Republican Rep. James Hagedorn died Thursday night at age 59 after a lengthy fight with kidney cancer, his wife announced Friday.
“It is with a broken heart, shattered spirit and overwhelming sadness I share my husband Congressman Jim Hagedorn passed away peacefully last night,” the late congressman’s wife Jennifer Carnahan wrote in a Friday post on Facebook. “Jim loved our country and loved representing the people of southern Minnesota.”
Carnahan is a former chairwoman of the Minnesota Republican Party and the state party’s first Asian-American chairperson.
“Every moment of every day he lived his dream by serving others. There was no stronger conservative in our state than my husband; and it showed in how he voted, led and fought for our country,” she wrote.
Hagedorn was a “loving husband, son, brother, uncle, cousin, nephew, friend, brother-in-law, son-in-law, Vikings, Penguins and Twins fan and will be missed and remembered by many,” Carnahan added.
“During his service, Jim’s focus was always on the priorities of the region: agriculture, small business, transportation, and our world class health care system,” Hagedorn’s campaign said in a statement shared with the Minnesotan outlet Star Tribune.
“Moreover, he’ll forever be known as a commonsense conservative who championed fair tax policy, American energy independence, Peace Through Strength foreign policy, and southern Minnesota’s way of life and values,” the campaign said, according to the outlet.
During his time in Congress, representing Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District, Hagedorn served in the House Committees on Agriculture and Small Business.
He was a strong supporter of former President Donald Trump, with his votes in Congress throughout his career aligning 94.4 percent with Trump’s positions, according to the statistical website FiveThirtyEight.
In both Congressional votes to impeach Trump during the 116th and 117th Congress, Hagedorn voted against impeachment.
In 2021, he voted against certifying the controversial and contested election of President Joe Biden, aligning with Trump’s opposition to Pennsylvania and Arizona’s presidential electors.
Jim is the son of Tom Hagedorn, who served as the House Representative for Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District from 1975-1983. Born 1962 in Blue Earth, Minnesota, Jim spent most of his early years in the family’s 160-acre grain and livestock farm.
His political career began in 1984 when he worked with Republican Congressman Arlan Stangeland, then representing Minnesota’s Seventh District, as a legislative assistant.
He had also spent time working as a civil servant, serving as a congressional affairs officer for two U.S. Department of the Treasury agencies.
Jim was sworn in as a representative for Minnesota’s First Congressional District in January 2019, after he beat Democratic competitor Dan Feehan in 2018. He was re-elected in 2020 after he beat Grassroots Party opponent Bill Rood.
Forty-five days after being sworn in in 2019, Hagedorn was diagnosed with advanced kidney cancer, for which he received immunotherapy treatment for over eighteen months at Mayo Clinic.
In December 2020, according to the Tribune, he underwent elective surgery to remove a kidney and surrounding cancerous tissue.
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