First congressional district candidates discuss platforms amid COVID-19

First congressional district candidates discuss platforms amid COVID-19
The seat for Minnesota's first congressional district is up for grabs this year. (Source: KEYC)

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - The seat for Minnesota’s first congressional district is up for grabs amid COVID-19; both Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R - Minnesota) and Democratic candidate Dan Feehan are responding to the pandemic ahead of the race.

Hagedorn has been focusing his attention in three main areas including agriculture, small businesses and medical care, all of which have felt the effects of COVID-19.

“With the packing plant closures, it became even worse, and now we’re having to destroy excess hogs and not even use the meat for production, so I’m working with the secretary of agriculture and my colleagues to mitigate those losses," he said.

Hagedorn said he also has his sights set on increasing serological testing and making sure rural hospitals get adequate funding.

One recent focus for Feehan’s campaign has been funding for local cities and governments.

Minnesota received over $2 billion from the CARES Act, but communities with under 500,000 people were ineligible for funding.

“When they right now are taking the absolute front of things in terms of not being able to bring in revenue, and what that leads to is that a city or town, whether it’s Mankato, Rochester, Winona or Worthington, having to make an incredibly tough budget decision on the critical care that they provide for their communities," he said.

That can include funding for police and fire departments.

“I voted for the bill that gave the state of Minnesota something like $1.8 billion that’s supposed to go to counties and localities. You know the legislature should have a role in that and decide how it’s disbursed. You know, we’ve done a lot, we sent a lot of money to the states in a number of different areas," Hagedorn said.

Feehan said he’s also working to increase access to testing for COVID-19 and hopes to make health care more affordable.

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