Hagedorn’s leadership hurts farmers

To the editor:

Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District’s strength is our rich, agricultural way of life. Substantial work and investments are being made by citizens, foundations and organizations to continue to strengthen our rural communities. It’s difficult to see these efforts undone by the damaging US-China trade war.

Farmers are the heart of our district. When they are hurting, it impacts us all. Therefore, it’s frustrating to see our Congressman, Jim Hagedorn fail to fully grasp this issue and its disastrous ripple effects. Hagedorn may have come from a farm family in a small town, but that means very little when he hasn’t lived that experience in a very long time.

Agriculture and issues that impact rural communities have evolved in the four decades since Hagedorn was immersed in farm life. One would think he’d spend time listening to and learning from as many constituents as possible to understand how the tariffs are imposing financial pain, hardship and uncertainty for the future. Instead, he chooses to spend his time in district on “selective listening tours,” only meeting with people and groups who look and think like him. There’s a danger in operating within a bubble and it’s not what leaders do.

Effective leaders welcome diversity of thought and do their best work when listening to those who are most impacted by their decisions. We expect this from leaders at work, in our places of worship, in community leadership, etc. Why do we allow our members of Congress to behave any differently? This legislative session Minnesota congressional representatives, both Republican and Democrat, made themselves more accessible to their constituents by holding several public town halls. There is no sign Hagedorn plans to hold a public town hall anytime soon to hear from his constituents impacted by the trade war.

Hagedorn is out of touch, closed off and closed minded. His unwavering support of the President clouds his judgement and hinders him from truly listening and advocating for our district on this issue. If he refuses to listen to the people he represents, he is not the leader we need right now in the 1st Congressional District.

Keri Johnson

St. Peter