My Point of View: Federal infrastructure bill will help rural America

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, November 30, 2021

My Point of View by Jennifer Vogt-Erickson

Democrats are delivering investments in rural areas like ours.

Jennifer Vogt-Erickson

Democrats have already passed one infrastructure bill that would send $6.8 billion to Minnesota, including $100 million for rural broadband. The bulk of funding will go toward improving roads and bridges in our state.

Congressman Hagedorn voted “no” on these tangible investments in our families and communities. Hagedorn’s reasoning features the rumpled, overused specters of inflation and socialism.

For as much as former President Trump touted a major infrastructure package, he never got it done, even when his party controlled both houses of Congress. What his party did agree to was an enormous tax break for wealthy people.

Make no mistake, Republicans did serve their true constituency. Not us.

Four years after Republicans’ profligate giveaway to the most fortunate, President Biden and Speaker Pelosi got infrastructure done for the American people.

House Democrats have now passed a second bill that would go further toward directly strengthening families and communities, and Sens. Klobuchar and Smith say it can pass the Senate by the end of the year. Besides lowering costs for child care and prescription drugs like insulin, 90% of American families with minor children would receive a tax credit of at least $3,000 per child for another year.

Hagedorn’s response is predictably, “Socialism!”

For all of Hagedorn’s claims to be a “free enterprise capitalist,” he has lately been scolding a sporting goods company for moving most of its production in Caledonia to an overseas factory. Why is Rawlings doing this? Cheaper production costs mean higher profits. In capitalism, that’s the whole point.

In a useless tirade, Hagedorn said American workers must be “placed first.” That’s not how capitalism works.

Unfettered capitalism is what Hagedorn worships until he doesn’t like an outcome that affects a community in his district. He won’t get behind any regulations (that would be socialist!) but he makes feeble bleating sounds while those jobs leave the 1st District for China.

Instead of strength, he gives us empty posturing. Hagedorn is just reaping what he helped sow.

But, hey, the costs of those products won’t go up as much, and it will help tamp down inflation! Levis jeans that cost $40 when I was in high school in the early 1990s are $37.50 today. The capitalist miracle of turning American jobs into Chinese jobs has kept prices of many consumer goods astonishingly low.

Speaking of inflation, the current increase is likely to ease as supply chain disruptions from the pandemic get worked out. The Biden administration is helping get things moving again at ports in a variety of ways that aren’t flashy or dramatic, just competent and results-oriented.

Hagedorn also voted “no” on censuring Rep. Paul Gosar for tweeting an animated video of himself violently murdering their colleague Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. Most of us understand we could get fired from a job if we tweeted something so detestable, but Hagedorn thinks it’s not a big deal. He’s quick to stand up for his wife when she’s attacked for her close ties to a donor under indictment for sex trafficking, but other women? Well, that depends. Hagedorn’s support hinges on tribal identity, not respect for women.

In his vote, Hagedorn also failed to preserve the dignity of the office we gave him the honor of serving.

When Trumpism replaced conservatism, vile behavior became acceptable in the GOP. Christianity and Christians who didn’t go along with the new rules have almost all been pushed out the door. Those who remain often flaunt the “Christian” label, but their actions are divorced from the Good News. Trump is their new savior. They have little use for a dusty-footed teacher who was born in a barn (filthy and poor!), eschewed earthly possessions (anti-capitalist!) and didn’t fight back (weak and emasculated!).

It’s now the season of Advent, and I do hope for a change.

One thing that will definitely change in the next year is our district boundaries. The 1st District may look substantially different by the time we vote again next November. Please check out the Minnesota House redistricting committee’s map proposals released last week. The Minnesota Senate redistricting committee will be releasing its proposals soon.

The House’s legislative map proposal splits Albert Lea and Austin into separate Senate districts, which is not in our best interests given how closely Albert Lea’s economy is tied to Austin. Hayward, Glenville, Emmons and Twin Lakes would also be in Austin’s house district. Furthermore, the House’s proposal splits Albert Lea’s Senate district (shared with Jackson and Fairmont) into two Congressional districts.

If you would like to comment on the House’s proposed maps, you can email nancy.conley@house.mn by 4 pm on Wednesday, December 1. (Today’s publication date.) For more information go to https://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/Committees/Home/92030.

Jennifer Vogt-Erickson is a member of the Freeborn County DFL Party.