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Feehan 'puts people first' during Worthington visit

Dan Feehan Chamber event
Dan Feehan partcipates in a round table with Worthington business leaders Thursday afternoon. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — As part of his campaign for Minnesota's First Congressional District, Dan Feehan came to Worthington Thursday to learn about the needs of local voters.

First, Feehan visited with Worthington Mayor Mike Kuhle to hear "what's going really well in Worthington and what's not going so well," Feehan explained.

"Worthington needs a friend in Washington," Feehan said, "and I don't think it has one right now."

Feehan, a Democrat who hopes to face incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn in November, also participated in a roundtable discussion with local business leaders, sponsored by the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce. He said some of the concerns raised by the business owners are universal throughout the district, state and nation, such as affordable health care, which, he noted, affects the growth of small business.

Other issues were localized in what Feehan called "a post-referendum Worthington." The community leaders were hopeful, he said, that the future of the city is brighter since the passage of District 518's referendum questions in November, which will allow for funding to expand school facilities.

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Business leaders are excited to "look for incredible opportunities that are here within the community," he said. "If Congress does its job, then Worthington can really thrive."

Feehan also planned to meet Thursday evening with a group of young people who organized to help pass the referendum .

The Congressional hopeful said that his personal, one-on-one approach to conversations Thursday was one way to highlight his campaign slogan of "putting people first."

He noted that when a representative goes to Washington, they can take one of two approaches: either build relationships along the campaign trail and, once in office, turn to those same people for direction, or get to the Capitol and turn to DC lobbyists. Feehan added that Hagedorn has chosen the latter.

The First District Representative "should represent all of southern Minnesota," he said. He plans to do that by including all residents of the district in policy considerations and by refusing to accept campaign funding from corporate political action committees.

Feehan promised to keep "putting people first" during visits to all 21 counties in the First District, adding that his tour will include spending more time with farmers to learn their needs.

For example, he said, he's heard from farmers that they're concerned about ethanol production. Oil companies have received waivers from Washington so they don't have to blend ethanol into their fuel. The EPA is now investigating these waivers only after pressure from members of the House of Representatives — not including Hagedorn, Feehan stated.

It's important to the Mankato veteran and former teacher that his campaign is grassroots. When he talks with voters, he is "hoping to inspire them into action," he said.

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He invites every First District resident to join his campaign for Congress.

"Most people aren't Republicans or Democrats," Feehan noted. "They don't identify themselves along party lines. They want things to be better."

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