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Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 6/22
As we embraced the first day of summer this week, we also faced the harsh reality of severe weather in our communities and my thoughts are with the friends and families who were impacted by the recent storms. This week's newsletter will also cover recent legislation for the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, provide a farm bill update, and congratulate the 7th District Art Competition winner.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Severe Weather Strikes Minnesota
This week many communities in Minnesota experienced severe thunderstorms, high winds, and even hail in some areas. Significant damage could be seen on farms and main streets across the state. Many folks were without power for days as transmission lines and power poles were damaged during the storms, and others were stranded as many roads became too flooded for safe travel. No serious injuries or deaths have been reported.
Photos courtesy of Jenny Berg, Litchfield Independent
MN Chippewa Tribe Settlement Legislation
6/21: Chairwoman Erma Vizenor (White Earth Nation)
On Monday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed my bill H.R. 1272, The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Judgment Fund Distribution Act. Thirteen years ago, the United States Court of Federal Claims awarded and appropriated $20 million to the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. This settlement appropriation was to compensate the descendants of the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota for the improper valuation of timber and the taking of land under the Nelson Act of 1889. Now, because of the Indian Judgment Fund Act of 1983, Congress must pass legislation detailing how the settlement should be distributed among the six Bands that make up this Tribe. I am happy to see that this settlement is finally moving forward, and now that it's been sent to the Senate I am hopeful these funds can soon be put to work within these communities. There is a great need on these Reservations for schools, health care facilities and infrastructure improvements. It is time for everyone to come together and find an agreement that maybe not everyone will love, but everyone can benefit from.
Peterson Speaks on U.S. House Floor - Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Judgment Fund Distribution Act of 2012 (video clip)
Farm Bill Update
The Senate on Thursday approved a bipartisan farm bill, passing the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 on a vote of 64-35. The Senate vote is an important step to having a farm bill in place before the current bill expires this fall. I give high marks to Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Roberts who did an excellent job securing bipartisan support and bringing the bill one step closer to completion. I’m not on board with everything they’ve done but think that we’ll be able to work out our differences in conference committee.
Meanwhile, the House Agriculture Committee is scheduled to mark-up our version of the farm bill on July 11. It is crucial that we finish the farm bill before the current bill expires in September. Waiting until the mess that will occur during the lame duck session will not only make it more difficult, but could also result in several unintended consequences. If the House Ag Committee passes a bipartisan bill in early July, House leadership will then have little choice but to bring the farm bill to the floor before the August recess. I’m continuing to work with Chairman Lucas and members of the Committee to make this happen.
Red River Farm Network (audio clip): http://farmpolicy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/RRFNPetersonFrmBl12June19.mp3
Valley News Live (video clip): http://www.valleynewslive.com/story/18852325/farm-bill-clears-senate
Valley News Live Web Extra (video clip): http://www.valleynewslive.com/story/18856475/collin-peterson-web-extra
Congressional Art Competition
Jena Rader visited my Washington office this week. Jena and her family stood proudly next to her artwork in the Cannon tunnel.
Congratulations to Jena Rader from Frazee! Her artwork, a photograph entitled "Just Another School Day," was taken from inside her school and looks out the exit doors to a snow covered street. Jena's piece is hung alongside the artwork submitted by hundreds of other high school students from across the nation, each representing a Congressional district. The artwork decorates the underground walkway between U.S. House office buildings and leads to the U.S. Capitol.
The Anniversary of the Ratification of the U.S. Constitution
As the Fourth of July is fast approaching, it is important to remember that on June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth and last necessary state to ratify the Constitution of the United States, thereby making the document the law of the land. As we prepare to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, let's also reflect on the other document that provides us with civil liberties and the functions of government.
MN Women Veterans Day
Women in Military Service for America Memorial (Arlington Cemetery)
This year we marked the first annual Minnesota Women Veterans Day on June 18, 2012. This holiday recognizes the more than 23,000 Minnesota women who have served our State and Nation. Women have served our Nation for hundreds of years and bravely defended our Nation long before they even had the right to vote. While some were unable to serve in combat, their service was invaluable and they deserve our recognition.
6/22: I attended the Minnesota State Convention for the National Association of Postmasters of the United States (NAPUS) in Detroit Lakes. Through the budget deficit debates, I have been a strong supporter of maintaining rural post office operations and continuing the 6 day delivery schedule. I voiced my concerns about how the proposed closure of post offices would have a devastating impact on rural communities - I am glad the USPS agreed and decided not to follow through with this plan. Pictured here: Renee Ingersoll (Postmaster Moorhead), Clarence Gagner (Retired Postmaster Red Lake Falls). Daniel Heins, (President of MN NAPUS).
6/20: I had the pleasure of meeting high school students from the 7th District who traveled to Washington D.C. with the Minnesota Rural Electric Association. These students won contests sponsored by their local electric co-op to earn the opportunity to attend. They joined nearly 1,500 students from across the nation who also represented their electric co-ops during this annual event.
6/21: Rosemary Bot (Cottonwood) and her family visited Washington this week. Rosemary is the niece of former Congressman John Zwach (Redwood Falls) who served in the Minnesota Legislature for 32 years and was elected to represent the 6th District of Minnesota as a Congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives. Zwach retired from office in 1975. Pictured here are Rosemary and her family in front of 1502 Longworth Building, the office her uncle worked in decades ago when he was a member of Congress. The office now belongs to Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer, an avid bike-to-work proponent who gave the family bicycle pins. Also pictured is Congressman John Zwach at the time of the 90th Congress (1967-1969).
6/20: I met with members of Growth Energy to hear an update on the ethanol industry and discuss pending legislation, including the farm bill. Tom Buis (CEO Growth Energy) and DeVonna Zeug (National Corn Growers Association Research and Business Development Action Team Chair/Bd Member of MN Corn Growers Association)
6/20: I met with Minnesota members of the American Seed Trade Association as part of their 129th Annual Convention. Pictured here: Nebiyu Elias (Burnsville), Jenny Heck (University of MN-Twin Cities), Garth Kaste (Kaste Seed, Inc.-Fertile)
Photo courtesy of ZimmComm New Media
6/21: Families from the 7th District gathered in the Capitol Visitors Center before they headed out on their tour of the U.S. Capitol. They are pictured in front of the statue of Maria Sanford, a Puritan educator who was dedicated to women's rights and became the first female professor at the University of Minnesota. She taught for twenty-nine years as Professor of Rhetoric and Elocution. Her bronze statue stands in the Hall of Fame in the Capitol Visitors Center as one of the two statues representing our state.