Jason Sorensen - Fairmont Sentinel - FAIRMONT - Republican Jim Hagedorn, candidate for Minnesota's First Congressional District, recently won his party's endorsement, running unopposed.
He will challenge Congressman Tim Walz, D-Minn., in this fall's election.
Hagedorn visited Fairmont this week to meet with voters about the issues they believe are important.
"The main concern in an area like this is the weakening of the ag economy," he said. "I understand farming is up and down, but what many farmers don't get is why their congressman is voting in Washington to force them to pay higher production costs and to impose more regulatory burdens. It's a real concern for people.
"Excessive regulations are hampering farmers, driving up production costs and making U.S. agricultural products less competitive in the world market. I support the REINS Act (H.R. 427), legislation to defeat out-of-control agencies like the EPA by requiring Congress to approve all major regulations. Tim Walz has voted against the REINS Act repeatedly."
Hagedorn noted another thing people are concerned about is Obamacare.
"We were in Austin recently and we were talking with some business owners who said that they were paying $30,000 a year for their health care, and it was just killing them," he said. "We hear that from farmers, small business people and consumers. Walz's Obamacare vote really misrepresented the people, and has hurt them, and he won't even come back and talk about it.
"We need free market reforms that are going to allow competition across the country. People need to have health savings accounts backed by catastrophic coverage so that they would be holding their own money. Then if they go to the doctor, they'd be spending their own money so they would start shopping, and that would also reward people for healthy living."
Hagedorn also noted that many people he meets are upset about national security and the border issue.
"People have had it with the lawlessness," he said. "There was a case in the news recently about a 90-year-old retired Minnesota farmer who was brutally murdered by illegal aliens. If the government did its job, he would be alive, and unfortunately Walz is an open borders person who believes in, and has voted for, Obama's amnesty for illegal aliens. I'm for secure borders and getting back to the rule of law on immigration."
Hagedorn also offered his position on the issue of transgender bathroom rights in light of North Carolina's recent controversy, stating he believes the matter is an issue of state's rights.
"I'm a state's rights guy, and I think that the state of North Carolina should have every right to set its own rules and try to protect the people and their security as needed," he said. "It's a fundamental issue of whether or not North Carolina has the right to govern itself, or is the federal government going to intimidate, browbeat and coerce everything we do? That's tyranny."
When asked if he thinks the free market can regulate itself on the issue without federal or state interference, Hagedorn stated that may be a possible solution.
"I think if you went to a free market approach like that, you would probably end up with businesses very quickly saying that they don't want men in the restrooms with a little girl who was left by herself and that they can't do it. But then the federal government comes in and browbeats them, and I think that's why North Carolina stepped in."
Hagedorn ties the issue in to a larger problem of federal government intervention into the economy.
"I don't like the federal government using their power to step in and coerce; I think that's wrong," he said. "And it happens every day. People consider giving money to a politician, and they're afraid to do it because they don't want to get on a list and get audited.
"It happens every day with businesses that think that decide not to promote a product because they don't want to get crossways with the government. Bankers don't give loans because they're afraid that if they give a particular loan to a particular person, they'll get in trouble because the regulators think it might be inappropriate."
There's massive cronyism and politics that intimidate people," he said. "The best example is the EPA regulations against coal. Those haven't gone into effect, but they've completely intimidated the industry to quit building coal-fired power plants. That's the federal government interfering in the economy, and its tyranny."
As far as the presidential race, Hagedorn says he will support Donald Trump as the Republican nominee.
"There's a huge difference between the parties, and Hillary Clinton and Tim Walz offer Obama's third term, and I don't think people want that. On our side, we offer big, bold solutions to reform Washington that will secure the borders and get the economy rolling with things like tax reforms and energy independence."