The U.S. Post Office in Wayzata has been renamed in honor of late U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad, who represented the Lake Minnetonka city for decades.
President Joe Biden last week signed a bill into law to designate the Post Office at 229 Minnetonka Ave. S in Wayzata as the Jim Ramstad Post Office.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, and U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, a Democrat who represents Minnesota's Third Congressional District that includes Wayzata (the seat Ramstad held), sponsored the legislation. The U.S. House passed the bill in February and the U.S. Senate approved the bill on July 27, sending it to Biden.
Ramstad, who served in Congress from 1991-2009, died last November at age 74 after battling Parkinson's disease, prompting lawmakers to introduce legislation to honor him.
“Minnesota has lost a friend and hero — former Rep. Jim Ramstad. He was a faithful public servant whose personal struggle with addiction guided his life’s work to help those struggling with substance abuse and mental health,” Klobuchar said in a statement about the proposed legislation last December. “He was a true mentor to me on how to work with both Democrats and Republicans to get things done. Renaming the Wayzata post office in Jim’s name will allow Minnesotans to remember Jim for generations to come.”
He was a well-respected Republican who worked across the aisle. Ramstad is most well-known for his work on addiction recovery and mental health issues, being open about his own alcoholism and recovery. He was the chief sponsor of a bill – named in honor of late Sen. Paul Wellstone, a Democrat – that made it easier for more people to get treatment for mental illness and/or chemical addiction.
Ramstad's politics do not align much with today's Republican party. He supported legal abortion, sponsored climate change legislation, backed measures to increase fuel efficiency standards in cars, and was even considered for a post in President Barack Obama's administration.
Before he represented western Hennepin County and a portion of Carver County in Congress, where he routinely garnered two-thirds or more of the vote, Ramstad served in the Minnesota Senate from 1981-1991. Prior to that, he was an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, according to the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.
Rep. Phillips in his remarks in the House about the bill, said "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.'"