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House Passes Phillips Bill to Rename Wayzata Post Office in Honor of Former Rep. Jim Ramstad

Phillips: "May his name grace the Post Office in the town he loved, and the town that loved him back, for generations to come"

Today, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill authored by Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-03) to rename the Wayzata Post Office in honor of former Minnesota Rep. Jim Ramstad. The legislation was cosponsored by the entire Minnesota Delegation and now moves to the Senate, where Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN) leads the companion proposal.

Phillips, who represents the same district Ramstad once did, offered a tribute to the late statesman before the vote:

Remarks as prepared:

Madam speaker, I rise today in support of my bill, H.R. 772, to designate the Post Office in—and I’ll say it slowly—Wayzata, Minnesota, on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, as the Jim Ramstad Post Office.

Congressman Ramstad spent 10 years representing the 45th district in the Minnesota legislature and 18 years representing Minnesota’s Third District in this chamber. And as the current representative from Minnesota’s Third, I am humbled to have followed in the footsteps of such a gentleman, a public servant, and statesman. Throughout his life in public service and throughout his entire life, Jim led with principle, with compassion, and with grace. And his battle with, and recovery from, alcoholism gave voice to millions of Americans facing the very same challenge—and illuminated every aspect of his life and his service.

From the Statehouse to this House, Jim embodied the spirit of honesty, resilience, transparency, and accountability. He was a noted consensus-seeker, and a champion of bipartisan policies to reduce discrimination against those suffering from mental health challenges and addiction. And his signature legislation—the Paul Wellstone Mental Health Treatment Act—was enacted in 2008, just before his retirement from Congress.

Congressman Ramstad would go on to continue his service as a fellow at Harvard University and an advisor to Minnesota’s Hazelden Treatment Center, and he lived the final 39 years of his life in sobriety. He passed away on November 5th of last year, 2020, after a battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Now, naming a Post Office in Wayzata is a small gesture to commemorate the passing of a giant of Minnesota politics, but as former Minnesota state senator and Jim’s former district director Paul Anderson told me: “Jim loved Wayzata, and Wayzata always loved Jim back.”

So I send my love to Jim’s wife Kathryn, and to all his family, friends, and colleagues who continue to mourn his loss. May his memory be for a blessing, may his spirit and legacy of bipartisanship—and I note that Jim was a Republican and I am a Democrat—may that spirit of bipartisanship inspire this Congress, and may his name grace the Post Office in the town he loved, and the town that loved him back, for generations to come.

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I yield back.