Election Profile: Hagedorn vying to unseat Walz in 1st District - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Copy-Election Profile: Hagedorn vying to unseat Walz in 1st District race

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A familiar face is running against U.S. Congressman Tim Walz to represent Minnesota's 1st Congressional District.

Republican Jim Hagedorn is optimistic about his second try. But Walz is confident he'll win his sixth term.

Hagedorn, a Blue Earth native, grew up on a farm. And with the 1st Congressional District being primarily a rural region, he said one of his top priorities is listening to the farmers.

"By and large, I'm very concerned. The farm economy is tight. I think it's unfortunately moving into recession. We've had several years in a row now with low commodity prices, and yet the input costs are still very high," said Hagedorn. "Median farm income is at a 20-year low. What's going on right now in agriculture is a disgrace in Washington, D.C."

Hagedorn ran against Walz two years ago. It was a competitive race -- with Walz receiving 54.2 percent of the votes, compared to Hagedorn's 45.7 percent. This time around, Hagedorn likes his chances.

"We're very optimistic," he said. "As a matter of fact, the issues have shifted in our favor. The things I've been talking about like Islamic terrorism, Obamacare, the struggling farm economy, our Second Amendment rights."

Hagedorn said he wants Obamacare gone.

"Minnesota didn't need Obamacare," Hagedorn said. "We had a pretty good system in Minnesota before Obamacare. Ninety-three percent of the people were covered. So I'm for replacing it and making sure we have those free-market reforms to put downward pressure on price."

For Congressman Walz however, rather than replacing, it's about improving the existing law.

"With the Affordable Care Act -- health care is a journey, not a destination," Rep. Walz said. "Added millions of people, fixed some of the issues that were plaguing our heath care system, but didn't fix everything. In the individual market that's impacting Southern Minnesotans and their premiums, it can be addressed. So instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water, let's come back, fix this, and give relief."

Rep. Walz said he's also looking out for farmers.

"We're proud of the Farm Bill. We wrote it together with farm families. We got another one coming," said Rep. Walz. "I pledged as we did in the last one was making sure I was there for those risk-management tools, crop insurance. I don't accept the false choices in how we govern our lives, and that means our farmers can produce, feed, fuel, clothe the world -- and we can do it by sustaining our environment."

Rep. Walz feels his history of bipartisanship will make it all possible.

"This is what is expected of Southern Minnesotans -- working together, finding solutions, don't just point out problems and don't complain to the other side," he said. "You're able to work with the other side, you're able to move legislation through, and you're able to do it in a manner that's respective of the system."

Congressman Walz lives in Mankato with this wife and two young children. He is the highest ranking enlisted soldier ever to serve in Congress.

Meanwhile, Hagedorn's experience includes being a legislative assistant, serving at the U.S. Financial Management Service, and working at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

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