Hagedorn visits for Town Hall

TRUMAN — Congressman Jim Hagedorn was at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Truman on Saturday morning for a town hall meeting. This was Hagedorn’s first stop out of 21 on a year-long tour across southern Minnesota. Hagedorn gave a brief update on what’s happening at the Capitol and answered questions from local county residents.

Hagedorn was elected in 2018 to represent Minnesota’s First District in the U.S. House of Representatives, which covers an estimated 675,755 people in 21 counties across southern Minnesota, according to the 2017 American Community Survey. About 50 people turned up for the hour-long event on Saturday.

Hagedorn said he made certain promises on the campaign trail and to this day he’s kept the same priorities. His main four priorities are: keep America safe, create economic growth, defend U.S. Constitutional Rights and sustain agriculture.

Hagedorn then answered about a dozen questions from the audience that were drawn randomly, with priority given to Martin County residents first.

Topics of questions asked covered border control, pro-life laws and health care. Much of the conversation centered around agriculture.

“Farmers have been in tough times for five or six years, especially in this district. Our goal is to make sure that our Secretary of Agriculture and all the people there implement the farm bill properly and that it does what we think it’s going to do,” Hagedorn said, continuing, “My priorities in agriculture are very simple: keep the cost of farming down, sustain the farmers when times are tough, and to expand and open trade opportunities.”

Some specific questions were asked regarding tariffs.

“I don’t support the concept of tariffs as a long-term strategy I understand how they can be used in order to get someone’s attention and things to that way and take care of some things when there is cheating and other issues,” Hagedorn said. “But over the long haul I think tariffs are good for the industries they try to protect and for the governments, for the short term. The industries they try to protect and the governments that impose them because they get the revenues, but I think it has diminishing returns. What we want are open markets, dropping down those barriers and doing everything we can to expand our exports around the world and have free reciprocal trade everywhere.”

Hagedorn spent a good amount of time addressing questions on health care.

“We should not go the government route of single-payer Medicare for all, whatever you want to call it. I don’t think that’s going to work,” Hagedorn said, explaining it would devastate the economy of southern Minnesota and undermine the medical technology genius that we have in the United States.

When asked what his thoughts are on it, Hagedorn said, “I want to go more patient-centered where we get back to the concept that people are in charge of their health care and are using pre-tax dollars to purchase routine medical care and have health savings to do day-to-day stuff, such as go to the doctor,” Hagedorn said.

Hagedorn added that he’d like to see high-risk pools for people with pre-existing medical conditions and expensive medical needs.

“Five percent of the people in the system are consuming about 50 percent of the money. We want them to get good care, but we don’t want everybody else to pay the exorbitant price of the premiums in order to make that happen,” Hagedorn said.

One resident asked if there was any chance of removing birthright citizenship.

“I think merit-based immigration is where we should be going. The United States is the most generous country in the world when it comes to immigration. We bring in over a million people a year into our nation legally. We open our door and welcome them and our only request is try to be a good citizen, assimilate, don’t be a burden on our society. And that’s a good thing,” Hagedorn said.

However, he said we don’t want illegal immigration and he shared that Homeland Security recently reported that in the last four years alone, two million people have overstayed their visas in this country.

“We don’t really know where they are or what they’re up to and it’s a problem,” Hagedorn said.

Hagedorn went on to say that border control can’t focus on any of the things they should be because they’re so busy moving people around the country and making sure they comply with court orders. Hagedorn said in his estimation, it’s a national security issue.

Hagedorn ended the event by saying it’s a privilege to serve.

“It’s these interactions with you today that’s going to prepare us better to serve communities and serve the district and do what we think is right and best for the country,” Hagedorn said.

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