DULUTH — U.S. Representative Pete Stauber cast mixed votes on a package of law enforcement and public safety bills last week.
The Hermantown Republican, a former Duluth police officer, voted for more funding for small police departments and for funding to support departments solving homicides and non-fatal shootings. He voted against bills that would train mental health professionals to respond to certain incidents instead of officers and against funding anti-violence programs in areas experiencing gun violence among young people.
He had previously voted against the resolution for consideration by the House of the four bills.
In a fiery three-minute speech to the House on Sept. 22, Stauber said the bills were only introduced because the midterm elections are coming up and Democrats “want the American people to suddenly believe and miraculously that he cares about the crime crisis plaguing our nation.” .”
“Regardless of how I vote today, I have to tell you that I am furious that just days before an election, and for political purposes only, these bills are being introduced by my colleagues,” Stauber said. “The American people have suffered enough, and at the end of the day, the American people and our law enforcement community resent being used as pawns for political purposes.”
Stauber voted in favor of the Invest to Protect Act, which passed with strong bipartisan support, 360-64. The bill would require the Justice Department to provide grants to local and tribal governments with fewer than 200 law enforcement officers to purchase body cameras, provide de-escalation training and bolster recruitment and retention agents.
He was also one of 30 Republicans to join 220 Democrats in voting in favor of the Violent Incident Resolution and Technological Investigation Methods Act, which “directs the Department of Justice to establish a grants for law enforcement agencies or state, tribal, or local prosecution offices”. (or groups of agencies or tribal offices) to establish, implement, and administer violent incident resolution and technological investigation methods,” according to the summary of the bill.
Both bills had the support of the Fraternal National Order of Police.
Stauber opposed the Mental Health Justice Act, which would provide grants to states, tribes and local governments “to train and send mental health professionals to respond, instead of law enforcement.” ‘order, to emergencies involving people with behavioral health needs,’ the summary of the bill said.
And Stauber voted against the Breaking the Cycle of Violence Act, which would direct the Department of Health and Human Services to establish an office, committee and center to implement violence intervention programs and track the data while asking the Department of Labor “to award grants for job training and workforce programs in communities disproportionately affected by gun violence to connect young people ages 16-24 to in-demand professions,” the summary of the bill reads.
All four bills passed the House.
His Democratic challenger, State Rep. Jen Schultz of Duluth, criticized Stauber’s “no” votes and his speech, stressing his opposition to investigations into the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising that injured many Capitol police officers.
Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who was attacked by rioters, died a day later of two strokes and died of natural causes, but a medical examiner said Jan. 6 played a role in his condition. Several other officers also died by suicide.
“Stauber’s actions do not support our law enforcement and first responders,” Schultz tweeted.