Party affiliation: Republican
He is also a retired salesman in the automotive parts industry. He has been a firefighter for the Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department since 1983. Hackbarth was first elected in 1994 and served one term.
He ran again in 1998, was elected, and has been re-elected every two years since then. Prior to the 2002 legislative redistricting, he represented the old District 50A. He chaired the Environment and Natural Resources Committee from 2003-2006. Hackbarth was slated to chair the House Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Committee for the legislative session beginning in 2011.
The House Republican Party caucus reneged on the chairmanship after an incident on Tuesday, November 16, 2010. On that date, Hackbarth was questioned and briefly detained by police who found him with a loaded gun, for which he had a permit to carry, acting suspiciously in a Planned Parenthood parking lot in St. Paul, Minnesota. Hackbarth stated he was looking for a girlfriend whom he had recently met through an online dating site.
Hackbarth is a key proponent of building a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings. On October 5, 2009, he announced a renewal of the effort to build a Vikings stadium without increasing taxes on Minnesota citizens. The plan proposes a constitutional amendment authorizing the use of revenue from the addition of slot machines at existing Twin Cities area horse racing facilities for Vikings stadium funding.