Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 10/10/2014

Dear Friends,

Promoting student achievement is critical to the development of both the individual and the community. This week, I was happy to see the commitment of our District’s educational institutions and organizations to providing accessible education that prepares students for careers and global competitiveness. I joined caregivers, families, and friends in walking to end Alzheimer's Disease, and celebrated the completion of a new addition to the Voyager Industries manufacturing space in Brandon. I was also honored by the National Association of Manufacturing with their Manufacturing Legislative Excellence award, and was named a “Friend of the Farm Bureau.” Finally this week, we recognize 4-H for their dedication to youth citizenship, leadership, and responsibility.



Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial

Last Sunday, the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, which has been built adjacent to the U.S. Botanic Garden and within view of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., officially opened to the public. The memorial tells the story of veterans from every U.S. conflict and from every military branch who have withstood combat and lived to carry wounds of war. The memorial was designed by architect Michael Vergason and is dedicated to the sacrifices of our vets.

Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Bruce and Judy Eggleston (Bloomington), Nico, Wilson, Paul, Carol, Colleen, and Steve Setzepfandt (2013 Honorary Family)

It was an honor to participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer's Disease in Willmar this past weekend. There are an estimated 88,000 Minnesotans with Alzheimer's, and nationwide that number reaches more than 5 million people. We are blessed to have the dedicated work of our caregivers, family members and friends, whose numbers have been growing steadily in recent years. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States, Alzheimer's is the only one without a cure. I co-sponsored legislation that will step up federal efforts to diagnose and treat Alzheimer's through Medicare coverage and also require the National Institute of Health to better focus their efforts on finding a cure for this all-too-common disease.

White Earth Tribal College

WETCC President Terry Janis, students and staff  

White Earth Tribal College President Terry Janis hosted me for an open discussion on campus this week in Mahnomen. While at the College, I met many students and staff, who were happy to demonstrate their institution’s ability to weave academic curriculum with community and industry. White Earth tribal members began advocating for local, tribally-provided higher education services as early as 1979, with 40 students. Today, WETC now has an enrollment of nearly 2,000 students.

Alexandria Technical and Community College

David Bjelland (Chief Financial Officer), Steve Richards (Dean, Technology and Director of Financial Services), Laura Urban (President), Jan Doebbert (Executive Vice President, Academic and Student Affairs), Scott Berger (Dean, Law Enforcement and Public Safety, Director of Admissions)

Dr. Laura Urban, President of Alexandria Technical and Community College (ATCC), welcomed me to campus this week to discuss higher education initiatives and education policy. 3M recently awarded ATCC a $150,000 grant to increase high school students’ exposure to manufacturing career opportunities. The grant funds an initiative, “Building a Sustainable Manufacturing Workforce,” which features simulation platforms in 3M plants located in Alexandria, Fairmont, Hutchinson, and New Ulm. Alternatives to traditional four year Universities such as ATCC offer unique career readiness opportunities and it is vital that these educational programs receive support and remain accessible to students.

Education Minnesota Western North

Education MN Western North Group

More than 100 educators from western Minnesota attended this year’s Education Minnesota Western North fall drive-in held in Moorhead on Wednesday. I spoke with a number of teachers from the Western North group, all of whom attended informational workshops. I also addressed the teachers to discuss the importance of education and reaffirm my dedication to students and educators.  

Wild Rice Watershed

On Wednesday, I visited with the Wild Rice Watershed Board in Ada to update them about NRCS programs that may help reduce flooding. Recently, I secured $50 million dollars under the 2014 Farm Bill for NRCS programs in the Red River Valley of the North. It is anticipated that this funding will help with storage and retention projects to reduce the damages caused by Spring flooding. The Board and Administrator outlined their Green Meadow and Lower Wild Rice Projects, and we also discussed the EPA rule about Waters of the US.

Voyager Industries

Jon Boutain (CFO), Doug Johnson (Mayor, BRANDON), Mark Westby (Economic Development President), Monty Normand (Quality Manager), Gark Suckow (President and CEO)

Thursday I attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Voyager Industries’ new addition to their 70,000 square foot warehousing and manufacturing space in Brandon. Voyager Industries has handled prototype to full product production in aluminum and steel for 17 years. I joined Brandon Mayor Doug Johnson in congratulating the company on its significant contributions to the community, and was honored to cut the ribbon.

Friend of Farm Bureau Award

Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Paap today presented me with the organization’s ‘Friend of Farm Bureau’ Award. The annual award is presented to members of Congress who champion causes supported by the organization. I’m proud of the work I’ve done on behalf of our farmers and ranchers and thank the Minnesota Farm Bureau for this award.

Manufacturing Legislative Excellence

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) announced that I am a recipient of the NAM Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence based upon my record of voting that protects small and large manufacturers. The industrial sector employs over 12 million Americans, and remains a primary contributor to the US economy. It was an honor to be recognized by the largest manufacturing association in the United States.

National 4-H Week

During the first full week of October, approximately 6 million young people will celebrate National 4-H Week to recognize the citizenship, leadership, responsibility, and life skills development that define the youth organization. According to the University of Minnesota Extension Service, more than 65,000 youth participated in 4-H in Minnesota last year. For over 100 years, this program has helped youth better themselves and those around them as they seek to fulfill the 4-H Pledge: “I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands for larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world.” This is a great youth development program, and I acknowledge 4-Hers around the 7th District for the positive impacts they are having on their local communities. Newsstand

MN Healthcare

The Federal Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research has once again ranked Minnesota’s health care quality first in the nation. The ranking, based upon the Agency’s State Snapshots, reflect Minnesota’s integrated systems and coordinated care. Additionally, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report that, nationwide, Minnesota has among the highest quality and lowest healthcare costs.

Medicare Prescription Drug Enrollment

Each year, folks have the opportunity to reexamine their health plans and make sure they're still a good fit. I encourage you to talk with your doctors and your health insurance provider to make sure your plan works for you. Next week the Medicare open enrollment period begins for Medicare Part C and D. From October 15-December 7, folks are able to make changes to their coverage via Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) and/or Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage). To learn more, visit the Medicare website, get information about available health plans from Medicare at 800-633-4227, and talk with your insurance provider.

Community Oriented Policing Service Grants

The Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS) program awards grants to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies throughout the United States to hire and train law enforcement officers and develop policing strategies. I am pleased to announce that $120,327 in COPS funding has been awarded to the Lower Sioux Indian Community and $125,000 to East Grand Forks to hire and train additional personnel. These grants ensure that law enforcement agencies have the necessary resources to best protect and serve the communities they support.

Pheasants Forever

Habitat organization Pheasants Forever has determined the 25 best pheasant hunting towns in America based upon area bird counts, annual harvest, acres of accessible hunting land, and available lodging. Marshall (#10) is described as the “ideal jumping-off point to hunt four rectangular shaped counties in southwest Minnesota – Lyon, Lincoln, Murray and Pipestone Counties – which offer up some of the best rooster action Minnesota has to offer.” Minnesota’s Wildlife Management Area system is also praised for the public hunting opportunities it provides. This year’s pheasant season opens Saturday, October 11.

County Courthouse Tour

Original Pope County Courthouse (1866)/Present

After Pope County was organized in 1866, a log cabin (currently on display as part of a historic museum in Glenwood) served as the courthouse for one year, until it was replaced by a two-story brick building with cruciform configuration and two shallow-pitched gables. By 1928, the county board considered the building inadequate and had it razed to make room for the present courthouse. Once completed in 1930, a four-day celebration commenced including diverse food, music, and speeches commemorating the new structure. The Classic Revival style building features a heavy entablature upon the central frieze on which the words, "Built to Perpetuate Civic Order and Justice” are carved.

This Week in American History

Continental Ship Columbus (1776), USS Minnesota (2012)

Established by the Continental Congress on October 13, 1775, the Continental Navy numbered some 50 ships over the course of the American Revolution. After the War for Independence, Congress sold the surviving ships and released the seamen and officers. The ratification of the US Constitution in 1789, however, empowered Congress to “provide and maintain a navy.” Acting on that authority, Congress ordered the construction of frigates and established the Department of the Navy in April of 1798. Currently, the US Navy is estimated to be larger than the next 13 naval forces combined, with over 324,000 personnel and 285 deployable ships. The Navy’s worldwide presence in 100 international ports helps the department with its distinguished record of crisis response, power projection, and humanitarian service that spans 239 years.

Visitors from the 7th

Renee Chapman (Ham Lake/ROOSEVELT), Nancy Vieburg (St. Louis Park), Connie Soteropulos (Edina), Susan Timm (Minneapolis), Cindy Fellman (Minnetonka), Alan Chapman (Ham Lake/ROOSEVELT), Jeanne and Richard Newman (MADISON)

Loy and Pamela Larson (MOORHEAD), MaryJane and Glen Eilers (GLENCOE)

Robert, Savannah, and Kris Boedigheimer (MARSHALL)

Rachel Bloomquist (RAYMOND)
2014 Congressional Art Competition