NEW ULM - Jim Hagedorn isn't waiting for the Republican nomination process in his challenge of 1st District Congressman Tim Walz. He's focused on Walz like it's a month before the November elections.
Hagedorn is one of three Republicans seeking the 1st District nomination. The others are Rep. Mike Benson of Rochester, and Aaron Miller of Byron.
Hagedorn, who unsuccessfully ran for the Republican endorsement in 2010, has a political legacy passed on by his father, former 2nd District Rep. Tom Hagedorn. He also has a background of working in Washington, where he was a legislative assistant to Rep. Arlan Stangeland. He later worked at the Treasury Department, including serving as director for legislative and public affairs.
Hagedorn said he gained experience in the Treasury Department in getting a bill through Congress. He had noticed that the Treasury Department was still sending out about half its payments to people in the form of checks, instead of electronic transfers. He told his boss it would save a lot of money to send all payments electronically.
His boss said it would take an act of Congress to do that. "Hagedorn, if you can get that done, go ahead," his boss told him.
It took three years, but the bill finally passed in 1996.
Hagedorn says he is a limited government conservative - someone who would fight the bureaucracy in Washington.
He'd start with battling to repeal Obamacare and replace it with free-market reforms. He said his position is a clear contrast to Walz, who supported the health reform legislation and still supports its implementation.
Hagedorn said full implementation of Obamacare would underfund successful health care institutions and lead to the "dumbing down" of U.S. medical care.
Hagedorn said there are aspects of the Affordable Care Act that he would support - such as creating insurance pools to provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions - but that the underlying bill "is so flawed it needs to go."
The Affordable Care Act will lead to the eventual rationing of health care and place the government in the position of telling people how to live their lives, in Hagedorn's opinion.
Hagedorn said he supports health insurance competition across state lines to increase choices and drive down costs; creating high-risk pools for people with serious illnesses and pre-existing conditions; extending insurance benefits to individuals to create "portable" coverage that follow from job to job or during times of unemployment; expanding application of Health Insurance Accounts to encourage consumers to shop for medical care and control costs; and serious tort reform to curtail high cost "defensive medicine" and cut back on frivolous lawsuits.
Generally, Hagedorn supports returning power from the federal government to the states. One way to do this would be through block grants for transportation projects or education, giving the money to the states and letting them decide where it should be used. He favors tax reforms to do away with the mountains of tax regulations. He said this could be done either through a flat tax with few deductions, or some form of consumption tax (which would do away with the income tax).
Hagedorn said the policies that Walz has supported have led to the skyrocketing of the national debt. Obamacare's impact on the debt will eventually force the nation into a situation that will severely impact the nation's fiscal stability.