Walz, Hagedorn Face Off For A Second Time

By Shawn Loging, KEYC - Southern Minnesota - The election season is entering the final stretch and that has campaigns and candidates working to capture every possible vote.

In a rematch of the 2014 Midterm elections, Democrat Tim Walz and Republican Jim Hagedorn are vying to win southern Minnesota's U.S. House seat.

Incumbent Congressman Tim Walz is seeking a win for the sixth time, making it ten years representing the First District at the nation's capitol.

Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minnesota, said, "I've carved out a reputation of being able to work across party lines and try and effectively get legislation over the finish line. And I think right now I would like to have the honor, if the people of the First District would like to do that, of doing that again."

But for the second time, Republican Jim Hagedorn is campaigning to unseat the Walz, promising to be a reformer in D.C.

Jim Hagedorn, U.S. House Candidate said, "I kind of know where the bodies are buried out there, understand how government functions, and how it dysfunctions and how we need to reform it and end the corruption and help the people across the board."

And whoever receives the popular vote will need to address a number of issues across the country and here in southern Minnesota.

With one of the central concerns being agriculture and a new Farm Bill in 2018.

Walz said, "We know right now prices are low and it is hard. The breakeven point might be below what the cost of the bushel of corn is worth. Trying to make sure that there's that safety net underneath and that's not just a safety net for the farmers, that's a safety net for those of us who go to the grocery store."

Walz adds it's important to keep the rural and urban programs together in the Farm Bill to not separate food producers from consumers.

Hagedorn says his focus when it comes to the Farm Bill is easing government regulations placed on farmers.

"If we don't get rid of these big government programs that have been coming out of Obama's administration, the regulation, the taxes, the expense of energy. Farmers are not going to be able to be competitive down the road," Hagedorn said.

Another issue is healthcare, especially for people who buy health insurance on the MnSURE exchange seeing rates jump some 50 percent.

For Hagedorn, that means it's time to repeal the Affordable Care Act and while he says there are items to keep, the government should look elsewhere to keep healthcare affordable.

Hagedorn said, "Competition across state lines that should help people be provided the products and services they want that would put downward pressure on price, that would be very important. Expanded use of health savings accounts so people are holding their own money."

Walz says the answer isn't to repeal but granting waivers to states like Minnesota to help them improve their own exchanges and providing checkups on the law.

"Making sure that we have some risk corridors or putting them into a bigger risk pool. Federally, the thing I've been asking for all along is no one believed the ACA was done when we first passed it, but instead of improving on it and fixing things as they weren't working, we still go back to we're going to repeal it,"said Walz.

And for the candidates, healthcare also means care for veterans.

Walz is looking at legislation to require an annual audit of the VA and to make investigations public.

Walz said, "There's an ethical responsibility to care for the current veterans but there's a responsibility for our national security to show this next generation, if you serve us, we'll do the best we can."

Hagedorn is pushing for even more accountability at the VA, including demoting or firing employees for misconduct and opening up options for veterans when it comes to care.

Hagedorn said, "I think it time to open it up, let every veteran, empower every veteran choose their own doctor and hospital and get the timely quality care that they've earned and deserved."