Nolan Comment has Cravaack Calling Foul, Duluth Mayor in Middle

By KBJR News 1

November 1, 2012 Updated Nov 1, 2012 at 6:31 PM CST

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - During Wednesday's debate on the Iron Range, Nolan told the audience he had spoken with Mayor Ness earlier in the year, and that the attempts his office had made to reach Cravaack about the Joshua Avenue reconstruction project had gone unanswered.

"He has asked numerous times to have a meeting with you to talk about projects that are important to the city of Duluth, and he hasn't been able to get a response," said Nolan.

After the comment, Nolan claimed that it was a similar story with others in their attempts to reach the Congressman in the Eighth District.

But Cravaack said that wasn't true.

He rebutted the comment by saying he had replied to the Mayor and spoken with him on more than one occasion, and that his office had reminded Ness of the correspondences.

"We replied to the Mayor and reminded him of some correspondences that we did send him that he must've forgotten about, and some telephone calls that we documented as well. So, we are very responsive," said Cravaack, during the debate.

But Mayor Ness didn't agree.

"I would've remembered if he would've sent a response, and it was especially memorable because you expect that the Mayor of the largest city in your district would get a response. They were respectful letters saying we'd like to have a discussion about this," said Ness.

Cravaack's office also responded to Nolan's statement, saying they had documented communication attempts and actual instances of communication between the two, starting in mid–February of 2011 with a letter from Ness requesting an earmark to fund the Joshua Street project in the upcoming transportation re-authorization bill.

Cravaack's office said that was unsuccessful, as earmarking on the bill was not allowed.

On March 28th, of 2011, Cravaack's office said they had scheduled a phone call to discuss the project, and that the call took place the following day.

Cravaack's office also said that both Cravaack and Ness had met in person since then to discuss funding for bike trails, and that Ness allegedly never raised the Joshua Avenue project issue, nor did he in a three page letter written in June of 2012 about priorities for the highway bill.