Rep. Peterson's Newsletter and Questionnaire 9/8/2020
Courtesy of KVRR
Speaking at Moorhead’s Bluestem Amphitheater about the Save Our Stages Act
I hope you enjoyed a relaxing Labor Day weekend; a day to recognize the labor movement and American workers. This week I discussed issues facing our farmers with the Land Stewardship Project and toured Ogema’s Indian Health Service Clinic with Senator Tina Smith.
Our ethanol producers are hurting, and I urged the Administration to keep up pressure on Brazil to drop the 20 percent tariff they placed on American biofuels starting in 2017.
I also joined Senator Klobuchar and other local leaders at the Bluestem Amphitheater in Moorhead to share my support of the Save Our Stages Act, which would create a Small Business Administration Grant program for independent music venues affected by COVID-19. As a musician, I know how important these venues are to the industry, as well as the communities where they are located.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
U.S. Chamber of Commerce - Spirit of Enterprise Award
I joined a virtual presentation by the Marshall Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in recognition of my receiving the Spirit of Enterprise Award. U.S. Chamber representative Ethan Hellier explained that the award is given to Representatives and Senators who support pro-growth policies and show bipartisan leadership. I was able to visit with business leaders from throughout the area and share why I believe it’s so important to work with both parties. You can’t get anything done in Congress without bipartisan support and I find that when you try, you can find lots of places where we can agree on things to make things better for the country and the Seventh District.
You can view the conversation here.
Land Stewardship Project
I visited with leaders of the Land Stewardship Project last week to discuss issues affecting family farms in Minnesota, and agriculture’s role in conservation. I heard from young and beginning farmers about their experience with farm programs like the Conservation Stewardship Program and Dairy Margin Coverage. Members told me about the innovative conservation practices and crops they have adopted on their farm, and their ideas for future programs. We also spoke about meat processing shortages in rural Minnesota and options to support small processors. My bill, the RAMP-UP Act, would provide grants to local meat processors to help cover the costs of coming under USDA inspection. USDA inspection allows processors to sell their products across state lines, giving farmers access to new markets and making them more competitive with larger USDA inspected processors.
Tour of Indian Health Service (IHS) Clinic in Ogema
I joined Senator Tina Smith and the White Earth Tribal Council for a tour of the Indian Health Service Clinic in Ogema. We discussed the importance of the clinic to the White Earth community and the Tribal response to the pandemic. It is vital that our Tribal Nations have the resources they need to provide care to their members and I appreciated the invitation to tour the clinic.
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
Top: Noah Stanford (along with his mom Gina Stanford, not pictured), Ann Nerland
Bottom: Rebekah Solem (staff aide), Jodi Schaap
My staff aide Rebekah Solem met with Minnesota advocates with JDRF, a nonprofit group in support of funding research on Type 1 Diabetes. The group thanked me for my support of the Special Diabetes Program and urged Congress to renew the program for a longer period of time. The advocates also talked about the need to reduce the cost of insulin and asked to include loan forgiveness for mid-sized nonprofits, such as JDRF, in the next COVID-19 relief package.
Last week, I asked you a variety of questions related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Here is what you said:
Do you know someone that has tested positive for the Coronavirus?
Do you know someone that has died from the Coronavirus?
Abbott has said that they could produce 50 million rapid ‘at home’ Coronavirus tests by October that cost $5 a test. Do you support a federal government investment in rapid tests (results take 15 minutes) so millions of people who may not have symptoms can be tested?
If the federal government acquires tests, how should those tests be distributed?
There were many other thoughts and ideas expressed for how to distribute these tests such as only allowing health professionals to distribute how they see fit, giving them to area hospitals and schools to administer, or making tests voluntary rather than mandated by your employer or school.
COVID-19 Updates & Resources
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has issued new updates regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. With schools and classes starting up again, MDH is offering free saliva testing for teachers, school staff, and childcare center employees. Visit Safe Learning Plan for 2020-2021 School Year for more information.
Governor Tim Walz recently signed two next Executive Orders related to COVID-19. Executive Order 20-85 would give higher education institutions the flexibility to hold classes or activities in-person if consistent with other industries. Executive Order 20-86 grants flexibility to waive in-person meetings, the ability to vote remote for director elections, and more for cooperatives and cooperative associations. For more information, see Executive Orders from Governor Walz.
For the most up-to-date COVID-19 information, visit Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Ethanol Exports to Brazil Face Uncertain Future
The Government of Brazil allowed their tariff rate quota for American ethanol to expire on August 31st, meaning that all U.S. ethanol exports to Brazil now face a 20 percent tariff. Our farmers have faced the brunt of trade conflicts in recent years this move by Brazil is more bad news. I encourage the Administration to continue working with Brazilian officials to restore the tariff-free ethanol trade that existed between the U.S. and Canada from 2012 to 2017.
I joined 19 Members of Congress in urging U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to restore free ethanol trade with Brazil on August 20th. Click here to read the letter.
VA Suicide Prevention Month
September is Suicide Prevention Month. This year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is rolling out their Be There Campaign to remind Veterans and their families that small acts of kindness can really make a difference during these difficult times. The campaign provides ideas and resources to better support Veterans when it’s needed most. For more information and resources visit BeThere ForVeterans.com.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, receive free and confidential support through the Veterans Crisis Line, 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.
On October 29, 2020, the Minnesota Military and Veteran Exchange will host Experience 2020, a virtual event to commemorate all Minnesotans with prior or current service, Veterans, their families, supporters, and caregivers. Throughout the event, various free educational sessions will be available for individuals and organizations working to better support the Minnesota military. Sessions include healthcare, Veterans benefits, economic stability, social connection, and more.
For more information, click here.
To register, click here.
SBA Management Series
Minnesota’s Small Business Association (SBA) office is holding free virtual trainings throughout the rest of the year to help small businesses and entrepreneurs understand business basics to better plan for and manage their small business. Subjects include understanding organizational types, building credit, banking services, and record-keeping, managing cash flow, and more.
For more information and to register, click here.
SBA for Rural Small Businesses
The 7th district is home to many local small businesses and is integral to our district’s community and economy. The Small Business Association (SBA) has now created a page specifically devoted to rural businesses and provides resources to help businesses recover from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic effects.
Click here for resources and more information.
Sustainable Agriculture Project Grants
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is encouraging farmers and local nonprofits and educational organizations to apply for a Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration (SustAg) Grant to pilot new sustainable agriculture techniques.
MDA has $200,000 in available grants to test new ideas. Farmers will be given priority. To apply, submit a grant application by 4 p.m. Thursday, December 10, 2020. For more information and to apply, click here.
This Week in History
On September 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed. While it is well known for ending the Revolutionary War and British control, the Treaty of Paris was also the first step towards creating Minnesota’s Northwest Angle.
To read more about how the Northwest Angle came about, visit: Earth Observatory.