ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Dan Feehan and now Congressman Jim Hagedorn faced off in a tight election two years ago in the battle for Minnesota's 1st Congressional District. They expect to do the same again this year.
Ahead of a series of debates this fall, Dan Feehan made a stop through Rochester to visit Mayo Clinic. He was critical of his opponent's actions before and after taking office.
"It is a race about whether people will be put first or not. We have an opponent that puts people last. We have an opponent in Mr. Hagedorn whose votes can be bought by pharmaceutical or insurance companies," Feehan said. "If you've noticed over the last month, he's been involved in a scandal involving nearly a half million dollars of our taxpayer dollars."
The middle of a pandemic is a time when people look to their government for help.
"They're wondering where the relief is going to come," the DFL candidate said. "We have to start with a running start in the next Congress to deliver affordable health care for people, affordable prescription drugs and an economy that's actually working for them."
He says Minnesotans are doing their parts to stop to the virus but that the federal government should be doing more to help.
"Minnesota will only do as well as that federal response allows us to do," Feehan said. "Our federal government owes us a testing strategy, a tracing strategy so we know where the virus is and adequate PPE for our hospitals and now our schools on top of that."
He was critical of the state legislature, saying more should have been done to help Minnesotans face the pandemic. He believes his time as a soldier will help him be a voice of compromise in a similarly divided Congress.
"That's the approach I take with Congress. We are going to have some differences in Washington," the veteran said. "At the end of the day, you don't have the option of not getting things done. I certainly didn't in Iraq. I didn't as a teacher. I didn't serving in the Pentagon. You didn't have the option of saying 'I disagree with you' and get nothing done."
No matter if the people of the first district side with Biden or Trump for president, Feehan claims his mission is the same.
"I am focused on the idea that no matter who the President after November, I'm going to be an independent voice for southern Minnesota," Feehan said. "That's why I'm running. To fight for the people of this district because they're not being fought for when it comes to it."
Feehan will face off against Rep. Hagedorn in a series of debates that begins later this month. At least two of the debates will be televised and are scheduled to start Sept. 27.
KTTC will speak with Hagedorn about his policy priorities in the coming days.