Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 6/1/2018
This Memorial Day I had the opportunity to honor fallen heroes and their families during a community ceremony in Barnesville. The ceremony was very touching and a moving example of the many ways Minnesotans offer their appreciation to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.
With Congress in a recess work period I also traveled throughout the district hearing from Minnesotans on a variety of issues. In Willmar I met with Catholic Bishops and then headed to Redwood Falls to visit some businesses. Concerns over the impact of a trade war on our economy has been one of the top issues I hear about from manufacturers and agriculture producers. Following the Administration’s decision this week to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum on our allies like Canada, concerns about retaliatory tariffs on our trade dependent manufacturing and agriculture sectors continue to grow.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Memorial Day in Barnesville
On Monday, I was honored to address those attending the Memorial Day ceremony at the Barnesville High School, and to have lunch with attendees following the ceremony at the Barnesville American Legion Post 153. As I noted in my speech, families from our communities across the 7th District and our country have made painful sacrifices in the name of defending our great nation. I appreciated the opportunity to visit with community members and honor the brave men and women who left their homes and families to bear the ugliness and horror of war on our behalf.
My office recently became a partner of the Vietnam War’s 50th Commemoration. At the luncheon following the Memorial Day ceremony, I had the opportunity to recognize, issue pins and offer thanks for veterans and surviving family members of those who served during the Vietnam Conflict. It was important for me to be part of this commemorative effort as I feel that those who served our country during the conflict were not treated very well after they returned home from serving their country. More than 25 veterans came forward to be recognized in Barnesville on Monday and I want to again thank them for their service.
Bishop Michael Hoeppner, Bishop John LeVoir
On Wednesday I met with Bishop Micheal Hoeppner and Bishop John LeVoir to discuss wide-ranging topics from the nutrition program in the Farm Bill, to immigration, adoption and education. We had robust discussion about ways we can continue to support the communities and constituents that we serve.
On Thursday, I met with the Canby Rotary to provide an update from Washington and answer questions on current legislation. The Rotary Club was one of the first groups I met with when Canby became part of the 7th District years ago, they continue to be a strong group of community leaders.
I met with Daktronics in Redwood Falls to discuss how the tariffs on Steel and Aluminum will affect their business. Daktronics brings in 80,000 pounds of metal each week to create the state of the art display boards used in transportation materials, businesses, sporting facilities around the world. I will work to promote fair trade deals that support American businesses that are dependent on affordable materials.
Mental Health Awareness Month
May was Mental Health Awareness Month. This week, I took the opportunity to visit with staff at the Northwestern Mental Health Center in Crookston. There are about 170 staff that serve six counties in NW Minnesota. Shauna Reitmeier, Executive Director, said their goal is to become a "one stop service”. Mental health is an important issue for people of all backgrounds because it has a wide range of causes and can affect many aspects of a person’s life. In rural areas the needs are great because there are fewer resources available and folks are often required to travel great distances to find assistance.
Press Stops in the 7th
This week I took the opportunity to connect with a number of press outlets in the district to answer questions and provide insight on what is happening in Washington. During my visit to Willmar I visited with the West Central Tribune, KDJS Radio, Lakeland Broadcasting, and recorded an AgCountry Farm Credit Services Podcast. Each discussion gave me the opportunity to talk about the Farm Bill, NAFTA renegotiations, and what needs to be done for our rural economy. I also mentioned the hard work my staff does in assisting constituents with any issue with federal agencies. Over the years my staff members and I have worked tirelessly with veterans, farmers, ranchers, the elderly, local businesses, and small communities just to name a few. I always enjoy visiting with the local press to discuss my work in Washington while keeping up-to-date on current affairs in Minnesota.
To hear my conversation with AgCountry’s Adam Ulbricht, click here.
On Thursday, I had the opportunity to meet with realtors from Southwest Minnesota to discuss current legislation and the potential effects of next year’s tax changes on the real estate profession. Strong housing markets support a strong economy, and I look forward to working with these folks to promote sensible housing and tax policy.
Dairy Day in Hutchinson
(Right) Dairy Princess Elizabeth Krenke (LESTER PRAIRIE), Princess Kay of the Milky Way Emily Annexstad (Saint Peter), and Dairy Princess Breanna Wright (HUTCHINSON)
My staff attended the Hutchinson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism’s annual Dairy Day Celebration on Friday. Dairy Day is an event that brings the people of the Hutchinson area together for a casual day full of food, music and fun. This year, the celebration featured dairy cows, cheese samples, live music, activities for children, and a cow milking contest.
Opiate Crisis and Education Symposium
Last week, my Chief of Staff had the opportunity to meet with congressional staff from across the country gathered in St. Louis to address issues related to the opiate crisis, immigration, and challenges in education, among other issues. The bipartisan group was hosted by the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress, an organization that provides public service programs at home and abroad. They also work to strengthen democracy by creating dialogue between former and current Members of Congress and their staff. The two-day event was a great opportunity to hear from experts in the subjects discussed and for important dialogue between congressional staff from different parts of the country who have wide-ranging perspectives on these matters.
On Friday, my staff aide Jacki Anderson attended Enterprise Minnesota’s State of Manufacturing Update in Morris hosted by the West Central Initiative Foundation. The results of intensive surveys conducted statewide are presented to show the overall health, needs and opportunities in the manufacturing industry. The results showed that 93% of manufacturers from a financial perspective are confident about the future of their company. Although there are plenty of challenges this optimism is very encouraging. I will work hard at the federal level to put forth and support legislation that addresses their top issues and mine including improved healthcare and opportunities to grow our workforce.
Redwood Area Hospital
This week my staff assistant Meg Louwagie attended the listening session for the Redwood Area Hospital. The Redwood Area Hospital is planning on becoming part of Carris Health Care which is a part of CentraCare out of St. Cloud. This partnership would include better working relationships with surrounding areas, more purchasing power and a new Healthcare campus being built in Redwood Falls.
Sioux Falls VA Health Care Systems
A member of my staff met with Director Goodspeed of the Sioux Falls VA Health Care Systems and was informed of changes in how the VA will be handling non-VA Emergency Care billing issues in the future. The VA will begin looking at paying part of emergency medical care that has not been covered outside of the VA Health Care system in the past.
Minnesota Department of Health Meeting
This week, one of my staff aides attended a Minnesota Department of Health joint meeting of the Rural Health Advisory & Flex Advisory Committee to learn about the Community Health Needs Assessments. These Committees work to review and provide support to rural healthcare systems with a goal of focusing on mental health issues throughout the coming year.
This Week in American History
William Worrall Mayo
On May 31, 1819, William W. Mayo was born in England. A pioneer of medicine in Minnesota and one of the first doctors to use a microscope to aid in diagnosis, he would arrive in the territory in 1855 and settle in Rochester in 1863. He is best known for establishing the private medical practice that later evolved into the Mayo Clinic.
What’s the Story?
Minnesota is home to seven Chippewa reservations and four Dakota communities. Two of the reservations that are in my district are Red Lake Nation and White Earth Nation and I have their flags displayed in the front of my Washington, D.C. office.
Native Americans have one of the highest records of military service of any group of Americans. While only three percent of the general population choose to serve, twenty-five percent of able-bodied Native Americans enlist in the United States Armed Forces. With such a demonstrated commitment to service, it should also be known that Native American veterans apply for and receive fewer benefits than other groups of veterans. According to the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, fewer than fifty percent of eligible American Indian veterans in Minnesota apply for the benefits they have earned.
The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs operates the the Tribal Veterans Service Officer Program, a program dedicated to getting Native American veterans the benefits they deserve. If you or a loved one is interested in learning more about this program, visit the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs website.