The ECM Editorial Board endorses candidates in our state’s congressional districts each election cycle. The 1st District offers a rematch from the 2014 election with incumbent Tim Walz, D-Mankato, facing Jim Hagedorn, R-Blue Earth. Both are capable and intelligent. But experience and a thoughtful approach make incumbent Walz our endorsed choice in 2016.
On issues like the economy, the divisive nature in D.C., and terrorism, Walz displayed a more comprehensive understanding than did his challenger, Hagedorn.
With respect to housing, Walz pointed to advocating for training initiatives and the need for affordable housing to help the middle class.
Walz promoted state programs for students just out of high school, and the need to steer those students who don’t wish to take the four-year trek into professions that suit their skill sets.
He pointed to the ability to find affordable housing and the importance of budgeting for education and training options for young graduates as a means to helping the unemployed and underemployed. Walz pointed to the need to change 30 years of stagnant wages as important to helping the unemployed and underemployed gain career happiness and economic stability.
A slight edge goes to Hagedorn on the issue of special education. He spoke of the personal importance of needing to help in this area. Often federal mandates are handed down to schools yet the federal government often ignores fully funding for these mandates. Hagedorn spoke personally and from the heart of his own experiences with children and adults with special needs. He spoke of the need for the federal government to allocate money to the states and to give more power to the people who are most impacted at the ground level by these decisions.
Both Walz and Hagedorn acknowledged the friction that exists in D.C. Rep. Walz pointed to several “across the aisle” initiatives he has accomplished throughout his career with Republicans in the House or Senate, with the most recent being the St. Cloud VA and work he did with Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Delano, to bring broader attention to issues there.
While Hagedorn acknowledged the continued growing partisan divide, the endorsing committee determined that Walz had a more diverse bi-partisan history upon which he could draw.
Hagedorn had plenty to say about the Affordable Care Act. As Republicans predicted, there have been many issues with the ACA, also known as Obamacare. Hagedorn offered solutions, including giving small businesses the opportunity to buy in larger pools and to allow for an expanded marketplace, which isn’t dictated by state lines.
Hagedorn did not simply rail against the policy; he actually offered solutions. Walz has said there are components that can be fixed and other aspects that are working as intended.
Walz was more thoughtful and humane in his response to increased vetting of people entering the U.S. from countries where known terrorism takes place.
He spoke to the importance of sticking to the principles that this nation was founded upon, and the importance of fighting against hatefulness and anger.
Both acknowledged the need to address economic issues facing the middle class. Hagedorn addressed upward mobility as a key point to the solution he envisioned to rebuilding the middle class.
Walz spoke to the need to adopt policies that better serve the middle class.
Both men acknowledged racial issues facing the nation. Walz seemed to have a better grasp of the scale of the problems. His response when the endorsing committee met with him in August was thoughtful, empathetic to the complexities involved and addressed the need to give tools to both sides to help solve the problem.
Although Hagedorn is certainly a capable candidate, it is Walz’s track record and thoughtful approach to all issues that earned him our endorsement for the 1st District.
An opinion of the ECM Editorial Board