Letter: Hagedorn’s career behind the scenes

Published 8:50 pm Friday, October 12, 2018

With the election imminent, I’m reviewing District 1 candidates, starting with Jim Hagedorn, a well-known name because of his father’s public service.

According to his campaign website, Jim was born in Blue Earth in 1962. His father was elected to Congress when he was 12. The family moved to Virginia and spent summers in Minnesota. He went to parochial school, then public Langley High School in Fairfax County, Virginia, participating in varsity tennis and debate. He saved to buy a 1969 Mustang convertible and for college at George Mason University, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in government and politics. He was then hired as legislative assistant to Minnesota Republican Congressman Arlan Stangeland. His next job was director for legislative and public affairs in the U.S. Treasury Department’s bureau of Financial Management Services, which handled cash flow (payment, collection and reporting services) for the federal government. Next he was public affairs officer for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. In 2014, he ran for Minnesota’s District 1 Congressional seat and narrowly lost to Tim Walz.

Adding public information and reading between the lines renders a more complete picture. Jim was never in Minnesota’s public school system. Public Langley High School is in Fairfax County, which had the second-highest median income in the nation according to the 2000 census. Today Langley High School is 70 percent white, 20 percent Asian, 5 percent Hispanic, 5 percent other, and was less diverse in his era. He played tennis and debated with the homogenous elite, likely including other children of congressmen. GMU, also in Fairfax County, is a public university with lower tuition subsidized by tax dollars.

Jim’s entire career was behind the scenes in federal government. In 1984 he was hired by a Republican colleague of his father (who left Congress in 1983). Subsequent positions in the Treasury Department all carried job titles that serve as euphemisms for lobbyist. His time at the Treasury earned him $2.8 million in salary with $16,000 in bonuses, all taxpayer money.

In 2010 he claimed Minnesota residency for one year to run for Congress, voting here for the first time. In elections before and after, he registered and voted in Virginia. In 2014, he was back in Minnesota, again to run for Congress. Some Republicans consider him an interloper, using his connections to knock out more legitimate candidates.

Drain the swamp? I see a well-established swamp weed pretending to be a Minnesota businessman.

Cathy Porter

Albert Lea