By Shannon Rousseau, ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Freshman Representative Jim Hagedorn (R) has not been in Congress too long.
“Two weeks,” he laughed during our one-on-one interview with him at the KTTC studio. But the staunch Republican is a part of history as he serves Minnesota during the country’s longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history.
While he’s getting to know the other 434 members of Congress, Hagedorn continues to support President Trump’s demand for a border wall. “We have miles of physical security now. There’s no reason we shouldn’t build more points.” That should be no surprise to hear, since the Congressman has been an outspoken supporter of the President and his conservative policies for years.
On Saturday, President Trump called his latest proposal to Democrats “a common sense compromise.” The proposal includes providing temporary protection for one million immigrants brought to the United States as children, commonly referred to as Dreamers.
Hagedorn calls this proposal a step forward. “I honestly don’t think there should be a need for any deal. The concept of securing our borders and protecting our people with walls and fences; it makes perfect sense,” he said matter of fact.
But Congressional Democrats said they won’t discuss the issue unless the government reopens. “We can’t negotiate right now while he’s holding the government hostage,” said Rep. Tony Lieu, a Democrat from California.
Even though the southern border is more than 1,000 miles away from Rochester, Hagedorn feels an open border hurts Minnesota. “We don’t need drugs flowing over that border, which impacts our community. We also don’t want illegal labor to come here because it undercuts people’s wages.”
But while the shutdown lingers on, the Congressmen does not plan to pocket his paycheck. “Deferring our money, just like every other federal employee. We didn’t want to be in a position where we were receiving federal pay and they weren’t.” When asked if he would donate the money to charity like other Minnesota Congressional members have promised to do, Hagedorn once again said that he’s deferring the money.