Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 7/22/2019
Abigail, Karl and Samantha Nelsen - National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias
Last week, I voted to reauthorize critical national security programs operated by our intelligence agencies. These programs improve our strategic positioning with other nations and enhance the security of the American people. On Wednesday, I met with the Minnesota Pork Producers Association, the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the Minnesota Corn Growers Association to discuss our support of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and our efforts to build support for the agreement in Congress. I met with the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias to talk about the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act. I authored this bill to ensure that children born with congenital anomalies have access to medically necessary dental work. The Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act has over 160 cosponsors and I will continue working to build support for this effort.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Serving the 7th
The federal government frequently solicits applications for a range of grant programs. Information about funding opportunities for local, county and state governments, as well as individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations are listed at www.grants.gov. There you can find eligibility and program requirements, application documents, and timelines for most federal grants.
If you or your organization are considering applying for a federal grant, contact my Outreach Director Jacki Anderson at Jacki.Anderson@mail.house.gov or my Washington, D.C. Office at 202-225-2165. My office may be able to provide advice and support that will strengthen your application.
Minnesota Turkey Growers Association // Minnesota Corn Growers Association
Minnesota Pork Producers Association
I met with the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and the Minnesota Pork Producers Association last week to discuss agricultural trade, labor and the outlook for the farm economy. Each group stressed the importance of enacting the USMCA and ending trade disputes with China. I was one of the first Members of Congress to support the USMCA and I continue to urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to do the same. I discussed national strategies to combat potential outbreaks of animal diseases like African swine fever and avian flu with the livestock groups. The Corn Growers told me how bad weather this spring has caused varying crop quality across the state. We also discussed the Administration’s Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and our desire for more information about trade assistance payment rates for crops and livestock.
Last week, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, and the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research held hearings. The Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture invited representatives from the turkey, pork, sheep and goat, cattle, poultry and egg industries to share the major issues facing their producers. The Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research heard testimony on the effectiveness of the National Organic Program from USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach.
John Zimmerman of Northfield (far right) testified on behalf of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association
Each witness at the Livestock and Foreign Agriculture hearing told the Subcommittee about the importance of trade to American agriculture. I agree that Congress should enact the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement as soon as possible to increase certainty for growers. The Administration should also do everything it can to resolve trade issues with China because their retaliatory tariffs continue to reduce the competitiveness of American products in Chinese markets. The witnesses also stressed the importance of being prepared against outbreaks of animal disease. I fought for programs like the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program and the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank while negotiating the 2018 Farm Bill because I have seen the damage disease outbreaks can have on livestock in the 7th district.
USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach and Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research Chair Stacey Plaskett
All farms with more than $5,000 in annual organic sales must be certified organic by a USDA-accredited agent. The certification process ensures that the producers and processors of organic goods operate in accordance the guidelines of the National Organic Program. Under Secretary Ibach updated the Subcommittee on current enforcement practices and appeals processes and gave an overview of how USDA is increasing the integrity of our national organic standards for both domestic and imported organic products.
Farmfest Listening Session on August 7th
At 10:30 am on Wednesday, August 7th, I am hosting a listening session with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, as well members of the House Agriculture Committee and the Minnesota congressional delegation at Farmfest. I am looking forward to the lively discussion that I am sure will take place during our listening session and I thank Farmfest for this opportunity. I am happy that Secretary Perdue will join us in western Minnesota to hear directly from our producers about the farm economy and provide updates on farm bill implementation and the roll-out of trade aid and disaster payments.
For more information on Minnesota Farmfest click here.
National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias
I met with Karl, Abigail, and Samantha Nelsen, Minnesota advocates with the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias, to talk about the progress on my bill H.R. 1379, the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act. This bill would address coverage denials so that children born with congenital anomalies can get the medically necessary dental work they need. This bill has over 160 bipartisan cosponsors and I will continue to work to ensure that insurance plans cover Minnesota families like the Nelsens.
North American Meat Institute Holds Annual Hot Dog Lunch
Last Wednesday, Ranking Member Mike Conaway and I hosted the North American Meat Institute’s Annual Hot Dog Lunch. The lunch celebrates the American traditions of hotdogs and baseball. Hot dogs, corn dogs and brats were provided by a number of companies, including Minnesota’s own, Hormel. Over 50 Members of Congress and Baseball greats Rollie Fingers, Brady Anderson, and Ray Knight attended the event this year.
Women in Ag Tour
Last Thursday, my staff aide Jacki Anderson joined the University of Minnesota Extension’s Women in Ag Tour. The 3rd Annual Women in Ag Tour featured local ag businesses including Model Citizen Restaurant (farm to table), Lettuce Abound Farms (growing lettuce indoors) and Rustic Designs Flower Farms and Goat Ridge Brewing. The featured businesses are true innovators in ag, each learning their craft, growing their businesses and sharing their stories with anyone who asks.
CentraCare and Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
Santo Cruz (Director of Community and Government Relations and Associate General Counsel for CentraCare), Rebekah Solem, Emily Piper (Executive Director of Government Relations and Contracting for Hazelden)
Representatives of Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and CentraCare, both headquartered in Minnesota, met with my staff aide Rebekah Solem last week to talk about 42 CFR Part 2 and the impact it has on addiction treatment. Most people are probably familiar with HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which helps protects medical data, but fewer people might be aware of 42 CFR Part 2, the law governing patient privacy when it comes to substance use disorder. The group talked about differences between the two and the need to align 42 CFR Part 2 with HIPAA as the current structure can negatively impact both patients and care providers.
Riverwood Healthcare Center
Janet Larson (Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Deerwood, MN), Todd Sandberg (CEO, Aitkin, MN), Cindi Baker (COO, Duluth, MN), Rebekah Solem, Katie Nelson (Foundation Director, McGregor, MN)
Riverwood Healthcare Center leaders sat down with my healthcare staff aide Rebekah Solem to talk about their facilities and what they are doing to meet the healthcare needs in their communities. The group talked about their opioid initiative, a multi-disciplinary approach that has resulted in a substantial decrease in pills going out. They also focused on rural mental health and ways they can more efficiently reach individuals who are suffering while working to decrease stigma.
Mary Edwards (Fairview Health Services, Vice President, Public Policy), Bryan Lundberg (Essentia Health, 340B Program Manager, Duluth), Jesse Peterson (Fairview Health Services, Minneapolis), Jeff Magera (CentraCare Health St. Cloud Hospital, Pharmacy Regulatory and Business Analyst), Megan Monson - Riverview Healthcare Association, 340B Compliance Analyst, CROOKSTON), Brian Erickson (Riverview Healthcare Association, Director of Pharmacy, CROOKSTON), Rebekah Solem
Advocates for a coalition of Minnesota hospitals participating in the 340B prescription drug program sat down with my staff aide Rebekah Solem to talk about the importance of 340B in rural Minnesota. Representatives from Fairview Health Services, Essentia Health, CentraCare Health, and Riverview Healthcare Association discussed the positive impact that this program has in their communities as they shared how they use 340B savings. The 340B program allows hospitals serving isolated rural areas or supporting low-income individuals to purchase prescription drugs at a discounted price and use the savings from drug manufacturers to benefit their patients. For example, hospitals offered free sports physicals and prostate cancer screenings, extended clinic hours to increase access to care, and recruited physicians by offering more competitive compensation.
American Public Health Association
Mariah Norwood (REDWOOD FALLS)
Mariah Norwood, a resident of Redwood Falls and research coordinator for the Lower Sioux Indian Community, visited with my staff member Rebekah Solem about ways we can find practical solutions to climate problems that are negatively impacting health. Mariah noted that these environmental issues are disproportionately impacting the health of folks in our low-income, rural, and reservation communities and talked about the importance of making sure everyone is at the table during conversations on these issues.
Melrose Student Attends the Washington Journalism and Media Conference at George Mason University
Abbigail Wilwerding (MELROSE)
Abbigail Wilwerding visited my Washington, D.C. office while attending the Washington Journalism and Media Conference last week. As part of the Conference, Abbigail interviewed my staff aide Cody Hollerich about Congressional staff work, the role journalists play in influencing policy decisions, and how young people can find the best information to follow what is happening in Washington. Abbigail’s family operates a dairy farm near Melrose, so she was well prepared with questions about agricultural trade, labor shortages and other issues affecting the dairy industry.
Red River Valley Agricultural Leadership Celebration
Many agricultural organizations, farmers, educators, media, elected officials and aspiring farmers attended the first Red River Valley Agricultural Leadership Celebration last Tuesday. The event brought these folks together to celebrate the success and leadership of farmers in the Red River Valley. Attendees were able to socialize and share their experiences with one another, and the event featured demonstrations and remarks from Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Thom Peterson and others. The event ended with a whole hog roast and live music.
Annual Crop and Soils Day
Crops and Soils Day at the University of Minnesota-Crookston was held last week where University of Minnesota Extension educators told attendees about new varieties of crops and how to increase their yields. One growing concern is an increasing presence of Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN). As Angie Peltier of University of Minnesota Extension explained, these Nematodes are a microscopic, parasitic worms that live in the soil and is the top yield-limiting soybean pathogen in the North Central U.S. Control of these Nematodes can be achieved by planting a variety of crop that are not host plants. For more information, contact Angie Peltier at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Northarvest Bean Growers Association
My staff aide LeRoy Stumpf met with the Northarvest Bean Growers Association to update them on activities in Congress and field questions from the bean growers. North Dakota and Minnesota lead the U.S. in production of pinto, navy, dark red kidney and pink beans and the Northarvest Bean Growers Association assists growers by seeking export opportunities and funding research that improves bean quality and yields.
Stoneray Wind Project
My staff attended the Stoneray Wind Project Dedication Event last week in Lake Wilson. The project, at full capacity, is expected to generate enough electricity to meet the consumption of up to 47,000 average Minnesota homes. This is equal to avoiding the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 64,000 passenger vehicles. EDF Renewables is committed to supporting the communities the work with and presented a check for $25,000 to the Pipestone hospital for their ER project.
FRS Works Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
My staff aide Vickie McCollum attended the FRS Works ribbon cutting ceremony last week in Moorhead. FRS Works is one of the most established businesses in the region and has a 134-year history of success. Congratulations to FRS Works and its owner, Andrew Ponto.
Pork Producers lose $1 Billion from China Trade War
During last week’s Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee hearing, National Pork Producers Council President David Herring said, "There is an unprecedented sales opportunity for U.S. pork producers in China as that country continues to battle the spread of African swine fever and experiences a major reduction in domestic production. Instead, this trade opportunity is fueling jobs, profits and rural development for our international competitors.”
U.S. Pork exports to China continue to face a 62% tariff that makes American pork too expensive for Chinese consumers. Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes estimates that trade disputes with China have cost American pig farmers $8 per animal, or $1 billion in total losses.
July 12th Questionnaire Results
On July 12th, I asked what things would you like to see Representatives do to improve our political discourse? Here is how you responded:
30% - Restore power to Committees so individual members (not party leaders) make more decisions
20% - Change House Rules to prioritize the consideration of bipartisan legislation
20% - Hold bipartisan town hall meetings
15% - Tweet less
14% - Invite Representatives to see what life is like in places like western Minnesota
A large number of readers and additional comments and suggestions, here are a few:
“Most of the above, tweet keeps us informed.”
“Represent the people, not the party”
“Get along, work together, find common ground, do good.”
“Focus more on current issues and less on digging up dirt from the past on presidential candidates.”
“It seems like nothing is getting done in congress, so much bickering. I'm tired of it. If this continues it will be the demise of this country and out way of life.”
“Have representatives publicly call out radical members of their own party.”
“I think this responsibility lies with the American electorate. Americans reward uncivil discourse, so we are getting the discourse we deserve. This is a cultural issue. I appreciate Congressman Peterson's sense of civility and that he stays above the mudslinging.”
“Get rid of Big money that has taken over the political system... cheaters, self-dealers, corner-cutters, and liars for personal or professional gain.”
Brandon Kasprick (ANGUS) stopped by my Washington, D.C. office this week during his summer internship with Senator Amy Klobuchar