Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 7/25/2014

Summer in the 7th

Dear Friends,

Minnesota communities devastated by severe weather will receive recovery funds following last week’s successful efforts to issue a Major Disaster Declaration for affected areas. This week, I met with the Minnesota Turkey Growers to discuss the turkey industry in the state, and visited with Land Stewardship to discuss trade. Leaders of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Business Council also came by to apprise me of their work on behalf of their tribe. Finally, I welcomed the Minnesota State FFA President and Vice President to my office, and was pleased to catch up with friends during their visit to Washington. Also included are important updates regarding Veterans Affairs.  


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Minnesota Turkey Growers Assn.

I met with members of the Minnesota Turkey Growers to talk about issues important to the turkey industry, including EPA regulations, propane availability, and immigration reform.  Minnesota is the top turkey producing and processing state in the United States. DID YOU KNOW… that not all turkeys gobble?  According to the Minnesota Turkey Growers’ website, only tom (male) turkeys gobble while hen (female) turkeys make more of a clicking sound.

Future Farmers of America

Jack Roessler (St. Charles), Kyla Mauk (Howard Lake)

I was pleased to meet Minnesota State FFA President Jack Roessler and Vice President Kyla Mauk this week. Jack and Kyla were in Washington for the State Presidents’ Conference, joining two officers from each of the other state associations for a week of advanced leadership training.  The state FFA leaders share ideas and work on issues for discussion at the National FFA Convention that will be held this fall in Louisville, Kentucky.  The Minnesota delegation noted that they proposed a discussion on production agriculture and the science and technology behind it, which I think is a great topic for a national conversation.

AMI Hot Dog Lunch

Joe Swedberg (Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Hormel Foods), Rep. John Kline (MN-02)

On Wednesday, we celebrated National Hot Dog Month. I was honorary host of the annual Hot Dog Lunch sponsored by the American Meat Institute, a national trade association that represents companies responsible for 95 percent of red meat and 70 percent of turkey processing in the US. Together we welcomed representatives of the meat industry to Capitol Hill and enjoyed hot dogs in the Rayburn courtyard.

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux

Keith Anderson (Vice Chairman), Charlie Vig (Chairman)

I met with leaders of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Business Council to hear about their charitable giving and other current issues in which the tribe is engaged.  The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) tribal lands are located in Prior Lake and Shakopee, Minnesota.  The SMSC website notes that the town of Shakopee was named after Chief Sakpe (Shock-pay), a leader of a local village near present-day Shakopee.  Chief Sakpe’s name means “number six” in the Dakota language.

Land Stewardship

Matt Urch (WI), Susan Griebel (New Ulm), Adam Warthesen (MSP), Mark Schultz (MSP)

Members of Land Stewardship came in to discuss trade; particularly their concerns with the agriculture provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. We discussed how countries should be allowed to develop strategic agricultural reserves and enact policies allowing for fair payment for growers and farm workers.

Generations of Serving

Shirley Loehr (St. Cloud), Deb Eisenstadt (Sauk Rapids)

Shirley Loehr and Deb Eisenstadt stopped by my office during their visit to Washington this week. Al Loehr, Shirley's husband and Deb’s father, was a dear friend and valuable staff member who took care of Minnesota veterans until he passed away in April 2013.  Deb’s daughter and Al and Shirley’s granddaughter, Alicia Eisenstadt, serves in the military at Arlington Cemetery as a member of the U.S. Ceremonial Band, "Pershing's Own" where her duties include playing taps at the services honoring fallen sons and daughters and families who have given their all for our country. Alicia also plays at the solemn observance at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Tesuque Pueblo

Charlie Dorame (Councilman), Robert A. Mora Sr. (Tribal Governor), Mark Mitchell (Councilman)

I met with Tesuque Pueblo of New Mexico Governor Robert Mora and Councilmen and former Governors Charlie Dorame and Mark Mitchell to talk about legislation they are supporting to help protect and preserve Native American seeds used for cultural, religious, medicinal, ceremonial, and agricultural purposes. The Tesuque Pueblo is located just north of Santa Fe.

* Legislative Update

College Affordability

With the price of college tuition rising, it is important that students have all the information they need about student loans. That is why I voted for H.R. 4984, the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Counseling Act, which would require colleges to provide counseling to students about federal student loans and Pell Grant programs.

Military Matters

Fulfilling our Promise to Veterans

Leadership in the House has delayed work on important efforts to improve care for our veterans in light of the VA scandal. That is why I signed on to a letter that is being sent to the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader of the Senate urging them not to let Congress go into recess in the month of August unless there is successful resolution by the conference committee formed to work out a compromise between the Senate and House versions of the Veteran Access to Care Act.

Expedited Hiring for VA Trained Psychiatrists

 I signed onto this bill (HR 2540) to help expedite the hiring of trained psychiatrists who complete a residency at a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facility to a VHA health care position.

Caregivers Expansion and Improvement Act

This bill (HR 3383) will expand eligibility for veterans with service-connected injuries to participate in the Department of Veterans Affairs program of assistance to family caregivers, helping all veterans from all eras.

Vietnam Veterans Agent Orange Fairness Act

I support this bill (HR 4408) to require the VA to establish a task force that will conduct a comprehensive review to assess and make recommendations about the care and compensation of Vietnam Veterans Agent Orange victims and their children and grandchildren.

Atomic Veterans Service Medal Act

I am in favor of requiring the Department of Defense to issue a service medal to veterans or surviving families of those members of our Armed Forces who participated in above-ground nuclear weapons testing (HR 4778).

Toxic Exposure Research and Military Family Support Act

This bill (HR 4816) will extend coverage to veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange in locations other than Vietnam - Thailand, Laos, Okinawa, the Philippines, Johnston Island, Korea, Cambodia, Guam, and military installations within the U.S.

Clay Hunt SAV Act

I signed on to legislation (HR 5059) that provides a community approach to suicide prevention. It requires a third party to annually evaluate both Department of Defense and Veterans Administration (VA) mental health and suicide prevention programs. The VA would also be required to develop an interactive website for mental health services and integrate with the National Guard Bureau to address Guard member’s concerns. The bill also addresses the lack of mental health professionals by providing an education loan repayment pilot program. Finally, the bill would leverage community assets via a piloted community reintegration program.


Disaster Declaration for 7th District Counties

The Administration announced on Tuesday that a Major Disaster Declaration was issued for Minnesota communities impacted by recent flooding and severe weather. This announcement comes after the Minnesota Delegation urged the President to assist the communities working to recover. For the full press release, click here.

Disaster Loans Available in Murray and Pipestone Counties

Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans are now available to small businesses and organizations that suffered financial loss as a result of flooding in Murray and Pipestone Counties. For more information and the full press release, click here.

FEMA Notification of Flood Mapping

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced a flood mapping update that will affect constituents in the 7th. The July 2014 Notice to Congress: Monthly Update on Flood Mapping details new flood maps and data to help communities access helpful information that can be used to make decisions about flood risk. Monthly FEMA flood mapping updates, including this month’s, are archived here.

County Courthouse Spotlight

Lac qui Parle Courthouse Original Frame/ 1930’s/Present

Originally organized in 1871, the county seat of Lac qui Parle County was located in the village of Lac qui Parle, where a frame courthouse also housed a post office and a hotel. Nearly a decade later, a battle between Madison and Dawson began to relocate the county seat on the new Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad Line. 150 men and 40 wagon teams from Madison moved the entire courthouse 15 miles from Lac qui Parle to Madison, placed the structure on its current site, and established Madison as county seat in 1889. The current Richardsonian Romanesque style courthouse replaced the old frame courthouse in 1899.

This Week in American History

Pierre Bottineau, 1884

Pierre Bottineau, the “Kit Carson of the Northwest,” died on July 26th 1895. Born in the Red River valley in 1817, Bottineau spent much of his youth trading fur for Henry Sibley, the first governor of Minnesota. An accomplished surveyor, Bottineau and his settlement parties founded many cities and towns across Minnesota, including Breckenridge and Red Lake Falls, and was an instrumental guide during Isaac Stevens’ transcontinental railroad survey in 1853. The Pierre Bottineau Memorial, commissioned in 2000, stands in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Red Lake Falls and depicts the life of the famous guide, with scenes of his expeditions into territories that brought frontier settlements and industry to Minnesota.

Visitors from the 7th

Shanda and Peter Hakk (MOORHEAD)    


Kyle and Caroline Chan (MURDOCK)

Christie, Ken, Julia, and Nicole Riegert (SABIN), Dan and Edith Praska (GREY EAGLE)
Statue: Henry Mower Rice, MN Statehood Advocate, US Capitol

Molly Roller (WARREN)
2014 Congressional Art Competition