By Lydia Hansen, PostBulletin - Jim Hagedorn has been shaking hands in Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District since 2014.
That was the first time Hagedorn ran against incumbent Democrat Tim Walz for the congressional seat. After a defeat then and another narrower defeat in 2016, he believes the third time is the charm. Endorsed at the Republican State Convention on April 21, he’s running against state Sen. Carla Nelson of Rochester in the Aug. 14 primary.
Wednesday, he met with the Post Bulletin to answer questions on various issues.
An outspoken supporter of President Trump, Hagedorn said border security is a pillar of his campaign.
“We have to have a system of legal immigration where we know who’s coming into the country and why,” he said, “and it can’t be what’s been going on now for the last 30 years.”
He says he would support changes to current policies regarding temporary visas to more closely monitor and apprehend those overstaying visits.
He also spoke in favor of defunding sanctuary cities and updating the current immigration system to focus on merit-based selection of applicants who would assimilate quickly and contribute the most to the country and economy.
Hagedorn also criticized socialized health care systems, stating that Minnesota had a working system before Obamacare arrived.
“We need to get back to where it (health care) starts to make sense again and get back to doctor-patient relationships,” he said.
He proposes more streamlined methods allowing individuals to use tax exempt money in health savings accounts to “shop” for their everyday medical needs while paying more affordable premiums for coverage of rarer needs like surgeries, joint replacements or other treatments.
Coming from the agricultural community of Blue Earth, Minn., Hagedorn said one of his top priorities is defending small farmers and rural ways of life.
When asked about the potential impacts of the recent tariff war, he said that while he’s “not generally someone who supports tariffs,” he’s willing to wait and see what comes of Trump’s negotiations.
“If there were a time down the road where it looked like his negotiations weren’t going to be able to succeed or that in some way rural America was going to be harmed on a long-standing basis, I’d be the first one to stand up and say ‘We have to do it a different way,’” he said. “But I think we need to give him a little flexibility for the near term in order to see what accomplishments he can make.”
If elected, he intends to serve on the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture to be a voice for farmers.
“I want to make sure that we sustain agriculture and keep farming going,” he said. “The best way to do that is to have good government policies to keep the cost of farming low to make sure that there are protections for farmers when times are tough.”