Jim Hagedorn, a Blue Earth native and longtime public servant who is challenging Aaron Miller to be the Republican candidate against incumbent DFL Rep. Tim Walz, says he is running for congress out of the belief that bold action is needed to "save our country as the forefathers put it together." "I feel that I have that experience and understanding of how Washington functions and dysfunctions in order to make the difference," he said.
Born in Blue Earth, Hagedorn was raised on a farm just outside of Truman, Minn. In 1974, when he was still a child, his father Tom was elected to congress, where he would serve for four terms. Said Hagedorn, "It was fun seeing him doing things at the national level, and it was really fun watching him win, because nobody expected him to win. He pulled it off and he worked very hard."
While his father served in congress, Hagedorn attended school in the Washington, DC suburbs, returning home to the family farm during the summer. During that time, Hagedorn made connections, and was able to continue working in Washington, even after his father was defeated for reelection by DFLer Tim Penny in 1982. Hagedorn's time in Washington culminated in a stint as director of Legislative and Public Affairs at the Financial Management Service from 1991-98. During that time, Mr. Hagedorn successfully pushed for a measure requiring the electronic transfer of funds, or direct deposits, as opposed to writing expensive paper checks to disburse federal payments, saving taxpayers more than 100 million a year.
Identifying himself as a Ronald Reagan Conservative, Hagedorn supports repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), and opposing Cap and Trade energy policy, instead favoring drilling on public lands to move towards energy independence. He also supports tax reform to simplify the system, favoring a lower rate rather than protecting deductions and incentives, as well as reducing regulation. A strong supporter of giving more authority to the states, he also would like to see block grants of federal money for education, transportation and other expenses, with few strings attached, to allow state and local leaders to decide how funds would best be spent.
Hagedorn also said he learned much from a long career of public service in Washington. "Changing Washington is very difficult, it takes enormous persistence," he said. "Anytime that you want to make things more efficient or change the way that Washington functions, you're going to have a lot of people and interest groups and others fighting you every step of the way. It takes people with enormous determination and an understanding of the system and the willingness to put themselves in a position of not being liked in order to change Washington DC."
Ultimately, Hagedorn says he will use his understanding of how Washington works to take on the Washington establishment in both parties. He promises, above all, to fight with tenacity to reduce the power of the federal government. "I'm a fighter, somebody that works very hard, and somebody willing to take the fight directly to the Washington DC establishment," he said. "I won't back down until we've done what it takes to save our country as the forefathers put it together."