Albert Lea Tribune - A local candidate for U.S. Congress said if elected, he will support the farming economy by reining in federal regulations and achieving energy independence.
First District candidate Jim Hagedorn, R-Blue Earth, said his election would benefit the local farming economy by implementing regulatory reform and replacing the Affordable Care Act with free-market reforms.
Hagedorn, who was endorsed last weekend by his party, is running against Congressman Tim Walz, DFL-Mankato.
Hagedorn cited Environmental Protection Agency regulations on coal, fracking and drilling as contributing to an increase in electrical and fuel costs.
He said he supports legislation that would require Congress to approve rules that would have an annual economic impact of $100 million or more proposed by the executive branch.
He framed his campaign as being on the side of farmers, small businesses and consumers in southern Minnesota and claimed Walz has taken the side of President Barack Obama and what he called Washington, D.C., bureaucrats.
Hagedorn said he has heard the harmful effects of high deductibles from the Affordable Care Act from farmers, business leaders and consumers across the 1st District.
“It’s bankrupting us,” he said.
Hagedorn said he supports using all possible energy sources to achieve energy independence, noting he supports projects such as the Keystone Pipeline and Alaskan drilling.
He supports energy independence, not what he called “global warming extremism.
He said his positions stand in sharp contrast with Walz, who he claimed was a “global warming alarmist.”
Hagedorn also supports eliminating the estate tax — which he deemed as having a negative effect on small family farms — and imposing no new fuel taxes.
Hagedorn was confident he could beat Walz, noting he was outspent 6 to 1 when he lost to Walz by a 54-46 percent vote in the 2014 election.
Hagedorn will be the first back-to-back general election candidate to challenge the 10-year incumbent.
He said he respects Walz’s military service, but added he thinks veterans are in worse shape now than they were when Walz was first elected, noting he thinks problems at the Veterans Affairs facilities cannot be solved by the government.
Tim Walz’s campaign manager, Terry Morrow, said Walz has a well-established record of working hard for farmers, veterans and students throughout southern Minnesota, noting he thinks Walz is an “exceptional leader.”
Morrow said Walz has protected whistleblowers, helped audit the VA and prevent veteran suicides.
He disputed Hagedorn’s claim that veterans are in worse shape than they were when Walz was first elected, noting he thinks service organizations from across the country recognize Walz as having helped improve the lives of veterans.
Morrow said he is not surprised of Hagedorn’s claims, noting he thinks Hagedorn is to the right of Donald Trump and “happy to be there.”