MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - State representative elections are coming up in November, and the evolving situation has changed how Rep. Jim Hagedorn (MN-01) and Democrat Dan Feehan interact with voters.
As COVID-19 grips the country and the state, Rep. Hagedorn and Democrat Dan Feehan are continuing with community engagement as elections near this fall - albeit in different ways.
“While we have been dealing with coronavirus I’m trying to minimize this as much as possible to make sure we protect as many people as possible, and then get our economy restarted, refired and reignited as soon as possible. I’ve put aside campaigning,” says Hagedorn.
Hagedorn said he’s halted his campaign as he speaks with medical, public safety and county personnel in southern Minnesota to gauge their feelings amidst COVID-19.
The evolving situation in Minnesota has also had Feehan to adapt to the situation to reach voters.
“For a campaign, our goal is no different which is trying to reach every single person in southern Minnesota with a message that people come first and people have to come first in Washington. The way you do that is just different and you adapt to it. So we are doing things virtually as whereas we would have done them in person,” says Feehan.
Hagedorn said he also spoke with Bedford Industries in Worthington, as the company works to produce medical supplies in light of shortages.
“They needed help to knock down some of the FDA and other barriers because they wanted to produce face shields for medical personnel that could be reused, and right now I think they’re in the process of producing tens of thousands face shields that are now going to go to medical providers across the country,” says Hagedorn.
Staying engaged, Feehan said he's been volunteering at ECHO Food Shelf to deliver groceries and food supplies to residents in Mankato.
He's also staying connected to potential voters via social media to convey a sense of normalcy.
“I’ve found in these conversations that I’m doing over the phone or through a video chat, that people have things that are on their mind and they have fears, they have concerns and they have anxieties. So we’re going to be continuing that on a larger scale and just being creative on how we reach people and every community across southern Minnesota,” says Feehan.
The changing situation has forced both Hagedorn and Feehan to reevaluate how they approach constituents, but they’re continuing to speak with potential voters as elections near.