There were 6.8 billion reasons for Minnesota members of Congress to vote for the recently passed federal infrastructure bill. But Minnesota Republicans, including First District Rep. Jim Hagedorn, didn't apparently favor any of those reasons.
The Senate passed the vote 69-30 and the House passed it 228-206. Minnesota will get an estimated $6.8 billion from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, with much of it going to Minnesota roads and bridges that have been crumbling under neglect for decades.
Hagedorn's vote against the bill is particularly bad, given the investments the bill makes in rural districts like the one he represents. Two-thirds of Minnesota's money ($4.5 billion) will go to roads and bridges that were graded by the American Society of Civil Engineers as a D+ and C. But Hagedorn, in a statement on the infrastructure and Build Back Better bills, takes out his partisan bullwhip and calls these "a Trojan Horse for the Democrats to force their socialist agenda on the American people."
Minnesota will get $680 million to improve drinking water and make small-town public water facilities more efficient. The town of Waldorf in Hagedorn's district has been struggling for years to get funding for its water system, and while it finally got state money after 10 years, federal money could certainly help complete or enhance the project as well as others in many small towns throughout the First District.
As debate started in the House on the infrastructure and Build Back bills, Hagedorn called the efforts "the most radical and extreme agenda in American history."
The state will get $100 million to expand broadband, and there remain many areas of the First District without viable broadband. In a September 2020 debate, Hagedorn agreed with Democratic challenger Dan Feehan that rural broadband expansion was important and said it would get bipartisan support in Congress. But apparently not from Hagedorn, who voted against one of the biggest investments in infrastructure in years. Hagedorn did not respond to a Mankato Free Press inquiry seeking an explanation of his vote.
Thirteen of Hagedorn's Republican colleagues saw the benefits of the bill for their districts and voted with Democrats. Those Republicans were from conservative states like Nebraska, Ohio, West Virginia and Alaska, states won by Donald Trump in the last election. And of those 13 Republicans, eight had fewer Democratic voters in their districts voting against them than Hagedorn, meaning they voted with Democrats even though the number of Democratic voters in their districts is small.
Hagedorn had more people vote against him than for him in the last election, only winning because the fringe Grassroots Party got 20,000 votes. Nearly 46% of voters in his district voted for his Democratic opponent. That should compel him to heed bipartisanship a bit more. Hagedorn's vote against the infrastructure bill is a slap in the face to his constituents who would benefit from many of its provisions.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE MANKATO FREE PRESS