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U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn visits Worthington

U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn speaks Tuesday to members of the Worthington Noon Kiwanis Club and guests at the Worthington Fire Hall. (Leah Ward / The Globe)1 / 2
Jim Hagedorn (far left) speaks to Noon Kiwanis Club members and guests during the U.S. congressman's Tuesday visit to Worthington. (Ryan McGaughey / The Globe)2 / 2

Editor's note: This article is updated from Saturday's print edition version and contains both a correction and clarification.

WORTHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, R-Blue Earth, visited Worthington Tuesday and spoke at the Noon Kiwanis Club meeting at the Worthington Fire Hall.

Hagedorn declared his patriotism and pride in the U.S.

“Most of the things we enjoy about life … were created and perfected in the United States of America,” he said.

Hagedorn, who grew up on a grain and livestock farm near Truman, serves on the Agriculture Committee and is assigned to the livestock and nutrition subcommittees. His district, which comprises all of southern Minnesota, is the second-largest pork producing district in the nation.

He outlined his legislative priorities as follows:

  1. National security, which includes securing borders and building the largest military in the world
  2. Economic opportunity
  3. Protection of basic constitutional rights, which Hagedorn sees as a ban on abortion, a right to bear arms and religious freedom
  4. Sustaining agriculture and rural life.

“Agriculture is a national security issue,” he said, noting that he feels that dependence on importing food is a threat to the security of the nation.

“Nobody (in America) goes to sleep at night wondering if they’ll be able to feed their families,” Hagedorn commented while speaking about the availability of food in grocery stores, and America having a food supply that is abundant and nutritious in stark comparison to other counties. He added that agriculture is what makes this possible.

He said that to sustain agriculture, he calls for good government, taking care of farmers when times are tough and enabling international trade.

Immigration

“What’s going on at the border is an emergency,” Hagedorn said. He added that Democrats in Congress are “turning our border patrol agents into having to care for children and families.”

He claimed that 5 to 6 million people are in America undocumented because they have overstayed their visas. He said many of these individuals are “from terrorist countries” and that this phenomenon is what caused 9/11.

To secure the southern border, Hagedorn proposed that “it’s way deeper than the wall” — although he did confirm that he supports a wall.

“Walls are not immoral. Walls are not racist,” he said.

He said part of the solution to immigration reform is to change the asylum rules. He alleged that 90% of people who apply for asylum don’t qualify.

“We finally have a president who is fighting on the issue,” Hagedorn said. “I’ve told him I’ll support him in any way I can.”

Rural banking

Hagedorn explained that rural banks are an example of “government regulation that just misses the mark.”

He said that the 2010 Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act crushed agriculture and community banks. Since then, he said he has received feedback from rural bankers that their business is 5% banking and 95% regulation and compliance.

He called for fewer rules imposed on the banking industry.

Partisanship

Hagedorn acknowledged the political gridlock happening in Washington and expressed a desire for both sides of the aisle to work together.

As a freshman member of Congress, Hagedorn said his strategy is to keep his head down and learn from his colleagues.

“I don’t care who gets the credit,” he said, explaining that he’s willing to promote good ideas no matter which party has them.

Kiwanis members expressed gratitude for Hagedorn’s visit and wished him well in his efforts.

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