Minnesota voter guide: Where the 1st District candidates stand on the issues

Jim Hagedorn (left) and Dan Feehan.
Republican Jim Hagedorn (left) and Democrat Dan Feehan will debate on MPR News Friday at 11 a.m.
Photos by Jerry Olson for MPR News

With Tim Walz leaving Congress to run for governor, Dan Feehan and Jim Hagedorn are vying to replace him to represent Minnesota's 1st District, which stretches east to west along the Iowa border and includes the cities of Rochester, Mankato, Winona, Owatonna, New Ulm and Worthington.

Hagedorn, a Republican who worked for years in Washington in the Treasury Department, is making his third straight run for the southern Minnesota seat.

Feehan, the Democrat, is an Army combat veteran and former teacher who served in the Obama administration. He's making his first run for office.

Here's where the two stand in some of the race's major issues.

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On President Trump

Feehan: Feehan has been critical of the president's policies, once writing that much of Trump's policy "only works to benefit a very few at the expense of working families."

Hagedorn: Hagedorn said he wants to "partner with President Trump" and appeared alongside him at a campaign rally in October.

Gun control

Feehan: He supports universal background checks for buying a gun and lifting the federal gun-violence research ban.

Hagedorn: He touts an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association and says he will "fight to protect the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms."

Health care

Feehan: Feehan wants universal health care coverage and says he'd push reforms to the Affordable Care Act to make the individual market more affordable and stable.

Hagedorn: Hagedorn wants to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in favor of "free-market solutions that will actually work such as expanding Health Savings Accounts, reining in lawsuit abuse, and granting the ability to buy health insurance across state lines."


Feehan: He supports creating a pathway to citizenship for immigrants "who pay their taxes and don't have a criminal record, holding employers who hire undocumented immigrants accountable, and developing a robust guest worker program."

Hagedorn: He said the U.S. needs to "secure our borders through physical and technological barrier." He also wants the country to stop participating in "U.N. and U.S. sponsored asylum and refugee programs until proper screening for Islamic extremists can be conducted."


Feehan: He said "reproductive health is a personal matter that shouldn't be dictated by Washington politicians."

Hagedorn: "The protection of life, including the unborn, elderly, sick and disabled, from conception to natural death, is a strongly held core belief of mine," Hagedorn said in a statement in August.

Jobs and the economy

Feehan: Feehan believes "the farm economy is the foundation of southern Minnesota." He supports a "strong farm bill" and loan forgiveness programs for farmers, as well as investments in transportation infrastructure.

Hagedorn: He says "it is not government's role to create jobs. The government's role is to create an environment in which individuals can work, save and create a better life for themselves which, in turn, creates a robust economy." Hagedorn also believes regulatory agencies burden small businesses.

Climate change

Feehan: Feehan has called climate change one of "our toughest challenges" and said "investments in clean energy create good-paying jobs, end our dependence on foreign oil, and fight climate change. It's common-sense to support wind, solar, and biofuel energy and I'm proud that southern Minnesota leads the way for our country in combating climate change."

Hagedorn: Hagedorn told WCCO he supports "an energy policy of U.S. energy independence achieved by an all of the above approach." He also said "The earth has been heating and cooling since God's creation" and called left-leaning climate policies "highly destructive" for American businesses and the economy.

Taxes and government spending

Feehan: Feehan is critical of the recent Republican tax bill, saying it helps wealthy people and corporations instead of the middle class. He also says some public investments "paved the way for breakthroughs that have had a drastic and positive impact on our country and way of life."

Hagedorn: Hagedorn wants to "reform of our corporate tax code to bring it in line with the rest of the world" and "create a tax code that is understandable, fair and equitable for all Americans." He also believes in people "living within their means" and applies that thinking to government spending.