By Connor Cummiskey, New Ulm Journal - NEW ULM - German Park pavilion was filled with applause Thursday as Republicans celebrated their candidate for the first Congressional District - Jim Hagedorn, who came to town to celebrate his 54th birthday with fellow Republicans.
State Senator Gary Dahms, State Representative Paul Torkelson, former Representative Howard Swenson, Chair of the Brown County Republican Party Greg Bartz, and First District Chair Carol Stevenson all came to bat for Hagedorn during the fundraiser.
Hagedorn told the crowd that this is a crucial election. He said he was running on national defense themes, but also spoke on domestic and social issues.
Hagedorn drew distinctions between himself and his opponent Tim Walz, early on by stating his support of pausing the entry of refugees into the United States and keeping Guantanamo Bay open.
Hagedorn received one of the loudest reactions of the night when he said, "I want to say, unlike congressman Walz who wants to give those Islamic terrorists Miranda rights, Jim Hagedorn wants to give them their last rites and protect our country."
The candidate continued to espouse his positions which include, but are not limited to:
Support of the REINS act which would give congress the power to affirm all major regulations proposed by the executive branch; energy independence by increasing oil drilling here in the United States; opposition to the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare and his support of second amendment rights and religious freedom.
After his speech Hagedorn answered a question about where he stood on veterans' affairs. His response was largely two pronged. First, he said that every veteran should be empowered to choose his or her own doctor, hospital and clinic either through the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) or through private options. Secondly he stated his support for the VA Accountability Act which would authorize the VA to demote or remove employees based on performance or misconduct.