LUVERNE — Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn visited with constituents at the Grand Prairie Events Center in Luverne Monday Night for a town hall, during which he discussed federal and state matters, answered questions, and spoke with members of the audience. This was Hagedorn’s second in-person town hall during his sophomore term in Congress.

During initial statements, Hagedorn spoke to the gathering on a variety of topics, including the current political divide in the U.S., conservative ideals, labor shortages, and the pandemic, among other topics. He spoke at length about Trump-era policy changes under the Biden administration and the 2020 election amid claims that the election was much closer than his democratic colleagues would have the public believe.

“Some people would have you believe the Democrats won everything. They didn't,” said Hagedorn. “They do control everything in the House, the Senate and the White House. But they really didn't win everything.”

Hagedorn went on to speak about the current small margins of democratic leadership in both the house and senate.

“From my standpoint,” he concluded. “I don't think the Democratic Party has a mandate to make radical change in this country.”

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Hagedorn has most recently made the news for an inquiry into the alleged misuse of office funds by the House Ethics Committee and for voting no on the infrastructure bill that was signed into law on Nov. 15. The $1 trillion bill is considered a key part of President Joe Biden’s agenda, and allots significant funding for everything from roads and bridges to rural internet access and other public works. Most members of the Minnesota Republican delegation voted against the bill, Hagedorn included — a decision which he defended during Monday’s town hall.

“I don't think there's anybody in Congress that doesn't want to get the broadband thing done so everybody has the same quality of life, has the same opportunity, wherever you live,” said Hagedorn. “But there’s $600 billion of junk in that bill that we didn't need and we can’t afford.”

Though Hagedorn did not go into detail about what constituted as “junk”, he did go on to speak about other infrastructure related projects within the state of Minnesota, including the U.S. 14 corridor which Hagedorn lauded as a “great team effort.”

Hagedorn also spoke with audience members while answering submitted questions from a fishbowl, which prompted a discussion on COVID-19 regulations amid concerns from one audience member, as well as a discussion on livestock production with another.

“We are exceptionally fortunate that we have this (agricultural) technology, these hard working farmers and others in agribusiness that are willing to do it,” Hagedorn said, after an audience member expressed frustrations with regulations to livestock production. “This has to be nurtured and preserved. That's why I'm committed.”

Future town hall events for Hagedorn will be updated on his website.