About 20 constituents came together on July 25, 2019 to share our concerns about student debt and hunger here in CD-1. When Rep. Hagedorn and his staff close themselves off from voices in the district, they remain under-informed about the issues facing constituents and are, therefore, incapable of addressing them. Jim Hagedorn, HEAR OUR VOICES!
In 2018, a MSU survey found that almost one third of its students had trouble affording food. Rep. Jim Hagedorn caused quite a stir a few months ago when I claimed that people don't go hungry in southern Minnesota. Since then, he has doubled down on these claims saying it was praise for the productivity of Minnesota farmers. No word about the fact that many people can not afford to buy that food. And at our last meeting with his staff, they did not seem to have any knowledge that student hunger was even a problem.
On the debilitating student debt, Hagedorn has said, in essence, it's their own fault. They chose poorly. And during a visit to a group of low-income high school students, he said that they should not expect the government to help them shoulder the cost of college.
As state legislatures cut support for higher education, tuition is rising at astronomical rates at the same time that a college degree is increasingly mandatory for stable wages and participation in the workforce. Sky-high student loans and interest rates are crippling workers just starting out who, instead of investing in homes and businesses and starting families, are drowning in debt.
People cannot be free if they can’t afford the lives they want to lead. And a democracy like ours cannot function without an informed, educated citizenry.
And now, Trump is threatening to kick $3 million people of food stamps. “The new proposal says that if your gross income is 130 percent above the federal poverty line — for a single person, that's a little more than $16,000 — and if you have more than $2,250 in assets, you will no longer be able to receive benefits.”
We call on Rep. Hagedorn to make a statement acknowledging the problem of student poverty and hunger in our district and pledge to vote against any proposal that would deny your constituents access to life-supporting programs like SNAP.