MN01 : Jim Hagedorn advocates for Beagle Brigades funding while speaking out against funding school lunch and Medicaid programs

“People should fend for themselves.”  That’s the takeaway from Minnesota’s First District Congressman Jim Hagedorn’s Fillmore County townhall event.

That comment was in response to a constituent’s question about SNAP and 782 Fillmore County children getting kicked off the hot school lunch program. “We don’t want anyone to starve, we don’t want anybody to live in the cold. We do everything we can. But we also want to be fair to the taxpayers to make that happen.”

That’s right … 782 children in rural Filmore County are at risk of losing access to free or reduced-priced school lunches … and Congressman Hagedorn’s dismissive response was “People should fend for themselves.” 

Surprised ?

Nah, it was just on February 6th, that the House passed House Joint Resolution 826 Expressing disapproval of the Trump administration’s harmful actions towards Medicaid. Groups like AARP, the American Cancer Society Action Network, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Federation of American Hospitals, the Children’s Hospital Association, and many others spoke out against the Trump Administration’s plans for block grants and waivers. Yet that did not sway Congressman Hagedorn who sided with President Trump and voted NO.

That’s right … “we also want to be fair to the taxpayers” … after all there must be other priorities.

Like spending $221,600,000 (that’s $222 million between now and 2023) in hopes that African swine fever (ASF) doesn’t enter the United States. African swine fever is a very contagious and deadly disease that affects domestic and wild pigs — but ASF cannot be transmitted to humans through contact with pigs or pork. Spread of ASF is on the rise around the world and some fear the disease could eventually affect our nation’s pork supply. The disease has been found in sub-Saharan Africa, China, Mongolia, Vietnam and the European Union. Fortunately, African swine fever has never been found in the U.S. [Learn more here at the Pork Checkoff website https://www.pork.org/african-swine-fever-need-know/ ]

Yap, just four days after voting against Medicaid, Congressman Hagedorn spoke on the House floor in support for $222 million for Beagle Brigades to confront ASF as part of the “Protecting America’s Food and Agriculture Act of 2019” legislation [highlights below]

  I have been focused very intently on this whole African swine fever threat for many months.
  In my district in southern Minnesota, I happen to represent some of the finest agricultural producers in all the world, including livestock producers and many in pork production. Our district is number two in the whole country for pork production.
   Of course, the challenge is: What happens if the African swine fever gets in the United States? If African swine fever enters the United States, it is not going to hurt just our pork producers. It is going to  hurt our corn and soybean growers, and the people who pack the meat, transport the meat, all the people down the line to Main Street. It is going to drive up the prices for our consumers, and we can't let that happen. 
  That is why this bill is so important, to enhance the inspectors at these ports of entry and to make sure that the Beagle Brigades, as they are called, are upgraded. 
  They do a terrific job of sniffing out the pork. 

Congressman Hagedorn was able to get the bill passed … so taxpayers will be paying to increase staffing levels for inspector, technician and canine support teams that conduct agricultural inspections … of IMPORTED meats and produce.

Sounds like the “we also want to be fair to the taxpayers” doesn’t apply when agribusiness is concerned.

For more about Congressman Hagedorn’s Fillmore County Town Hall exchange, read this reaction … especially the last paragraph [http://fillmorecountyjournal.com/devils-advocate-fend-for-yourself-rep-hagedorn/]

A parting thought: there are more split ticket voters in Fillmore County than the 1,300 votes Hagedorn won by in the entire First Congressional District. I expected more from my U.S. Representative. I did not expect him to seemingly defend children’s hunger in school. I wonder, now: What would Dan Feehan do? 

Aaron Bishop