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Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 8/3
North of Crookston - August 1, 2012
As we usher in the new month, we also celebrate our Nation's athletes on an international stage. Whether we watch online or on television, the 2012 London Olympics are an exciting opportunity for us to come together as a Nation and cheer for those who represent us in athletic competition. This newsletter will highlight some individuals from the 7th District who are making an impact in this year's Olympics: a track and field star from Melrose, a basketball sensation from Hutchinson, and a farmer-turned-manufacturer from Moorhead. Detroit Lakes celebrates the 30th annual WE Fest throughout the weekend, a festival that many friends and families have enjoyed for years. This week's newsletter also contains a floor update, information on drought assistance, and the 2012 Farm Bill.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Minnesota's 7th District and the 2012 OLYMPICS
Amanda Smock: Olympic athlete from MELROSE
Photo courtesy of USOC/Long Photography
Amanda Smock is the only American who qualified to compete in the women's triple jump for Team USA, and she is proud to have her roots in the town of Melrose. Smock graduated from Melrose High School and attended North Dakota State, where she met her former college teammate and now husband, Greg Smock. Her successes have not come without struggle. Smock failed to make the Olympic Team in 2008 and considered abandoning her Olympic dream, but her father was steadfast in his belief that she would one day be an Olympic athlete. He took his security credential from the 2008 games and crossed off the year, writing in "2012" instead. While Smock's father lost his battle with cancer following the 2008 Trials, Smock finds daily inspiration from this memento which she keeps hanging in her closet. Inspired by the memory of her father, Smock went on to win the 2012 Olympic Trials and got her ticket to London. Before she left for England to train, Smock rode in Melrose's Riverfest parade. She signed autographs and talked to people in the crowd, many of whom sported "Team Smock" t-shirts. In honor of Smock's accomplishments, the city of Melrose is holding a silent auction throughout the Summer Games with 23 Olympic flags signed by Smock; the proceeds will go to the town's park program. Smock recently celebrated her 30th birthday on the day of London's Opening Ceremonies, July 27. To learn more about Amanda and her father, read this recent article: http://www.nbcolympics.com/kare/news-blogs/track-and-field/amanda-smock-draws-inspiration-from-late-father.html
Lindsay Whalen: WNBA Star and Olympic athlete from HUTCHINSON
Photo courtesy of USOC/Long Photography
Lindsay Whalen is a guard on the Minnesota Lynx and a renowned women's basketball star who was born in Hutchinson. She is the daughter of Neil and Kathy Whalen of Hutchinson. Whalen attended Hutchinson High School and was a four-time All-Minnesota Conference selection. She played her college ball at the University of Minnesota and brought the lady Gophers to their first NCAA Women's Final Four in the school's history in 2004. That same year she was drafted No. 4 by the Connecticut Sun, and later was traded to the Minnesota Lynx in 2010. Whalen married her husband, Ben Greve (also a University of Minnesota graduate), in 2008 with the wedding taking place in Hutchinson. This year the United States women's team defends its gold medal, and the Minnesota Lynx has three players on the 12-women Olympic team - that's more than any other WNBA team. Whalen's parents are in England to experience the Games firsthand and support their daughter. When asked about her favorite pregame meals, Whalen says her favorite on game day is peanut butter and jelly. To read an article written by Whalen on 7/29/2012 about her experience so far in the 2012 Olympics, visit http://www.twincities.com/sports/ci_21187772/lindsay-whalen-at-olympics-sunday-july-29
Dave Karlstrom: Builds weight-lifting machines in MOORHEAD to keep athletes in shape for London Games
A training center for Olympic athletes in England recently purchased a bench machine from Cormax, a company founded by former sugar beet farmer Dave Karlstrom. Karlstrom started building bench presses using a welder in the workshop of his family's farm just a few years after he graduated from Moorhead High School in 1973. The key to the unique design according to Karlstrom is that Cormax machines allow athletes to achieve maximum muscle speed by allowing users to throw weights without worrying about the weight falling on them. This is possible because of a hydraulic cylinder that lowers the weights slowly back into place. Beyond the recent acquisition by the Performance Centre in London, Cormax machines are also used by local high schools as well professional sports teams like the Indianapolis Colts and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Disaster Assistance and Farm Bill Update
Highway 71 near Blomkest - August 3, 2012
The House on Thursday passed H.R. 6233, the Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act to provide assistance for livestock producers affected by drought. I voted in favor of H.R. 6233 but think the bill is a sad substitute for what is really needed: long-term farm policy. The House still has not brought up the Agriculture Committee’s five-year farm bill. I will continue to urge my colleagues to bring up the bill in September to ensure that all producers will have the necessary assistance during times of disaster. Floor speech on Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act.
Government Resources Available in Difficult Financial Times
If times are tough for you and your family, USA.gov can help connect you with the tools and information you need to get back on your feet. The website will highlight government resources that will help you with
- unemployment, jobs, and training;
- debt and credit;
- family issues; and
- health care and insurance
Learn more about these topics. For a limited time, you can sign up for free to receive three to four e-mails per week that may help you manage your financial situation. If you have questions, click here to contact USA.gov
Attacking Crime by Increasing Local Law Enforcement Agencies
The House of Representatives passed two bills that will help local law enforcement agencies obtain equipment and retain officers. I have been a long time supporter of H.R. 6062, Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program Reauthorization Act programs. The Byrne-JAG grant program is the primary provider of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions, and offers resources to support a wide range of law enforcement activities including prosecution, prevention, education, planning, corrections, treatment, evaluation, and technology. These grants are essential and have become the life blood for rural law enforcement agencies. H.R. 1550, Federal Law Enforcement Recruitment and Retention Act, will help States with high rates of homicide and other violent crime to recruit and retain officers in an attempt to lower their crime rates.
H.R. 8, Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012
Congress needs to have real discussions about real solutions to our fiscal problems and stop kicking the can down the road. I support comprehensive budget reform that puts everything on the table including tax reform, defense spending, entitlements, and domestic spending. I supported H.R. 8 to provide some short-term certainty to all Americans while we work to get our federal budget under control. Extending the current lower tax rates for all Americans for one year will provide time for Congress to complete comprehensive tax reform.
Keeping Our Children Safe
Two bills also passed the House of Representatives this week that will go a long way in keeping our children safe. The first piece of legislation, H.R. 6063, Child Protection Act, would increase the penalties for possession of child pornography and child exploitation offenses. H.R. 3796, Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act, reauthorizes the Adam Walsh Act for another 5 years. These programs will make it more difficult for sex offenders to take advantage of holes in our law enforcement system to avoid detection. These programs are crucial in efforts to complete and enforce the national network of sex offender registries. We must give our U.S. Marshals and law enforcement officials the tools they need to assist local partners in apprehending sex offenders.
WE Fest Celebrates 30 Years
Photo courtesy of Seth Johnson, Fergus Falls Daily Journal
Congratulations to WE Fest on 30 years of putting on one of the largest country music festivals in the country! This country music festival has a rich history in Detroit Lakes. 1984 was the first year of this now annual festival, and back then the event kicked off with Alabama driving their tour bus in a parade down Main Street. In the decades since then, the town has hosted music stars like Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, and Tim McGraw. This week's WE Fest hosts headliners Jason Aldean, Toby Keith, and Alabama. To learn more about the history of WE Fest, check out this video: http://video.pioneer.org/video/2247252126/. You can also read an oral history of WE Fest here: http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/music/163943396.html#
Performing with my congressional band, the "Second Amendments", at WE Fest in 2005.
St. Vincent Celebrates 155th: 7/28-29
Recently the St. Vincent community celebrated the 155th anniversary of their town. Located in Kittson County, St. Vincent is one of the oldest settlements in the State of Minnesota. The town is located directly across the Red River from Pembina, was settled in 1857 and remains the westernmost community in Minnesota. With rumors of a railroad coming through, settlers moved across the river from Pembina. Many of these early settlers were Metis, a mixture of native and naturalized North Americans. Nearly twenty years later, in 1878, the St. Paul & Pacific Railroad line finally reached St. Vincent and opened up the area to settlement; that same year its post office began.
As they celebrated their town, residents reconnected with old friends and family as they took this time to remember the town and what it meant to those they care about who lived in it and nearby. They viewed displays of photos, memorabilia, slide shows, artifacts, and shared a meal. Scheduled events included a walking tour of the cemetery, historical displays, and a Pig Roast Dinner and pancake breakfast at the Pembina Fire Hall. To learn more about the history of St. Vincent, visit their blog of memories at http://56755.blogspot.com
Meeting with Healthland (7/31) Pictured above: Tracey Schroeder (Senior VP of Marketing), Angie Franks (President and CEO), Rusty Hensley (General Counsel)
I met with Healthland this week and was impressed to see this thriving company come out of the 7th District. Healthland (formerly Dairyland Healthcare Solutions) is Minnesota's leading software developer for electronic medical records for Critical Access Hospitals. Healthland is a fully-integrated electronic health record software developer founded in 1980 in GLENWOOD. They employ over 300 people and 75 of those are located in their Glenwood headquarters. I believe economic growth does not come from getting large companies to relocate but by encouraging small companies and branches to grow.
Meeting 8/1 with Lewis and Clark Regional Water System representatives Red Arndt (Minnesota Directors Chairman) and Troy Larson (Executive Director) to discuss the importance of rural water