Jim Hagedorn was born in Blue Earth, Minnesota, in 1962, to parents Thomas, a grain and livestock farmer, and Kathleen, a homemaker. Jim’s grandparents, Fred and Viola Mittelstadt and Pete and Elaine Hagedorn, were all lifelong Blue Earth residents.
In 1963 the family moved from Blue Earth to their 160 acre grain and hog farm located just outside the small town of Truman.
Jim’s formative years were spent on the Truman farm. His father and grandfather were full-time farmers and, as partners, regularly worked 1,000 acres or more. Jim helped work the land, walk the bean fields, feed the hogs, maintain the property, and developed a firsthand understanding of farming and the business side of agriculture.
In 1974, Jim’s father was elected to Congress to represent southern Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District. Shortly thereafter the family began splitting time between Washington, D.C. and Minnesota – spending the school year in the Virginia suburbs of DC and returning each summer to the Truman farm.
While attending Langley, a public high school, Jim was a member of the varsity tennis team and excelled in political debate. During high school, Jim saved for college and his first automobile (a 1969 Mustang convertible that he still owns) by delivering newspapers, mowing lawns, and teaching tennis as an assistant professional.
Throughout Thomas Hagedorn’s congressional career, Jim learned about national politics firsthand and interacted with notable politicians and famous leaders, including Jack Kemp, Henry Hyde and Ronald Reagan, who, along with his father, are Jim’s political heroes. Jim met candidate Reagan in 1979 at a Hagedorn Mankato fundraiser and then again in 1981 when President Reagan invited Jim and his father to the Oval Office to discuss a letter-to-the editor that Jim had written in defense of Reagan economic policies.
Beginning at age 18, Jim worked full-time jobs as a busboy and telephone salesman to self-finance his education. Jim was accepted to George Mason University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Politics.
In 1984, Jim was hired as the legislative assistant to former Minnesota Republican Congressman Arlan Stangeland. Jim handled an array of issues and successfully managed the Congressman’s legislative agenda, including stewardship of H.R. 916, a 1987-88 bipartisan “workfare” bill that required able-bodied welfare recipients to work for benefits. This bill was conceptually enacted into law shortly after Republicans won control of the House of Representatives in 1994.
From 1991 to 1998, Jim served as the Director for Legislative and Public Affairs for the Financial Management Service, the U.S. Department of the Treasury agency responsible for the management of more than $2 trillion in Federal funds.
Next, Jim accepted a position as Congressional Affairs Officer for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Department of the Treasury agency that manufactures U.S. paper currency. Again, Jim successfully combined his legislative expertise and executive Treasury position to work with the Congress to enact legislation designed to drive down costs.
In 2005 Jim thwarted a Bush administration policy to merge the nation’s coin and currency agencies, an idea that would have cost taxpayers $500 million for no added value, and transferred power from career civil servants to partisan political appointees. At great risk to his career, Jim crafted an appropriations provision and worked with the Congress and interested parties, including unions, to prohibit the use of federal funds to merge the Bureau of Engraving and Printing into the United States Mint. This spending prohibition remains in force today and for this accomplishment Jim enjoys support from both management and organized labor.
In a December 2016 speech to the Minnesota Republican Party’s State Central Committee Hagedorn announced his commitment to running for a third consecutive election cycle. Hagedorn’s back-to-back-to-back campaigns follow successful similar efforts undertaken by former Minnesota Congressman John Kline, current Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson and former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich.
Jim resides in Blue Earth.