‘Making Congress a functioning body’: Dan Feehan makes final appeal to Mower County voters

Published 8:00 am Saturday, November 3, 2018

Since Congressman Tim Walz announced his intention to run for governor, political analysts have paid close attention to the race in Minnesota’s First Congressional District, calling it a “toss-up.” With the election just days away, DFL Congressional candidate Dan Feehan is in Austin today hoping to sway voters in a divided race.

Prior to his arrival, Feehan reached out to the Herald to address issues that are at the center of the election.

Like his opponent, Republican Jim Hagedorn, Feehan said the most common issue voters have talked about is healthcare.

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“Every household in this district, whether it is someone in that house or a family member, is struggling with costs,” he said. “These are costs for plans or prescription drugs. I accept the principle that everyone should have access to affordable healthcare.”

Feehan said he supports a public option to buy into Medicare, saying that voters have expressed openness to a public option as a cheaper means.

“A public option could force insurance companies to offer cheaper plans,” he said.

Feehan addressed the tariff issue, saying he has heard “a very clear message about ending this trade war.”

“I hear farmers worried and anxious that this trade war, which is  affecting one season, may end up extending into another,” he said. “This has impacted those who have already been suffering from a tough season. Last week, we as a country exported nearly zero soybeans to China during a week when there should have been plenty to export. Soybean exports are down 97 percent. That’s a very real concern.

Feehan described the Trump administration’s tariff policies as “reckless,” saying they disproportionately affect Southern Minnesota.

“My opponent likes to raise the idea that farmers are willing to be patient,” he said. “I have never met anyone who has been willing to be patient with their paycheck.”

Feehan also said many have spoken to him about immigration reform, saying he supports a guest worker program and creating an easier path to citizenship. He spoke candidly about Hagedorn accusing him of supporting open borders, calling it “absurd.”

“I have put my life on the line twice in Iraq and spent time in the Pentagon trying to keep this country safe,” he said. “To say that I want something that would make this country unsafe is irresponsible. Border security is an important issue and I would like to talk to President Trump about keeping this country safer. I would urge for diplomacy with Central American countries to make their countries safer so they will be able keep their people.”

Feehan stated that this election was about “making Congress a functioning body of government,” calling Hagedorn “incredibly partisan” and “an extension of Trump.”

“When you have a platoon of soldiers, you don’t care about where they came from or what their beliefs are; you just want to work together to get something done,” he said. “My opponent complains about what other people do, but nothing gets done. That’s why Congress is at such a standstill. It’s status quo politics. Congress is full of Jim Hagedorns.”

“If people want a chance to elect an independent voice, this is the election in which to do it,” he added. “I don’t care if you’re a Republican, Democrat or Independent, I intend to represent you.  Congress has to be a check and balance to President Trump, to work with him when it benefits Southern Minnesota and stand up to him when it does not.”