On Thursday, I got the phone that every Minnesota First District voter wanted … an invitation to Congressman Jim Hagedorn’s Tele-TownHall event that afternoon.
No doubt that many expected a big announcement — such as, after the U S military which was retreating from Germany would be redeployed to protect Confederate statues … but there was no discussion of that or questions concerning the Russia “Bountygate“.
No, the purpose of this Tele-town Hall was to answer questions and concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic as Congressman Hagedorn warned listeners that “Rural Minnesota, our district, is not the Twin Cities”. In fact, multiple times Congressman Hagedorn compared southern Minnesota to South Dakota, stressing that southern Minnesota could emulate South Dakota. Stating that since most of Minnesota’s deaths were in long term care facilities, Congressman Hagedorn expressed that he believes the need to focus on the elderly rather than younger people who have a higher survival rate. It’s an interesting analysis from a Representative whose district has in excess of 7,831 positive coronavirus cases and 74 deaths … especially since his district includes nine counties that do not have any long term care facilities. Somehow Congressman Hagedorn seems to have forgotten when Fairmont in Martin County was making national news as a “hot spot” ? (Did you hear Dr. Deborah Birx, recently say “What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread. It’s into the rural as equal urban areas” ?
Yet, don’t ya gotta ask … why focus on the number of deaths ? Those are the individuals that did not survive, what about the impact to families and fellow workers for those that are COVID positive ?
Consider this analogy … if an area is prone to excessive number of traffic accidents, do you discount the problem if most of the people who die are elderly ?
Get in a car accident, you have physical damage and possible injuries, you may lose work time (lost wages) and you have repair costs (rehabilitation) … even if your car swerved and missed the accident, somebody else did not get so lucky. Your insurance rates may go up (gotta ask why Congressman Hagedorn does not cite the medical costs that these younger people may experience.)
Wouldn’t you want a government to evaluate high accident areas and make changes ?
Congressman Hagedorn was also asked about his position on the requirement of face masks, responded that he believes mask policy should be an individual decision for people and businesses. So once again, the government should NOT be leading … returning to the automobile analogy, seat belts (and baby car seats) should not be mandated and cell-phone talking while driving is a personnel decision.
Most comply with these rules and part of the reasoning is cost … all drivers pay for insurance, so we have a vested interest in having safe roads. Similarly, healthcare costs are borne by the individual, employer or government … thus everyone has an interest in minimizing the costs.
Employers also know that safety is a concern, so they may require hard hats, steel-toed shoes, safety glasses, etc … because they know that if an employee gets hurt, they not only lose that employee for work but also faced workman’s compensation claims.
Congressman Hagedorn also addressed his support for corporate liability shields stating that he believes that without these shields, it would be harder to convince businesses to reopen. So much for concern for employees or customers.
Congressman Hagedorn went on to express his support for ending the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) Program (which has now expired) which was a federal program on top of the Minnesota unemployment program. Congressman Hagedorn’s reasoned it would be harder for businesses to get employees to return to work … somehow ignoring the fact that if you refuse to return to work, you lose unemployment insurance.
That was the highlight of the Tele-town Hall event … South Dakota is great, the elderly are making Minnesota look bad, and that everyone else needs to get back to work or school. Oh, and on the subject of schools, Congressman Hagedorn did not address the bipartisan letter that encouraged more funding for schools … referencing a recent analysis by the School Superintendents Association noting that additional expenses related to the coronavirus pandemic would cost the average school district $1.8 million — Congressman Hagedorn did NOT sign the letter.
Time will tell if Congressman Hagedorn is correct … as hundreds of thousands of bikers are in route to the 80th edition of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (August 7 to 16) despite a city survey of Sturgis residents, in which more than 60% said the rally should be postponed … so it will be September before we know how safe South Dakota is.