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Reaction to Ramstad’s decision not to seek re-election in ’08

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By The Associated Press

Some excerpts of reactions to Rep. Jim Ramstad’s announcement Monday that he will not seek re-election to a seat he’s held 17 years:

"Jim is quite possibly one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. I often joke that this country needs more Republicans like him. He is passionate about the things that matter most, first and foremost family, and he is driven by a desire to help his fellow man at every turn. He has been there for me personally, as a friend and a sponsor in recovery, and professionally as an ally on key legislation that we have worked on together." — Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I.

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"Jim’s tireless and passionate work on behalf of individuals suffering from addiction has positively affected the lives of families across the country. Above and beyond his outstanding record in the Minnesota Legislature and the U.S. Congress, his personal story of faith and hope has given thousands of people a shot at a new life through recovery from addiction. He’s walked the talk and led many to freedom." — GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

"Congressman Jim Ramstad has tirelessly served the constituents of his district with great passion throughout his nine terms in office. He has proven to be an effective Congressman who has always shown great commitment to the issues he cared about most, including an unwavering dedication to mental health parity and expanding access to chemical dependency treatment. Jim’s service will have lasting benefits on the people of Minnesota. He truly represents the best public service has to offer." Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn.

"Jim Ramstad is a person of great integrity, who always does what he thinks is right for his constituents rather than simply following the party line. He fostered a spirit of bipartisanship in Minnesota and in Washington. Jim is an exemplary public servant, and he will be missed in the halls of Congress." — Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

"There weren’t enough Jim Ramstads in Congress even before today’s announcement. Jim’s political courage and principled leadership, especially on mental health parity, have served as an example for those of us who believe we should lead on our values, not our party affiliation." — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken.

"Throughout his tenure, Jim never lost sight of the reason he came to Congress — to serve this great institution and his constituents with dedication and distinction. His legacy will certainly include his advocacy for mental health issues, as well as substance and drug abuse programs." Rep. John Kline, R-Minn.

"In an era of increasingly divisive politics, Congressman Ramstad has consistently worked across the aisle to get things done for Minnesota. As DFLers, we appreciated his personal friendship with the late Senator Paul Wellstone and Sheila Wellstone. In addition, all Minnesotans can be grateful for Representative Ramstad’s relentless advocacy with regard to alcoholism and addiction issues and his tireless work for mental-health parity." — DFL Party Chair Brian Melendez.

"Representative Jim Ramstad has been an extraordinary public servant and a true giant on behalf of all Minnesotans. Beyond his many accomplishments as a public official, Jim is an exemplary human being and a treasured friend." — Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Ron Carey.

"Jim has fought for lower taxes and pro-growth economic policies, while remaining a steadfast, independent voice for the people of his district." — National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole, R-Okla.

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"With Congressman Ramstad’s unexpected retirement, this open seat automatically becomes competitive. Any Republican running in this swing district will be forced to answer for a Republican Party that’s more concerned with rubber stamping George Bush’s failed agenda and war in Iraq than getting things done for the American people." — Statement by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

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