Hagedorn bars Indivisible group from meeting with Mankato staff

MANKATO — U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-1st District) will no longer allow members of the St. Peter/Greater Mankato Indivisible group to meet with members of his district office staff in Mankato.

In a letter sent to Indivisible members, Hagedorn said his staff would no longer be available to meet with members in person at the district office.

Hagedorn claimed an Indivisible group leader told his staff their visits were intended to keep the staff from attending to their work.

“This is disappointing, especially coming from a group that claims to be dedicated to making people’s lives better,” Hagedorn said. “Such tactics represent a disservice to every taxpayer and every resident of Minnesota’s First District, particularly those with pressing casework needs.”

Hagedorn also cited Indivisible’s actions as a disruption to other building tenants and emphasized his district office was not a campaign office.

“It is a government office, tasked with doing the work of the people.  That work cannot be efficiently and effectively performed when a very small, very vocal group demands a wholly disproportionate amount of the people’s time,” Hagedorn said.

In a response letter, Indivisible denies the allegation that they were trying to keep the staff from working. The letter said “We have remained respectful in all of our visits to Congressman Hagedorn’s office and have been grateful to his staff for listening to our concerns. We have the utmost respect for the work of a Congressional office.”

Indivisible acknowledged they did not expect Rep. Hagedorn to vote in line with their positions all the time but did expect to be able to convey concerns about how he is representing the First District. 

“Congressman Hagedorn has the duty to represent all people in Minnesota’s First District, even those he disagrees with,” First District constituent Jennifer Andrashko said in the press release. “While we were appreciative of the Congressman’s staff taking the time to listen to our concerns up to this point, we are deeply disappointed in Congressman Hagedorn’s false accusation and his using this as a justification to shut out constituents whose views he disagrees with.”

The St. Peter/Greater Mankato Indivisible group identifies as a non-partisan group dedicated to positive, progressive action to make people’s lives better and to create a more sustainable, equitable, and inclusive world.

Since February, the group members have visited Hagedorn’s district office every Thursday to discuss political concerns with staff. In recent weeks, Indivisible has asked Hagedorn to schedule an in-person town hall in Nicollet County.

Hagedorn did host a telephone town hall in Nicollet County but was not publicized in advance and many Indivisible members could not participate.

In response, 35 members of Indivisible visited Hagedorn’s Mankato office on Thursday, June 27. Building staff limited Indivisible to six or seven members at a time. During this visit, the police were called and asked to remove Indivisible from the premises. Mankato Police did not comply as the group was gathered peacefully.

Hagedorn said in his letter to Indivisible members are free to bring questions to townhall meetings. He promises to hold at least 18 town halls between now and May 31, 2020. Hagedorn also invited all constituents to write him to share their thoughts at 325 Cannon HOB, Washington, DC 20515.