Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 8/26/2019
Meeting with a group of Minnesota farmers
The August district work period continues to roll on, and I am spending time around western Minnesota. As Chair of the Committee on Agriculture, other Members of Congress sometimes ask that I meet with farmers from their part of the country. Towards the end of the week, I visited with Missouri Representatives Billy Long, Emanuel Cleaver, and Vicky Hartzler to take an agriculture tour through the state. This week, I will be hosting a U.S. Customs and Border Protection meetings with Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson in Lancaster and Roseau to discuss reduced hours at ports of entry. I’ve been working with Chairman Thompson on this issue because of the effects it has on workers and businesses in northern Minnesota.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Serving the 7th
Marshall Head Start Facility
I recently heard from the Executive Director of the United Community Action Partnership (UCAP) who had been struggling to get final approval for the Marshall Head Start facility. My office was able to help navigate the bureaucracy and help so they that they can move forward with the planned project. This is an important project that would have suffered from additional costs if final approval had been delayed. Without this project, many families would struggle to receive services they need. Now Head Start and UCAP will be able to serve more kids and families in western Minnesota with a new facility. I am happy that I can assist projects and organizations like this to better serve families in the 7th District.
Bridge Demolition Project
I recently received a call from a road contractor who was having issues with the paperwork on a bridge demolition project in western Minnesota. The bridge was inspected and approved for demolition by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT). However, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) mandated that the crew wait ten days before demolishing the bridge. With all of the rain and delays on this project, waiting ten days would likely have caused this important highway to remain closed for several additional weeks. My office contacted MPCA to detail the need to speed up the approval process and MPCA agreed to allow the demolition to move forward as planned.
If you have issues with government agencies, please contact my office at (202) 225-2165 and we may be able to help.
Camp Ripley and Arden Hills
The Minnesota Army National Guard operates and manages 62 facilities in 58 communities in addition to two military and civilian training installations Arden Hills Army Training Site and Camp Ripley Training Center. My staff aide Meg Louwagie attended a National Guard trip last week touring the Arden Hills and Camp Ripley sites. The Arden Hills facility is a 68,500 square foot readiness center that includes administrative offices, classrooms, training simulation, an assembly hall, weapons vault, locker room, unit storage and vehicle storage/maintenance bay spaces as well as National Guard headquarters for the Twin Cities currently under construction onsite. Camp Ripley is located in central Minnesota with various training locations across the facility. Camp Ripley is used by multiple state and local agencies, including law enforcement and the Department of National Resources.
During this trip, Congressional staffers were given a helicopter tour of the entire training center, briefed on the Medical Simulations Training center, observed narcotics training simulations and joined a squad of Marines during their distance shooting qualification. Both Arden Hills and Camp Ripley are actively involved in environmental programs to improve, sustain, and protect the natural resources at each site. Camp Ripley even has 62 acres of solar panels, which is the largest Solar PV array on any National Guard Installation.
Wind Turbine Blade in Thief River Falls
This wind turbine came through Thief River Falls last week and was the length of almost a full city block. There was a five vehicle escort with the Minnesota Highway patrols.
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
On Wednesday, my Chief of Staff Allison Stock, along with staff from Senators Klobuchar's and Smith's offices, met with representatives of member organizations of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits in Fergus Falls. The group heard a legislative update on a variety of issues including the impacts of the tax bill on charitable deductions, possible changes to nutrition programs, ECFE and childcare challenges, and census information. Rural communities are facing challenging times in the wake of retail closures, low commodity prices, and health care access, and I'm committed to working with organizations who strive to help our rural populations.
Minnesota Association of Townships District 13 Meeting
Last week, my staff attended the Minnesota Association of Townships District 13 meeting. The Minnesota Association of Townships District 13 includes Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, Pennington, Red Lake and Roseau Counties. These district meetings highlight the work township officers do to help Minnesota’s rural communities.
National Park Service: Pipestone
Lauren Blacik, Superintendent of the Pipestone National Monument, visited my Washington office to discuss the importance of the Pipestone National Monument to southwest Minnesotans and various affiliated tribes. The Monument protects 56 quarries for tribal use and is managed under the National Park Service. The museum’s 60-year old exhibits are currently being updated and will be open to view by next year. I appreciate Lauren’s work in Pipestone and look forward to visiting the new museum.
Wes Meyer (MOORHEAD) and Elizabeth Smith
Elizabeth Smith and constituent Wes Meyer presented staff aide Zach Martin an award on my behalf, the Humane Society’s Humane Legislator of the Year Award for 2018. I received this due to my work in the 2018 Farm Bill, particularly in securing provisions of the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, which establishes a grant program for entities that provide housing assistance for domestic violence survivors and their pets. I am proud this was included in final passage and ultimately signed into law.
Exploring Federal Government Contracts Workshop
Last Tuesday, the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Minnesota Department of Administration (PTAC) hosted an Exploring Federal Government Contracts workshop. These workshops are free to attend and can help your business navigate federal contracts processes. For more information, contact Jacki Anderson at Jacki.Anderson@mail.house.gov, or click here to go to the Small Business Admin’s Website
Last week I asked readers if they thought the State of Minnesota could manage the wolf population consistent with the safeguards the Obama Administration developed. Here is what you said:
Our current national debt is well over $22 trillion, and will be close to $23 trillion by the end of 2019. When you break that figure down, this amounts to a bill of $69,200 for every American. This figure is only our current national debt- it does not factor in future unfunded obligations like Social Security and Medicare, which will need to be strengthened in future years.
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.
Ponsford Navy Leader honored in Becker County
James Fairbanks, the first Native American to serve as Force Master Chief, the highest ranking enlisted Navy Seabee, is the first to be honored under Becker County’s memorial roadway system. He served in the Marine Corps and Navy for 28 years, including during the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the Iraq War.
Market Facilitation Program (MFP) Update
On Friday, USDA announced the methodology they used to determine payment rates under the 2019 Market Facilitation Program. USDA expects the first tranche of 2019 MFP payments to go out later this month. However, some farmers will not receive their payments until September due to delays caused by issues with Farm Service Agency (FSA) software.
News and Views with Joel Heitkamp
Trump administration recently issued 31 exemptions for refineries, which undermines the Renewable Fuel Standard. I visited with Joel Heitkamp on News and Views to talk about the EPA exemptions and new tariffs that were put into place.
Agri-Pulse Open Mic Interview
I recently sat down for Agri-Pulses Open Mic Interview. I talked about the 2018 Farm Bill safety net, the market facilitation payments, and EPA’s small refinery exemptions.
This Week in History
On August 22nd, 1888, the Minnesota Farmers Alliance and the Knights of Labor held a conference to organize the Farm and Labor Party, nominating Ignatius Donnelly as their gubernatorial candidate. Donnelly eventually withdrew from the race, and the nascent party would collapse. The members and organizations associated in the Farm and Labor Party eventually became the Nonpartisan League and the Minnesota Federation of Labor, the direct ancestors of the Farmer–Labor Party, and organized the new party thirty years later, on August 24 and 25, 1918, and nominating David Evans as their gubernatorial candidate