Rep. Jim Hagedorn, a Minnesota Republican in his second term in Congress and on the House Agriculture Committee, died Thursday after a three-year battle with kidney cancer. He was 59.
Hagedorn’s wife, Jennifer Carnahan, said in a Facebook post that Hagedorn passed away peacefully Thursday night. Hagedorn was first diagnosed in Feb. 2019, just six weeks into his tenure as a member of Congress. He announced his diagnosis publicly one year later after receiving immunotherapy treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., the world-renowned medical facility in his district.
In July, Hagedorn announced a reoccurrence of the cancer, news he called “surprising considering that just 14 weeks ago no cancer was detected.”
Hagedorn was elected to represent the 1st District in 2018 following the retirement of Tim Walz, a Democrat who retired from Congress to run for governor of the state. He followed his father Tom — himself a four-term member of Congress — into public service and worked on Capitol Hill and in the Treasury Department before his run for Congress.
“Jim loved our country and loved representing the people of southern Minnesota,” Carnahan said. “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.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., called Hagedorn "a patriot who will be remembered for his strong Christian faith, his deep passion for serving others, and his joyful spirit."
"Jim lived and breathed the spirit of determined optimism that is embedded in the American way of life all the way till the end," McCarthy said in a statement. "Even while battling cancer, Jim never stopped working to better the lives of his constituents and his fellow Americans. He always put others ahead of himself."
House Ag Committee Ranking Member Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., said Hagedorn was a "tireless advocate on behalf of our nation's farmers, ranchers, producers, and foresters."
"I consider Jim a dear friend and I am honored to have known him and worked alongside him since 2019," Thompson said. "His contagious personality and cheerful sense of humor will be missed on the Committee and in the halls of Congress for years to come."
Minnesota's other GOP members of Congress, Tom Emmer, Michelle Fischbach and Pete Stauber released a joint statement saying Hagedorn represented his district "every day with an unwavering passion and unshakable joy that brightened the halls of Congress and brought the best of Blue Earth to Washington. Our thoughts are with Jim’s family during this time and we will continue to pray for them."
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