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D.C. Memo: The passing of Jim Hagedorn

Jim Hagedorn dies, a mea culpa, Minnesota House districts in play and movement on a bill to ban legislators from trading individual stocks while in office.

Rep. Jim Hagedorn, right, talking with Matt Crescenzo, owner of Bulltear Industries in Scandia.
Rep. Jim Hagedorn, right, talking with Matt Crescenzo, owner of Bulltear Industries in Scandia.
MinnPost file photo by Walker Orenstein

Yesterday I was enjoying the incredibly wacky weather in D.C. (it snowed earlier this week and Thursday I was wearing shorts to take my dog for a walk in 67 degree weather). Today, the weather turned cold and windy again, aligning more with the mood of the Minnesota news ecosystem: Last night, Minnesota lost First District Representative Jim Hagedorn.

Rep. Jim Hagedorn dies at age 59

First District Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn died Thursday night, according to a Facebook post made by his wife, Jennifer Carnahan, Friday morning.

The former Minnesota GOP chairwoman said Hagedorn passed away peacefully.

“While nothing can accurately prepare you for the unimaginable pain, intense sorrow, suffocating grief and seemingly never-ending emptiness that engulfs the entire body, soul and spirit when your forever love passes away; at least we can smile knowing Jim is smiling from heaven encouraging us to keep chasing our dreams, loving unconditionally and fighting for the country,” Carnahan wrote.

Hagedorn announced in July 2021 that his kidney cancer had returned, and in January of this year he checked into the Mayo Clinic after testing positive for COVID-19.

Minnesota’s three other Republican representatives Michelle Fischbach, Pete Stauber and Tom Emmer released a joint statement Friday morning in honor of Hagedorn.

“Jim was a dear friend who wanted nothing more than to represent the people of Minnesota’s First District in Congress. He did so every day with an unwavering passion and unshakable joy that brightened the halls of Congress and brought the best of Blue Earth to Washington. Our thoughts are with Jim’s family during this time and we will continue to pray for them. We will miss Jim dearly,” they said.

Fourth District Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum issued a statement as well.

“Jim and I served in the U.S. House during a time of many great challenges for our nation and for our state – and all the while, he bravely endured the personal challenge of cancer treatment with dignity and grace while serving our country and his constituents. Despite our policy differences on many issues, Jim and I were united in the common goal of achieving greater opportunities for future generations of Minnesotans. I want to offer my deepest condolences to Jim’s family and the people of the First Congressional District during this difficult time. The Minnesota Congressional delegation is grateful for Representative Jim Hagedorn’s service to our country,” McCollum said.

A correction from last week’s Memo

Before we get started with this week’s D.C. Memo, I wanted to let you all know that I made a mistake in my reporting last week — and that this is a good lesson for everyone to stay vigilant during election season.

Last week, I reported that Second District Rep. Angie Craig had voted against a bill in the House called the Unmask Our Kids Act. The information I reported on came from a press release from Tyler Kistner, who is a GOP candidate running for Craig’s seat in the House.

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As it turns out, Craig didn’t actually vote against the Unmask Our Kids Act.

In Congress, there are votes happening all the time, but they’re not always voting to pass bills. Often, they’re procedural votes like a motion to stop or continue debate or even voting on whether or not to bring a bill to the floor for a vote. In this particular case, members of the House were debating on a bipartisan postal service bill as well as a continuing resolution that would keep the government funded. Republicans brought a motion to stop debating those bills and instead open debate on the Unmask Our Kids Act, which had not even made it out of committee yet. Craig and many other Democrats voted “no” to that proposal.

I think it’s important to look at this situation with eyes towards the midterms: People running against Minnesota’s current representatives, including Kistner, will likely use this tactic again as it’s an easy sort of half-truth. For more examples of when this has been used in the past, check out this Washington Post article on how a conservative advocacy group made a similar bogus claim that Democrats voted against funding for Israel.

Setting the stage for the next decade

Big news for Minnesota Tuesday: redistricting results!

Following the 2020 census, Minnesota has officially outlined new congressional and state legislative districts that will be used until the next major census in 2030. MinnPost has had some great redistricting coverage this week, including five takeaways from the results from our redistricting correspondent Peter Callaghan and some interactive maps and analysis from our editor Tom Nehil and yours truly.

There were some changes, but not huge ones and to my eye and according to analysts who know a lot about redistricting, Minnesota will still have two very blue districts, four very red districts and two swing districts. Those swing districts — the Second and Third Congressional Districts, held by Democratic Reps. Angie Craig and Dean Phillips, are on the National Republican Congressional Committee’s short list of target districts for the midterm elections.

With the addition of a small part of southern Woodbury, Craig’s chances might actually be a little bit better. Running the 2020 presidential election results in the new Second District, President Biden’s margin improved by a percentage point. Of course this isn’t a guarantee of any kind — fewer people generally vote during midterm elections than presidential elections, for one thing — but it could point to some additional democratic voters for Craig.

While I am, of course, disappointed that the new boundaries do not include all of the cities and towns that I currently represent in Congress, I look forward to being the voice of several new communities across Minnesota,” Craig said in a press release. “I look forward to earning voters’ support across the new MN-02 and ensuring that they have a voice in Washington who prioritizes them over special interests and works to find common ground.”

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Another notable change, district boundaries have shifted so that all of the reservations in northern Minnesota are together in the Eighth District, instead of being split between the Seventh and Eighth.

Great news for Great Lakes

Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith announced the Environmental Protection Agency will use federal funding secured through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act to restore environmentally degraded Areas of Concern (AOC) within the Great Lakes. The funding will specifically help clean-up and work to delist the St. Louis River AOC in Duluth-Superior, the second largest AOC in the United States.

In an address in Cleveland, President Biden gave a shout-out to Duluth in reference to the federal funding now going to the Great Lakes.

“The Great Lakes are a major part of Minnesotans’ way of life, providing clean drinking water, a home for fish and wildlife, and opportunities for outdoor recreation,” Klobuchar said in a press release announcing the funding. “This critical investment will help accelerate progress toward fully delisting the St. Louis River Area of Concern in Duluth-Superior, while also combatting threats such as environmental degradation and invasive species. As one of the vice-chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, I’ll keep fighting to ensure Minnesotans can continue to safely enjoy the Great Lakes for years to come.”

“As a direct result of our work on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we now have an opportunity to make enormous progress in our efforts to clean up and restore the Great Lakes’ most environmentally degraded sites,” Smith said.

Taking stock

If you’ve been keeping up with MinnPost’s congressional coverage recently, you may remember a piece we published about Angie Craig’s effort to ban members of Congress from owning and selling individual stocks while in office. Craig’s effort is a resolution, not a bill, so it would just change the rules in the House and would not have to pass in the Senate or be signed into law by President Biden.

By Tuesday, Sens. Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer and Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy all confirmed to the public that they’re open to advancing legislation that would restrict or ban members of Congress from trading individual stocks.

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Schumer also endorsed a congressional stock-trade prohibition, saying “I would like to see it done.” 

The decade-old STOCK Act bans members of Congress from trading stocks based on knowledge they have that’s not available to the public. It seems like many leading lawmakers are now supporting a variety of stricter regulations.

What I’m Reading

  • “Disney is developing planned communities for fans who never want to leave its clutches,” The Verge. Um, what? I know it’s supposed to be the happiest place on earth and everything, but I think Disney might be taking this one too far. Then again, I know there is a community of “Disney adults” out there who already spend most of their weekends at Disney World. The first suggested location for “Storyliving by Disney” will be in California’s Coachella Valley, and will include 1,900 housing units clustered around a 24-acre “grand oasis” that includes some kind of water park as well as shopping, dining and entertainment and Disney events throughout the year. I don’t know about you, but to me this sounds like the perfect setting for a horror movie.
  • “Venus and Serena Williams on their own terms,” Harpers Bazaar. The Williams sisters have been subject to critiques from armchair experts for essentially their entire lives, but this story is an incredibly thoughtful and respectful profile of the pair. They talk about the new biopic that depicts the influence their father had on them as young tennis stars, and the piece is interwoven with commentary from the author, Tressie McMillan Cottom, describing the impact the sisters – two young Black, working class women who made it to the top of their game – had on her. “They were Black like how I was Black,” Cottom wrote. “That is why Venus and Serena smiling from a clay court felt more revolutionary than Tiger Woods would seem on the golf green when he made his professional debut a year after Serena made hers.”

That’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading. As always, please feel free to send any questions, comments or