In response to a question at a town hall in Spring Valley, Minnesota on Jan. 25, U.S. Rep Jim Hagedorn, R-Minn., stated that food insecure Minnesotans should “fend for themselves,” instead of relying on programs such as SNAP and free and reduced school lunch programs.
Hagedorn’s recent comments fall in line with his long history of admonishing food insecure residents of Minnesota, typically children and the poor, for relying on programs to help curb the cost of rising food prices across the country. In April 2019, Hagedorn stated, “Nobody (in America) goes to sleep at night wondering if they’ll be able to feed their families.”
According to an Agriculture Department study, in Hagedorn’s home state of Minnesota between 2015 and 2017, roughly 210,000 households were “food insecure,” which the department defines as those “unable to acquire adequate food for one or more household members because they have insufficient money or other resources.”
Nationally, the study found that 15 million households — 11.8 percent — were food insecure in 2017.
The USDA estimated that 4.8 percent of U.S. and 3.7 percent of Minnesota households had “very low food security” in 2017, which it defines as households in which “the eating patterns of one or more household members are disrupted and their food intake reduced, at least some time during the year, because they cannot afford enough food.”
In 2018, Hagedorn won his congressional race by just .4% — or under 2,000 votes. Should he hope for reelection, he will need the support of thousands of Minnesotans who currently rely on these programs just to put food on the table — and with comments like these, it remains unclear whether he will get them.