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Hagedorn meets with business leaders, law enforcement officers in Albert Lea

U.S. House Rep. Jim Hagedorn emphasized the importance of supporting both small businesses and local law enforcement during his most recent visit to Albert Lea Monday morning.

Jim Hagedorn

During his time in Albert Lea, Hagedorn spoke with local farmers, various business owners, as well as leaders at the Chamber of Commerce to discuss their thoughts and concerns. Hagedorn talked about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on local business.

“Since the coronavirus outbreak it’s been really tough on all businesses, businesses of all sizes, but especially small businesses,” Hagedorn said. “In Minnesota, they were closed for a long time and the big box stores were open, neighboring states were open and yet our small businesses were shut down. Restaurants to this point are still at only partial capacity. So they’re in a tough spot, and I think the best thing is just to get our economy opened up again.”

He also mentioned the programs he has helped put together in Washington, D.C., to help small businesses, including the Paycheck Protection Program and the Employment Retention Tax Credit.

“Whatever tool is in the shed, we have to make sure that we can help our farmers, our small businesses and then our medical providers because they make up a lot of our economy in southern Minnesota,” Hagedorn said.

Hagedorn was critical of Gov. Tim Walz’s overall response to the pandemic, saying Walz has kept the economy needlessly locked down, his estimates of how many deaths would be caused by COVID-19 were severely overestimated and the surge never came the way he thought it was going to.

“We have all these restrictions and controls which are crushing the farmers because the restaurants aren’t open, hurting the farmers because the schools aren’t open with the school lunch program,” Hagedorn said. “Small businesses are literally going broke. The Chamber of Commerce is in dire need of funds because the other businesses are hurting. So I don’t think the record is very good at all.”

Hagedorn referenced South Dakota in a comparison to Minnesota, saying South Dakota has the strongest economy in the country and the lowest unemployment rate, all while keeping the economy open throughout the pandemic.

He said rural communities like Albert Lea should be fully opened with private businesses allowed to set rules and guidelines on their own.

“I think we’re holding our area back by not opening up more,” Hagedorn said. “I think the governor has been too restrictive, and he should give up his emergency powers. He really has no business doing this mask mandate and all these things. He needs to work with the Legislature and let the localities and the individuals in Minnesota decide if they are wearing a mask, along with the private entities.”

On top of meeting with local farmers and business leaders, Hagedorn also took time to speak with local law enforcement officers.

“We really support and appreciate and admire our police,” he said. “They’re doing fantastic work, heroic work. I think a lot of folks here in southern Minnesota really appreciate them as well.”

Hagedorn talked about bills trying to get passed in Washington, D.C., which he said would include a liability standard to the point where no one would want to be a police officer again. He said he wants to defend the police because they are the line that separates chaos and an orderly society.

“A lot of what we’re seeing with the police and all these struggles across the country is a microcosm of what’s to come if some of these people with these left-wing ideals ever take power across the country,” Hagedorn said. “That’s what we’ll get for our whole country and that’s a big part of what this election is all about, is that choice.”


About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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