Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 6/5/2015
Cameron Lake, Erskine
Safe and efficient transportation systems depend upon reliable, long-term funding. I welcomed representatives from the Minnesota Transportation Alliance to my office this week to emphasize my support for strong transportation policy and programs that help coordinate federal funding with the District’s unique transportation needs. The Agriculture Committee held hearings on foreign ag subsidies and the financial health of farm country this week. I was also happy to help host a reception in honor of farmer veterans and celebrate the success of efforts to promote and support agricultural products grown and raised by U.S. veterans and service members.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
This week, folks from across the 7th District flew out to Washington, D.C. to advocate on behalf of their communities’ needs for transportation. I sat down with mayors, county engineers and council members to discuss what we can do in Congress to better help direct funding where it needs to go at the local level. I have been a strong supporter of a long-term surface transportation reauthorization because these two-month extensions don’t give cities and private businesses enough time or certainty to prepare the kind of project development we need in the 7th. I oppose efforts to weaken the TIGER program, which allows us to target federal funding toward the types of projects we have heard about from folks back home who know what a difference it can make. I will continue to work with my colleagues to develop sustainable solutions for the transportation funding crisis currently facing our nation's bridges, roads and transit systems.
Minnesota Farm Bureau President
Kevin Paap, corn and soybean producer from Garden City and president of the Minnesota Farm Bureau, testified before the Agriculture Committee this week in a hearing to review the financial health of farm country. I was able to have a one-on-one meeting with Kevin following the hearing to discuss avian flu in Minnesota and EPA’s “Waters of the U.S.” rule.
Concerned Women for America
Penny Nance (President and CEO, Concerned Women for America)
On Wednesday, I met with Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America to discuss our mutual concern for legislative policy that strengthens our families and supports life.
National Association of Manufacturers
Paul Eickhoff and J.R. Burke (Polaris Industries, Inc.), Aelred J. Kurtenbach (Ecolab Inc.), and Thomas W. Handley (Co-Founder, Daktronics, Inc.), William Gullickson (MGK Company)
I met with members of National Association of Manufacturers to hear their stories of manufacturing’s importance to the American economy. We discussed my support for reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank before its charter expires on June 30. Not only does Export-Import Bank directly support jobs in the 7th Congressional District, it operates at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer. Failure to reauthorize the bank will put American companies at a unique disadvantage in global markets, resulting in an immediate loss of sales and jobs. U.S. businesses of all sizes would be deprived of a vital financing source at a time when boosting exports is increasingly important to creating jobs and growing our nation’s economy.
Home Builders Association
This week I met with members of the Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead. These individuals work tirelessly to address the growing demand for housing on both sides of the Red River Valley. We discussed the issues surrounding the Fargo-Moorhead diversion project as well as recent wetlands and “Waters of the U.S.” regulations affecting their business. It is my hope that we can come to a resolution on these issues to protect the interests of Western Minnesota that will generate economic growth while protecting our natural resources.
James R. Andersen (WILLMAR) and Todd Hodenfield (BENSON)
On Thursday, my staff aide Natalie Winters met with two physical therapists from the 7th District to discuss issues impacting their ability to provide care. They were grateful for my support of H.R. 775, which would repeal the therapy cap on Medicare outpatient procedures. I have always been opposed to the therapy cap because it was put in place to save money and balance the federal budget, something I think we should never do on the backs of seniors. This is an outdated policy, and Congress needs to remove the cap and restore our commitment to the health of our seniors.
Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship
The White House held a forum on antibiotic stewardship this week with my staff in attendance. As part of the event, more than 150 food companies, retailers, and human and animal health stakeholders highlighted commitments to implementing changes over the next five years with the goal of slowing the emergence of resistant bacteria and preventing the spread of resistant infections.
Robert Kill, President and CEO of Enterprise, Minnesota
Enterprise Minnesota is one of 60 federal Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) organizations nationwide chartered to help small- to medium- sized manufacturers compete and grow. For the past seven years, they have polled more than 400 manufacturing executives representing a geographically proportional cross section of Minnesota. They are currently holding briefings throughout Minnesota from May 13 to September 10 to present the results of the survey. My staff has attended two of these briefings and learned that Minnesota's manufacturers are more optimistic in their firms' future than at any point since 2009.
Hutchinson Dairy Day
The Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness Committee recognized local milk producers by hosting “Dairy Day” this week. The event’s many participants enjoyed lunch, music and a milking contest. Dairy farmers in McLeod County and across Minnesota play a significant role in shaping our rural economy and it is fitting to recognize their contributions during June’s Dairy Month celebrations.
Rural Arts and Culture Summit
Jacqueline Johnson (Chancellor, University of Minnesota, Morris)
The Rural Arts and Culture Summit was held at the University of Minnesota, Morris this week to bridge conversations between rural artists, organizations, and community leaders to help build partnerships and thriving communities in rural Minnesota. The Summit was co-sponsored by the Springboard for the Arts, the Center of Small Towns, the University of Minnesota, Morris, and the Regional Arts Councils of Minnesota.
Hearing to Review Foreign Ag Subsidies
On Wednesday, the Agriculture Committee met to review agricultural subsidies in foreign countries. What is often lost during debates on our farm safety net is the fact that other countries also provide agriculture subsidies to producers. If we are going to compete in a global marketplace we need to be on a level playing field. Based on the witness testimony, I think it is time for the United States to start challenging Brazil, China, India and others when they fail to meet their WTO commitments.
This week, the House of Representatives began consideration of the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) Appropriations bill for FY 2016 (H.R. 2577). Unfortunately, the work was only partially completed before Congress adjourned for the weekend. Last year, this bill was derailed because both sides couldn't reach an agreement and the legislation was pulled from the floor at the last minute. I hope we can avoid that kind of division this time around, and I look forward to finishing the job next week. A number of folks from the 7th have written or called to share their views on this bill and I appreciate their input.
World Livestock Auctioneer Championship
Mitch Barthel of Perham will travel to Texas next week to compete in the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship. Sponsored by the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA), the competition is considered by many to be the “Super Bowl of livestock auctioneering.” I wish him the best of luck and continued success.
Veterans’ Voices Awards
To honor Minnesota veterans who have gone above and beyond the call of duty, the Minnesota Humanities Center is once again accepting nominations for its Veterans’ Voices Award now through June 15, 2015. Veterans’ Voices is a statewide program of the Humanities Center that draws on the power of the humanities to call attention to the stories and contributions of veterans, empowering Minnesota Veterans to speak in their own voices through plays, art, discussion groups, and the Veterans’ Voices Award. The Humanities Center invites anyone to nominate candidates who fall into one of two nomination categories: On the Rise (40 and under) or Legacy (over 40). The Veterans’ Voices Award recognizes Minnesotans who served honorably, are now thriving and making extraordinary contributions to their communities. These former and current military service members are making exceptional, positive contributions that improve the lives of people across Minnesota.
UMM Green Ribbon Award
The U.S. Department of Education awarded the University of Minnesota, Morris a Green Ribbon Award this week. The Green Ribbon Award highlights environmental stewardship. UMM was recognized for its sustainability-oriented investments, policies, research and curricula.
Secretary of Defense Environmental Award
The Minnesota Army National Guard was awarded a Secretary of Defense Environmental Award this week in the Sustainability-Team category, recognizing outstanding military dedication to environmental performance and stewardship. The Minnesota team excels in ensuring and improving environmental compliance among its installations, teams and individuals. I look forward to their continued success.
Honoring Farmer Veterans
Our nation’s veterans have done everything asked of them, and we should reciprocate by providing the tools and support needed when they return home. That includes providing aid to those looking to enter farming. I joined national lending network Farm Credit and Agriculture Committee Chairman Conaway this week to host an event in honor of farmer veterans and celebrate the success of the Homegrown By Heroes Program. The program promotes and supports agricultural products grown and raised by U.S. veterans and service members. Farming is a risky and volatile business, and access to credit is one of the most important investments we can make in assisting the next generation of farmers.
Discovering the 7th
The Minnesota Machinery Museum in Hanley Falls captures more than a century of the state’s farm life in a collection of agricultural antiques. Implements, tools, and restored tractors and gas engines are among the most popular attractions at the museum which also includes a rural art exhibit. Each August, the organization hosts a traditional threshing demonstration.
This Week in American History
A statue unveiled in Periers, France on June 4, 2002 depicts four American soldiers who died attempting to free the town from Nazi control during World War II. Two Minnesotans, Virgil Tangborn of Bemidji and Richard Richtman of Minneapolis, are commemorated on the statue. The statue, commissioned with funds raised by the residents of Periers, is rare in its specific rather than general representation of soldiers.
Visitors from the District
Paige, Evan, John, Tanya, and Tim Miller (SD), Nathan, Micah, and April Anderson (PELICAN RAPIDS)
Claire, Keenan, Tara, and Lyn Stotlenow (MOORHEAD), Tara, Alysa, John, and Maddy Jacobson (MOORHEAD)
Michael and Nancy Gohmann (Saint Cloud), Louisa, Christian, Isabel, Andreas, and Simon Pouwels (Germany), Nick and Judith Trotter (WINDOM)
Matt, Darcey, John, and Andrew (FERTILE)
Abigail Lindgren (FERGUS FALLS)
2015 Congressional Art Competition