By Joe Steck - Mankato Times - Blue Earth, MN – Republican candidate Jim Hagedorn won the GOP endorsement for Congress during the First District Republican Convention held at Mankato’s Verizon Wireless Center on May 7th. Hagedorn was unopposed.
Republican delegates unified behind Hagedorn, who pushed DFL Rep. Tim Walz to a 54-46% result in the 2014 election, despite being outspent 6 to 1. Hagedorn stands to be the first back-to-back general election candidate to challenge the 10-year incumbent.
“Jim Hagedorn is the hardest working congressional candidate in the United States,” said First District Chairwoman, Carol Stevenson. “Jim’s work ethic, high name identification and commonsense message of reforming Washington, D.C., combined with Tim Walz’s miserable liberal record, is our recipe to win in November,” she said.
In his speech to delegates, Hagedorn said the United States faced monumental problems and the federal government is in dire need of reform. “I stand for big, bold solutions to take power from the Washington, D.C. politicians, bureaucrats and interest groups and return authority to the states and the American people,” Hagedorn said.
Hagedorn outlined several of his legislative priorities, including regulatory reform to require Congress to approve major rules, tax simplification, replacing Obamacare, U.S. energy independence, implementing a refugee program “timeout” and empowering all veterans to choose their own doctors and receive timely, quality medical care.
Hagedorn derided the incumbent’s claim that he is “bipartisan” by rattling off a list of 25 ultra liberal votes cast by Walz. The list included Walz’s votes for Obamacare, Obama’s trillion dollar stimulus, Obama’s Iran deal, Obama’s amnesty for illegal aliens and abortion in the 7th, 8th and 9th month of pregnancy.
Hagedorn said Republicans are energized and will win in November. “Hillary Clinton and Tim Walz offer voters a third Obama term and a Supreme Court that will take away our right to keep and bear arms and religious freedom. Meanwhile, we [Republicans] will run with our presidential nominee and offer bold national change.”
Three First District Republicans addressed the convention in support of Hagedorn.
Martin County Delegate Neal Breitbarth spoke of Hagedorn’s farm and small town roots. “Jim and I grew up fence-row-to-fence-row on our farms just outside Truman,” he said.
“Unlike Walz, who voted to impose ridiculous regulations on agriculture and drive up production costs, Jim Hagedorn is a true friend of the farmer who is devoted to sustaining agriculture and our rural communities,” Breitbarth stated.
Kyle Pirron, a Minnesota State University, Mankato, graduate and U.S. Army Reserve combat veteran of the Afghanistan addressed Walz’s record in two areas.
Pirron excoriated Walz for supporting Obama and Clinton’s reckless foreign policy that turned the Middle East into chaos and led to the rise of ISIS and systematic slaughter of Christians. “It infuriates me that my military brothers and sisters lost limbs and lives to secure Iraq, only to have Tim Walz throw away their sacrifice,” Pirron said.
Pirron also admonished Walz for failing veterans. “Tim’s been in Congress for 10 years, and what’s the record? Veterans are worse off today than when Walz was first elected; veterans are dying at the hands of Obama’s VA [Department of Veterans Affairs]; and, illegal aliens are receiving superior access to medical care than our veterans,” he said.
Cindy Maves, an Olmsted County Delegate and 2014 candidate for Mayor of Rochester, highlighted Hagedorn’s work to enact “EFT ’99,” a national landmark law that saved taxpayers $1.5 billion and closed four federal check issuing centers.
“Jim Hagedorn is probably the only person to ever run for Congress who previously downsized his own federal agency. We need to elect Jim so he can reform and downsize every last bloated federal bureaucracy and cut spending,” Mavis said.
Mavis, a stage 4 breast cancer patient, had harsh words for Walz on the issue of Obamacare. “It makes me so mad that Tim Walz lied to me before voting for Obamacare. He made several promises, including that my family would save $2,500 per year and he would live under Obamacare, just like the rest of us,” she said.
“The first thing Walz and Congress did was exempt themselves from the ill-effects of Obamacare. Tim’s family income is about $250,000, yet he gets a huge federal subsidy and pays a very low premium with next to no deductible. Meanwhile, my husband and I pay premiums of $20,000 per year with a $10,000 deductible that we meet every year.”
“When a congressman thinks he’s more important than the people he represents, that congressman has lost his usefulness and needs to be booted from office,” Maves said.