GOOD THUNDER - Jim Hagedorn, of Blue Earth, officially announced his bid to challenge Democrat incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Walz for Minnesota's 1st Congressional District at a farm in rural Good Thunder.
Hagedorn, who previously ran for the 1st District in 2010 but failed to capture the Republican endorsement, is the son of Tom Hagedorn, who served in the former 2nd District in the 1970s. He previously served as a legislative aide for former Rep, Arlen Stangeland in the 1980s. He has worked for the last 25 at Capitol Hill with various legislative organizations.
Hagedorn said his three main focuses in his campaign would be on fiscal responsibility in government, repealing Obamacare and on taking broad powers from the federal government, which he would send back to the states and their citizens.
He put a heavy emphasis in his speech on pressing the attack against Walz and accusing him of being out of sync with the views of the 1st District. He called Walz "the most liberal Congressman in the history of Southern Minnesota" and argued he would be effective at picking a fight with the political left.
"Let's get in a street fight with the left and go to Washington to save our country" said Hagedorn.
He said he plans to differentiate himself from other Republicans vying for the Republic endorsement in the race by emphasizing his "demonstrated legislative experience." He said he wants to show Republican voters that he is not only the best candidate to defeat Walz, but also the most effective one to push legislation when elected.
Hagedorn on issues
Hagedorn spent time at the event clarifying his positions on major issues he is likely to face on the campaign.
On the topic of the federal government and the deficit, he said his overarching philosophy focused on concepts that put power in the hands of individual citizens and emphasize fiscal responsibility. He said he opposes new taxes unless they are revenue neutral. But, he said his higher emphasis is on comprehensive tax reform. He said he wants the focus to be on reduced regulations and on ideas like transportation block grants to states, which allow the local governments and individuals to find the innovative solutions.
On the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, he said that the bill is so unclear, ineffective, costly and disruptive to health care providers that it need to be entirely repealed.
"Obamacare is a cancer injected into health care by Congress. It needs to be repealed and replaced by free market-based reforms," said Hagedorn.
He said the government subsidies or interaction he has found acceptable are strictly things like insurance pools to protect those with pre-existing conditions.
On the Farm Bill, he said he opposes the "agriculture-only" bill recently passed by the U.S. House. The legislative pressure mechanisms that were removed could "prevent us from ever passing another Farm Bill." He said he still wants several reforms and cost-cutting measures with the nutrition portions of the Farm Bill, which regulates items like food stamps. He said that regardless of his views, he anticipated the Farm Bill being simply passed as a whole bill at the end of the legislative process.
On the topic of the U.S, potentially bring military action against Syria, he said he opposes passing any measure to attack Syria. He said he feels it is part of poorly planned U.S. policies in the Middle East for more than decade. He said he previously supported the Iraq invasion, but now feels it was mistake. He said the democracy will only flourish in Middle Eastern countries were the people are already pushing for democracy and ready to engage it.
However, he said there is still a need for the U.S. to project power in the region. He said there needs to be a more thoughtful emphasis on countries that: support the U.S., help maintain the flow of oil, are benevolent to its citizens and help the U.S. to fight terrorists. He said this could extend to any type of government from a dictatorship to democracy. He said this is important because there is concern over how most the overthrown dictatorships in the Middle East have only benefited the Muslim Brotherhood or terrorist organizations.
On gun control, he said he is fundamentally against the concept and sees it as a mechanism for liberal politicians to control the firearms of law-abiding citizens. He said he is such a strong gun advocate that he previously applied to be a lobbyist for the NRA in the 1990s, though he did not get the position.
He said he believes the only effective way to truly combat gun violence is strong measure to "arrest, incarcerate and excute if necessary criminals that commit gun violence."
On the social issues, he said he strong support "traditional marriage." But, he said people should still emphasize treating each other with "human decency." On abortion, he said is strongly opposed to it and supports life "from conception to natural death."
Hagedorn has also launched his congressional website: www.jimhagedorn.org
Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org