4096
Address: 501 Laurel Street, Brainerd MN 56401
Phone: (218) 491-3131
Address: 313 North Main Street, Center City MN 55012
Phone: (218) 491-3114
Address: 316 West Lake Street, Chisholm MN 55719
Rick Nolan StaffBack to top
Rick Nolan CommitteesBack to top
Rick Nolan BiographyBack to top
- Elected: 2012, 4th term.
- District: Minnesota 8
- Born: Dec. 17, 1943, Brainerd
- Home: Crosby
U. of MN, B.A., 1966
- Professional Career:
Staff asst., Sen. Walter Mondale, D-Minn., 1966-68; Education dir., Head Start, 1968; teacher, 1968-69; pres., U.S. Export Corp., 1981-86; pres., MN World Trade Ctr. Corp., 1987-94; pres., Emily Forest Products, 1994-2011
- Political Career:
U.S. House, 1974-1980; MN House, 1969-1973
- Ethnicity: White/Caucasian
- Family: Married (Mary Nolan); 4 children
Former Rep. Rick Nolan returned to the House after a three-decade absence, having beaten tea party-backed freshman Republican Chip Cravaack in 2012. When he quit in 1981, Nolan told The Washington Post, “Congress is relatively impotent to make the changes the country needs.” But now, a full generation later, he says he’s confident he can get things done in a district that overlaps in some southern areas with his old one.
Nolan grew up as the middle of three children in the old railroad town of Brainerd, Minn. As a teenager, his aunt, Eleanor Nolan, was appointed Minnesota’s first female district judge. He calls her his biggest political influence growing up. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota, and did graduate work in public policy at the University of Maryland and later in education at St. Cloud State University. He campaigned for antiwar candidate Eugene McCarthy in the 1968 presidential race before serving two terms in the Minnesota House.
In 1974, Nolan made the leap to the House, where he compiled a liberal voting record. He made his mark in 1979 when he traveled to Cuba to secure the release of American prisoners. Nolan and Cuban leader Fidel Castro bonded over fishing, and Castro—after agreeing to the prisoners’ release—extended an invitation for him to return for some deep-sea angling. Nolan also battled what he saw as the federal government’s favoritism of large farms and pushed legislation for education programs, equipment loans, and tax-code changes to benefit small farmers.
Frustrated with his party’s leadership, Nolan broke ranks and joined five House colleagues to lobby Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., to challenge incumbent Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination for president in 1980. He then left Congress, calling himself a “liberal idealist unhappily turned wiser and more realistic,” and returned to Minnesota.
When the Minnesota World Trade Center Corp., or WTC, launched in 1983, Nolan was appointed as an unpaid chairman by then-Democratic Gov. Rudy Perpich, and in 1987, he went on the payroll as the organization’s president. Nolan claims to have created 326,000 Minnesota jobs through his work at the organization, a public-private initiative to help Minnesota businesses expand into international markets. But 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. In 1994, Nolan became president of Emily Forest Products, a sawmill and pallet manufacturer. He is an avid hunter, fisher, and farmer; he harvests wild rice and makes his own maple syrup.
The lack of local jobs, he says, inspired him to return to Washington at age 69 to push for small-business tax breaks and infrastructure investment. In 2012, national Democrats targeted Cravaack, who scored one of the upsets of the decade in 2010 by beating 18-term Rep. Jim Oberstar, then chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Nolan beat two other candidates in the August Democratic primary with 38% of the vote, setting up a confrontation with Cravaack in the fall.
Cravaack dismissed Nolan as “a big-government, more-taxes, more-spending, more-regulation kind of guy.” But Nolan played up his support for small business and blasted Cravaack for backing House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s controversial plans to introduce vouchers into Medicare. Nolan won, 54% to 46%.Show Less