Rep. Jim Hagedorn bragged on Tuesday night that he supports President Donald Trump’s executive order to force meat-processing plants to stay open, even as plant workers across the country have contracted the coronavirus.

I struggle to understand Hagedorn’s interests. On Monday night, Pilgrim’s Pride workers in Cold Spring, Minnesota, walked out in protest of unsafe, inhumane working conditions, including a lack of social distancing and workers’ inability to leave the line even though they were developing symptoms of the virus.

Gross negligence and worker extortion (“leave and be fired”) on the part of Pilgrim’s Pride is disgraceful, yet Hagedorn proudly puffs out his chest to support forcing plants to stay open despite the documented evidence that meat-processing plants from Colorado to Iowa to Cold Spring are places where the virus is spreading.

Hagedorn’s disdain for Minnesotan lives and the lives as millions of Americans who will presumably eat the food processed in these plants, is the antithesis of what we Minnesotans hold dear.

Hagedorn would rather be a sycophant to Trump’s greed than serve the people he purportedly represents.

I moved here in 2018, and the Minnesotans I am proud to call my friends are community-minded, compassionate and ethical people who understand that profits pale in comparison to our lives.

Hagedorn does not care about lost wages, or he would have advocated for longer-lasting financial assistance to working-class people than his party or its leader was willing to give.

Hagedorn has proven that he has forgotten what Minnesota values, if he ever knew. I suggest he FaceTime with Gov. Tim Walz.

Misti Harper

St. Peter

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