Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 11/11/2019
Agriculture Town Hall meeting in Moorhead
Today is Veterans Day. As a veteran myself, I know the great sacrifice our vets have made for our country, which is why I joined the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee this Congress. It is important that we address the health needs of our veterans, especially in rural areas, and provide oversight on important programs that impact our vets. I want to make sure that veterans get the care and recognition they deserve. On Tuesday, I hosted a meeting in Crookston with sugar and potato growers to hear about the problems they are having with this year’s harvest. On Friday, I hosted the Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary Bill Northey in Moorhead to talk to farmers about crop disasters and the potential for federal aid. I also met with Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Director Margaret Everson and the American Crystal Sugar Board. I have been hearing a lot about the struggles farmers are facing with this year’s harvest, which is why I led a delegation letter to the USDA requesting aid for farmers that are struggling with flooding.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Serving the 7th
Minnesota Delegation Requests Aid for Farmers Struggling with Flooding
I led the Minnesota Congressional Delegation’s effort to secure a USDA disaster declaration for Minnesota farmers. In our letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, we offered our support of Minnesota’s request for a secretarial disaster declaration and described how wet weather has created significant harvest burdens for our farmers. A disaster declaration will provide much needed financial support during this difficult time and open the door to eligibility for important disaster programs like WHIP+.
Town Hall Meeting in Crookston
I hosted a town hall meeting in Crookston last Tuesday to hear from farmers about harvest conditions. Potato and sugarbeet farmers told me that this fall has been extremely difficult, because rain and flooding has kept them out of the field. Low temperatures freezing the soil makes harvesting the remaining acres next to impossible. We discussed options for disaster assistance and the decision making process that is likely to occur at USDA over the coming weeks.
Fish and Wildlife Service Roundtable
LEFT: Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Director Margaret Everson and RIGHT: Roundtable with local officials
On Friday morning, I hosted a round table discussion in Watson with Margaret Everson, Principal Deputy Director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Several farmers, landowners and county commissioners from West Central Minnesota shared their frustrations regarding easements and flooding, among other issues.
American Crystal Sugar Meeting
On Friday, I met with the American Crystal Sugar Board Meeting and Senator Hoeven about the operation of the WHIP+ program. It is important to hear about disaster assistance programs to make sure our farmers can get the federal aid they need.
Agriculture Town Hall
Friday afternoon, I hosted an Agriculture Town Hall meeting in Moorhead with United States Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Northey. I heard from local farmers, agriculture and community groups, and American Crystal Sugar about the Market Facilitation Program.
Health Care Meetings
National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
Susan Warner (PAYNESVILLE), Rebekah Solem, Jo Debruycker (WILLMAR)
Minnesota representatives of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners visited my Washington office this week to talk about a number of issues. They expressed concerns about youth vaping and possible actions that could be taken, and also discussed legislation that would promote research and education on vaccines. The pediatric nurse practitioners also talked about workforce issues and how NPs fill a need in rural areas of Minnesota. The group also brought up my past support for funding the nursing program at St. Cloud State University and thanked me for my efforts.
Kidney Community Advocates
Ian Rockwell (Washington, DC), Maria Regnier (HAWLEY), Rebekah Solem
For Kidney Community Advocacy Day, advocates including National Renal Administrators Association President Maria Regnier (HAWLEY) met with my staff in Washington. The group supported the recent attention given by the federal government to kidney care but also expressed some concerns with aspects of the executive order's metrics that could negatively impact smaller dialysis units. Advocates highlighted legislation impacting living donors and also discussed workforce shortages and the high costs of medication.
Good Samaritan Society
Dan Holdhusen, Corey Brown, Rebekah Solem, Tom Syverson
Representatives of the Good Samaritan Society and Sanford Health stopped by my Washington office this week to talk about the two organizations merging and the benefits this will have for health care. For example, bringing together hospitals and nursing homes into one system allows the non-profit to cover the full spectrum of life. They discussed specific issues including home- and community-based services as well as workforce issues.
Department of Veterans’ Affairs in the District
Over the course of the week, my staff Meg Louwagie attended a handful of veterans affairs meetings throughout the district. Dr. Brent A. Thelen was inducted as the St. Cloud VA Health Care System Director and he has been with the Department of Veterans Affairs for over 16 years. The St. Cloud VA operates Community Based Outpatient Clinics in Alexandria, Montevideo, and Brainerd. Meg also attended a Community Veteran Service Officer Meeting where they discussed a range of topics regarding the St. Cloud VA System, and was present for a retirement ceremony for Colonel Anthony G. Polashek.
Roots of the Red River Valley
At the University of Minnesota-Crookston, you can see a pictorial history of the sugar beet harvest in Polk County near Fisher and Crookston. The photographs were taken by Russell Lee and were selected by the Library of Congress. The first processing plant was built in 1936 in East Grand Forks.
Last week, I asked for your thoughts on government shutdowns. Here is what you had to say:
Monday is Veterans Day. As a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, it is important that Congress continues its work to improve services and opportunities for our veterans. The United States will spend $208 billion on the Department of Veteran’s Affairs this year. Yet, more than 1.5 times that much has already been spent on servicing our national debt. Without our unsustainable debt, we could put more money towards programs that serve our veterans.
As a fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrat, I have continually supported a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, which would require Congress to get our fiscal house in order. I have also fought for Pay-As-You-Go legislation to ensure legislation doesn’t add to our debt and recently voted against the Democratic budget which would have worsened our fiscal situation.
Veterans’ Day is Call to Action
This Veterans Day, I want to add my voice to those offering their thanks to the brave men and women who have worn our nation’s uniform. This Congress, I joined the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee, where we have been working tirelessly for our Veterans. We have held 25 hearings and passed 24 bills out of the House on behalf of our veterans, focusing on a variety of benefits and issues concerning veterans. I am proud of the work the Veterans’ Affairs committee has done, and I will continue to work on behalf our veterans.
EPA Seeks Nominations for Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Advisory Committee
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking 20 to 30 people to serve on its Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee (FRRCC). The agency is looking for farmers, ranchers, representatives of farm groups, rural suppliers, marketers, processors, individuals from the environmental and agricultural academic community, tribal agriculture groups, state, local, and tribal governments, and conservation and other nongovernmental organizations. The committee will address issues that include food waste, water or air quality issues, pesticides, toxics, enforcement, and compliance, technology, and innovation.
Submissions are due by December 31st. Click here to read more.
News and Views with Joel Heitkamp
On Thursday, I sat down with Joel Heitkamp to discuss ongoing agriculture issues and my vote on impeachment.
Alzheimer’s Awareness Month
November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and my office did their part to “Light the World Teal” on Thursday. Teal is the Alzheimer Foundation of America (AFA) awareness color. Visit alzfdn.org for more information of Alzheimer’s and the resources that are available.
This Week in History
On November 11th, 1919, The American Legion held its first convention in Minneapolis. The convention began on November 10th and ended the next day.
Visitors from Minnesota’s 7th
The Gritzmachers from Bemidji