By Justin R. Lessman, Jackson County Pilot - Jim Hagedorn thinks the third time’s a charm.
Hagedorn, who came within four-tenths of a percent of defeating Democratic incumbent Tim Walz in last year’s race for Minnesota’s First Congressional District seat, is seeking the local seat in the U.S. House of Representatives for the third consecutive time. However, things are bit different this go around.
For starters, it’s not Walz against whom Hagedorn will be running. The six-term congressman announced in March he would seek the office of governor of Minnesota.
Hagedorn, on a campaign swing through Jackson County last Thursday, which included a stop at the Jackson County Fair in Jackson, acknowledged Walz always had a bit of an edge over him in the realm of name recognition. With Walz not seeking re-election and himself in the race for the third time, Hagedorn said, the name-recognition advantage shifts his way.
“The fact is 166,500 people voted for us in the last election,” he said, just short of the 169,000 that handed Walz victory. “And I think this being my third run shows perseverance. It can happen.”
But beyond that, Hagedorn said, nothing much has changed as far as his positions on the issues and plans to better represent the people of Jackson County in Congress.
Same with his support of President Donald Trump.
“His path is my path, as we hold similar positions on similar issues,” he said. “I would like to be a partner with the president in changing this country for the better. I’m for progress — going out and making change.”
Agriculture remains a top concern for Hagedorn.
“This is an ag-based district,” he said. “I grew up in this district on a farm and have a deep appreciation of agriculture.”
Serving on the House Ag Committee once elected is a goal.
“Things the government is doing in Washington are not helping,” he said. “I want to be in the majority on the ag committee and reverse that trend.”
Health care is another top issue.
“Obamacare’s failed,” Hagedorn said of the Affordable Care Act, “and the Democrats have no solution.”
He advocated shifting control back to states, rather than leaving the federal government involved.
Hagedorn’s stop at the Jackson County Fair last week is one of many he plans throughout the rest of the summer.
“We’re hitting all the county fairs in the district,” he said. “I’ve already done 35 parades, and we will do 50. We’re working very hard. It’s a big district and it takes time to get across it and meet the people and hear their concerns and different perspectives, but that’s what we do. We’re out working, and we’re going to earn it.”