Nov. 7, 2012 – 2:36 a.m.

113th Congress: Rick Nolan, D-Minn. (8th District)

Rick Nolan returns to the House three decades after he last served in the chamber. He’ll offer Democratic leaders a reliable vote and will sit squarely in the center-left core of the caucus on most issues.

Nolan’s policy platform is a solid mix of populist and progressive ideology. He’s been sharply critical of large corporations and wants to do more to help middle-class Americans, who he says have been left out in the cold.

“They don’t need more tax cuts,” Nolan said of “non-taxpaying multinational corporations.” Instead, he wants to use government to create jobs with infrastructure projects and spend on infrastructure and mass transit.

He’d also like to undo the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for the highest-earning Americans and eliminate what he calls tax preferences and trade incentives for companies to ship jobs overseas.

Raising revenue with those tax changes would help pay for his job creation plans, Nolan says.

“Right now, the rich are getting richer . . . and the middle class is being eliminated,” he says.

Nolan is a staunch defender of Social Security and Medicare, and he has vowed to oppose any plan that undermines the “inter-generational compacts” that underlie the two entitlement programs.

Nolan’s victory also means the 8th District will once again be in the hands of Democrats, who have regained a seat held by James L. Oberstar until he was swept away by the tea party groundswell in 2010.