Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2000, 7th term.

Born: July 12, 1954, Minneapolis

Home: St. Paul

Education: Inver Hills Comm. Col., A.A. 1980, Col. of St. Catherine, B.A. 1987

Professional Career: Teacher; Retail sales & management.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Catholic

Family: divorced , 2 children

Democrat Betty McCollum, first elected in 2000, is an ally of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, whom she calls a mentor. McCollum on occasion has the same effect on Republicans as the polarizing Pelosi, most prominently with her push to end the military’s sponsorship of NASCAR as a cost-cutting move.

McCollum grew up in North St. Paul and graduated from the College of St. Catherine. She was a substitute social studies teacher while working as a retail sales manager at a Sears department store. She was also raising two children. After her daughter suffered a fractured skull on a slide in a city park, McCollum worked with the city of North St. Paul to make repairs. She ran for the North St. Paul City Council and lost. In 1986, she ran again and was elected. McCollum served until 1992, when she was elected to the state House of Representatives after defeating incumbents in both the primary and general elections.

In February 2000, Democratic Rep. Bruce Vento announced that he had malignant mesothelioma and would not seek reelection. He died eight months later. McCollum was endorsed by the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party in the September primary. She faced three opponents, but with the DFL’s endorsement, McCollum won easily, with 50% to 23% for state Sen. Steve Novak.

Republicans nominated state Sen. Linda Runbeck, a vigorously anti-abortion candidate. McCollum backed prescription drug coverage under Medicare and opposed tax cuts before Congress paid down the national debt. Runbeck, who opposed gun control and took conservative positions on health care and education, attacked McCollum and her Democratic allies for running “hateful, vicious attack ads.” This was a three-way race, thanks to the candidacy of former Ramsey County prosecutor Tom Foley, a longtime DFLer who ran on the ticket of Gov. Jesse Ventura’s Independence Party. Once again, McCollum won unexpectedly easily, 48%-31%, with 21% for Foley.

In the House, McCollum has a consistently liberal voting record. With Pelosi’s help, she has secured some plums, including a role as a senior whip and in 2006, the Appropriations Committee seat that had been held by former Rep. Martin Sabo, a Minnesota Democrat. She is also one of three House members appointed to serve on the National Council on the Arts.

Her decision to offer an unsuccessful amendment to a budget bill in February 2011 to end military sponsorships in sports—including NASCAR, a passion in the GOP-dominated South—raised her profile considerably. She later told The New York Times, “The Defense Department said it didn’t have anything that could be cut. Seven million dollars to sponsor a car and we’re cutting cops, we’re cutting teachers, we’re cutting programs for homeless vets?” The move triggered hate mail and angry blog posts, but the Army joined the Navy and Marine Corps in 2013 in abandoning the sponsorships. McCollum later drew more attention when she tangled with her home-state GOP colleague Michele Bachmann, the doyenne of the tea party movement, over Bachmann’s House-passed bill in March 2012 to build a $700 million bridge between Minnesota and Wisconsin. McCollum had backed a cheaper alternative.

McCollum has led efforts to change lawmakers’ thinking about the World Bank, and she founded a caucus advocating more dialogue with the global financier. She has noted that Congress and the bank are involved in many of the same overseas efforts, including fighting poverty and AIDS. She urged President Barack Obama in 2012 to nominate to head the World Bank an American with an understanding of helping women in Third World countries; she later said Obama “hit a home run” by nominating Jim Young Kim, a Korean-American physician with a background in health care overseas.

An important local project for McCollum has been the Central Corridor, an 11-mile, light-rail link between downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis. She had secured an initial $2 million for the project and was incensed when conservative Republicans targeted proposed additional funding as pork barrel spending. She and Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty clashed over her insistence that he sign a statement supporting congressional funding for the project. When Pawlenty vetoed a companion state funding plan in 2008, the project seemed dead; McCollum helped to keep it alive by securing $20 million in the omnibus fiscal 2009 spending bill to cover the final design work. An agreement was reached in 2011 for the project to move forward, and it is scheduled to begin service in 2014.

McCollum has been reelected easily.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-6631

(202) 225-1968

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2256
Washington, DC 20515-2304

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-6631

(202) 225-1968

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2256
Washington, DC 20515-2304

DISTRICT OFFICE

(651) 224-9191

(651) 224-3056

165 Western Avenue North Suite 17
St. Paul, MN 55102-4613

DISTRICT OFFICE

(651) 224-9191

(651) 224-3056

165 Western Avenue North Suite 17
St. Paul, MN 55102-4613

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(651) 603-1505

PO Box 14131
St. Paul, MN 55114

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

PO Box 14131
St. Paul, MN 55114

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Jenn Holcomb
Legislative Director

Aerospace

Michelle Myers
Legislative Fellow

Appropriations

Jenn Holcomb
Legislative Director

Arts

Rebecca Taylor
Senior Legislative Assistant

Budget

Jenn Holcomb
Legislative Director

Campaign

Bill Harper
Chief of Staff

Thomas Anderson
Legislative Correspondent

Disability

Jenn Holcomb
Legislative Director

Education

Rebecca Taylor
Senior Legislative Assistant

Environment

Rebecca Taylor
Senior Legislative Assistant

Family

Jenn Holcomb
Legislative Director

Foreign

Jenn Holcomb
Legislative Director

Michelle Myers
Legislative Fellow

Govt Ops

Bill Harper
Chief of Staff

Jenn Holcomb
Legislative Director

Gun Issues

Ben Peterson
Legislative Assistant

Health

Jenn Holcomb
Legislative Director

Homeland Security

Ben Peterson
Legislative Assistant

Housing

Jenn Holcomb
Legislative Director

Thomas Anderson
Legislative Correspondent

Human Rights

Jenn Holcomb
Legislative Director

Rebecca Taylor
Senior Legislative Assistant

Immigration

Ben Peterson
Legislative Assistant

Intelligence

Michelle Myers
Legislative Fellow

Judiciary

Ben Peterson
Legislative Assistant

Labor

Bill Harper
Chief of Staff

Medicare

Jenn Holcomb
Legislative Director

Military

Michelle Myers
Legislative Fellow

Ben Peterson
Legislative Assistant

National Security

Michelle Myers
Legislative Fellow

Native Americans

Rebecca Taylor
Senior Legislative Assistant

Rules

Thomas Anderson
Legislative Correspondent

Science

Michelle Myers
Legislative Fellow

Seniors

Jenn Holcomb
Legislative Director

Small Business

Thomas Anderson
Legislative Correspondent

Social Security

Jenn Holcomb
Legislative Director

Tax

Jenn Holcomb
Legislative Director

Technology

Michelle Myers
Legislative Fellow

Telecommunications

Michelle Myers
Legislative Fellow

Ben Peterson
Legislative Assistant

Trade

Bill Harper
Chief of Staff

Transportation

Bill Harper
Chief of Staff

Jenn Holcomb
Legislative Director

Thomas Anderson
Legislative Correspondent

Veterans

Jenn Holcomb
Legislative Director

Michelle Myers
Legislative Fellow

Welfare

Jenn Holcomb
Legislative Director

Women

Jenn Holcomb
Legislative Director

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Betty McCollum
Votes: 216,685
Percent: 62.36%
Tony Hernandez
Votes: 109,659
Percent: 31.56%
Steve Carlson
Votes: 21,135
Percent: 6.08%
2012 PRIMARY
Betty McCollum
Votes: 27,291
Percent: 84.19%
Diana Longrie
Votes: 3,212
Percent: 9.91%
Brian Stalboerger
Votes: 1,913
Percent: 5.9%
2010 GENERAL
Betty McCollum
Votes: 136,746
Percent: 59.09%
Teresa Collett
Votes: 80,141
Percent: 34.63%
Steve Carlson
Votes: 14,207
Percent: 6.14%
2010 PRIMARY
Betty McCollum
Votes: 55,491
Percent: 86.55%
Diana Longrie
Votes: 8,622
Percent: 13.45%
2008 GENERAL
Betty McCollum
Votes: 216,267
Percent: 68.44%
Ed Matthews
Votes: 98,936
Percent: 31.31%
2008 PRIMARY
Betty McCollum
Unopposed
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (59%), 2008 (68%), 2006 (70%), 2004 (57%), 2002 (62%), 2000 (48%)

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