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Cross-posted from Minnesota Progressive Project

Mention Eveleth Minnesota to anyone in Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) politics and the name Joe Begich immediately jumps to the forefront. Likewise, the name Begich evokes images of organized labor, the United Steelworkers in particular, and unfailing advocacy for the people of the Iron Range. Indeed,  the former long-time  legislator  has played such a key role in the economic development of the region that the building that houses the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board now bears his name.

Not surprisingly, Begich's endorsement is perhaps the most coveted by DFLers seeking support on the East Range and the candidates vying for the DFL nomination for congress have been no exception. Monday morning, Begich announced his choice:

With unemployment across the Range and throughout the Eighth District in double digits, with hardworking middle class families losing jobs and homes and hope, Iron Rangers need a leader and a champion again in Washington, and Rick Nolan’s the one.

The retired steelworker threw his support to Nolan primarily because of the former 6th district congressman's  

steadfast support for unions and everything we stand for – fair wages and benefits, worker safety, a dignified retirement, fair trade, the inalienable right to organize and health care for all.

Begich said there is no doubt in his mind that Nolan will be a strong advocate for the Iron Range and all working people of northeastern Minnesota

Rick Nolan is a fighter for working families who has proven record of getting things done in Washington. Rick Nolan was born here and grew up here.  He lives here.  He’s raised his family here.  He hunts and fishes here.  Rick understands our hopes and dreams and aspirations on the Range because he holds those same feelings for his family. There is no one more qualified and ready to fight for jobs on the Range, take on special interests, and help bring people together across this country, than Rick Nolan

Nolan, who has long admired Begich,  said he was "honored and humbled" to have Joe's support.

Joe Begich and his family helped inspire me to enter politics and public service.  They set an example for me in terms of what it takes to fight for people and confront the special interests that continue to damage America.

This is the first endorsement by a Ranger in the 8th district congressional race and it is a major one at that. The Eveleth native and former mayor has been a  key player in DFL and labor politics on the Iron Range for decades, maintaining close relationships with both Congressman Jim Oberstar and Governor Rudy Perpich. And Begich has been a delegate to the DFL state convention since the 1950's, longer than anyone else in the party. He is one of the most trusted and respected leaders on the Iron Range and his strong endorsement of Rick Nolan will carry a great deal of weight in the region.

Nolan previously earned the support of  House Assistant Minority Leader John Persell of Bemidji,  Bemidji native and State Representative Ryan Winkler, former State Senator Becky Lourey of Kerrick, and former Rep. Tim Faust of Hinckley.  

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