Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 10/19/2018

October 22, 2018

Appleton – Swift County

Dear Friends,

This week, I met with Minnesotans from Bemidji to Lamberton. I visited Red Rock Central Secondary School in Lamberton to recognize the school’s distinction as a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School. Red Rock Central Secondary is one of four schools in the 7th to receive this honor for outstanding academic performance and their work closing achievement gaps between students. On Monday, I met with ProAg in Mahnomen and Noah Insurance in Callaway to chat about crop insurance and the proposed changes that could come from a new Farm Bill. I met with officials from the city of Tracy on Wednesday to discuss flood mitigation. The city saw damage from flooding in July and is currently working with state and federal officials to find ways to prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Blue Ribbon Schools

Class President Noah Pankonin, Principal Phil Goetstouwers, and State Senator Bill Weber

This week, I visited Red Rock Central Secondary School in Lamberton to celebrate its selection as a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School. This prestigious distinction recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools for their overall academic performance and progress in closing achievement gaps among students. Red Rock Central Secondary School is one of 349 schools selected by the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program this year, including 8 from Minnesota. Buffalo Lake‐Hector‐Stewart Elementary School, Canby Elementary School, and Fertile-Beltrami Elementary School are the other winners from the 7th District.

Flood Mitigation Meeting with Tracy Officials

I met with Tracy city officials this week to discuss how they are recovering from the flooding that hit their community in July. The City of Tracy is working with Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to develop a proactive mitigation plan to prevent wide spread flooding damage in the future. We discussed the different options that the city could pursue and the federal funding sources that could be used to finance the plan.

Local Parents Share Their Experience Raising Diabetic Children

I had the opportunity to sit down with Gina Stanford and her son Noah, Priscilla Bowman, and Stacy Zimmy with her daughter Addie on Thursday morning. We visited in my Detroit Lakes office where they told me about their experience as parents of children with diabetes. One challenge they mentioned is the lack of food labels in restaurants and not knowing whether to take medication before enjoying a meal. Although many restaurants do offer nutrition labels upon request, many do not have that information. There are laws in effect that require food vendors to display the nutritional content of their products, however they do not apply in some cases. I will continue to work in Congress on this issue that impacts so many families.

Highwater Ethanol

I had the opportunity to visit Highwater Ethanol in Lamberton this week. As the Co-Chair of the Biofuels Caucus, I have been a constant advocate for year-round sale of E15. While I support the Administration’s attempt to expand access to E15 through rule makings, I am concerned that without a legislative solution this issue will get tied up in the courts. I will support legislation to allow this change to be implemented effectively. Increased E15 sales will provide a needed boost to the ethanol industry and give corn growers access to a broader segment of the domestic fuels market.

Local and County Officials in Bemidji

Bemidji City Manager Nate Matthews and Beltrami County Administrator Kay Mack (Photo courtesy of Matthew Liedke and the Bemidji Pioneer)

On Tuesday, I met with local and county officials in Bemidji to discuss issues that are important to the area. We spoke at length about the new veterans home that is planned for the city and the importance of involving federal lawmakers as the project moves forward. The State of Minnesota will provide a significant portion of the funding, but there is a good deal of money that still needs to be found. I asked that the community to provide me with regular financial updates so that I can work to find additional funding at the federal level.

Click here to read a story from the Bemidji Pioneer about this visit.

Talking Crop Insurance with ProAg and Noah Insurance

(Left) Aaron Vipond, Pam Vipond, Mike Vipond and Dave Vipond (Right) Larry Noah

I visited ProAg in Mahnomen and Noah Insurance in Callaway on Monday to talk about crop insurance. I have long been a supporter of the crop insurance program as it is a vital risk management tool that farmers use as a backstop against bad weather and market volatility. I am pleased that new federal insurance products are being developed for dairy and livestock producers.

New Flyer Bus Company

LeRoy Stumpf of my staff visited the New Flyer Bus Company on Wednesday. The tour was hosted by Transportation for America Chairman John Robert Smith. Chairman Smith gave a presentation about the importance of transit systems in communities both large and small. A good transit system allows those who do not drive to be mobile while also reducing the number of vehicles on our roads. New Flyer sells models of their buses to cities across the United States and Canada and can tailor them to fit the needs of nearly any customer. They have designed models to be fueled by diesel, natural gas, electricity, hydrogen and hybrid.

AgriTalk with Chip Flory

I got the chance to talk on Tuesday with Chip Flory on AgriTalk about a handful of things, including the ongoing negotiations on the farm bill and other issues impacting farmers like the Administration’s announced expansion of E15 ethanol sales year-round. I told Chip that the E15 decision is a promising one for the ethanol industry, but it’s something that farmers won’t see the full benefit of until there is legislation passed that makes progress on renewable fuels more permanent if the rulemaking gets caught up in the courts. I also gave an update on where we are with the farm bill, and the ongoing meetings with Chairman Conaway and our counterparts in the Senate, Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow. We have a handful of outstanding disagreements, but we’re close and if we can all stay at the table productively, we can get a bill done and signed before the end of the year.

Northwest Minnesota Council of Collaboratives Meeting

The Northwest Minnesota Council of Collaboratives (NWMNCC) is comprised of organizations and individuals from Kittson, Marshall, Mahnomen, Norman, Pennington, Polk and Red Lake counties. The primary goal of the NWMNCC is to improve the lives of children and families. This is accomplished by coordinating human and financial resources to address the needs of over 75,000 people. I am glad one of my staff could attend your meeting and learn about the problems our youth face in our schools, at home and in our communities.

Groundbreaking for Apex Townhomes in Detroit Lakes

On Wednesday, my staff attended the official groundbreaking ceremony for Apex Townhomes in Detroit Lakes. The project is a 30-unit affordable housing project funded by the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit which encourages the investment of private equity in the development of affordable rental housing for low-income households. Detroit Lakes, along with many other communities throughout my district, are in serious need of affordable housing. With a strong job market and many local businesses expanding, it's critical to have enough housing to sustain a growing workforce. I strongly support our rural housing infrastructure and will continue to champion affordable housing in communities throughout my district.

Head Start Facility Opens in Thief River Falls

The Inter-County Community Council Executive Director Catherine Johnson gave my staff aide a tour of the new Head Start facility in Thief River Falls this week. Catherine told us how the Council partnered with Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls to open the new child care center. The new building has several rooms for learning, exercising, sleeping and eating inside, and a quality playground outside. The Head Start program will start with 40 children at the Northland site and will see 50 others at their homes.

Bemidji Area Forestry Affairs Council

Jerry Richards, the new Chair of the Bemidji Area Forestry Affairs Council, hosted a meeting with the U.S. Forest Service on Saturday. The Forest Service representative explained the Sand Plains Pine Project in the Chippewa National Forest. The agency wants local foresters to collaborate with the Nature Conservancy to better manage the forest through a science-based repopulation of certain tree species. They described the area of the Chippewa National Forest where the project would focus as vital to local tribal communities and businesses reliant on timber.

Capitol Police Officer from Alexandria

Gretchen Revering serves as a Capitol Police Officer in the United States Capitol Building. The Alexandria native started her position in March and has been doing important work to ensure the security of America’s lawmakers and the Capitol’s many guests. Officer Revering was on her evening patrol Monday when she stopped to check in on the office of her hometown’s congressman. Thank you for your service, Gretchen.

World Food Day

World Food Day is October 16th. Today, there are more than 815 million hungry people in the world, and for the first time in 15 years that number is on the rise. We are fortunate in the United States to have a strong domestic food supply. Some nations are not so lucky. Feed the Future is an organization that aims to strengthen the agriculture industries of nations around the world through agricultural education initiatives.

You can read more about Feed the Future’s work to address world hunger by clicking here.

American Pharmacists Month

October is American Pharmacists Month, during which time we recognize the contributions of pharmacies to our communities. Pharmacists are among the most accessible providers in rural healthcare systems and offer a range of critical services including daily prescriptions, guidance on over-the-counter medications, care management, and medical counseling. I am proud to support pharmacies as a co-sponsor of several measures to increase the transparency of drug pricing and secure reimbursement for pharmacies in underserved and often rural areas.

Legislative Update

Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act

Last August, I introduced the bipartisan Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act with Representative David Young (R-IA-3) to require all group and individual health plans to cover medically necessary services related to congenital anomalies and birth defects. I’m happy to announce that Representatives Anthony Brown (D-MD), Glenn Thompson (R-PA), and Paul Tonko (D-NY) have agreed to co-sponsor the legislation, bringing the total number of co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle to 13. I will continue to work toward ensuring that customers can afford costly reconstructive treatments, particularly when the healthy development of a child is at stake.  

This Week in American History

On October 15, 1800, Spain transferred the Louisiana Territory, part of which would eventually become western Minnesota, to France. France sold the 530,000,000-acre territory to the United States three years later for $15 million. Napoleon Bonaparte, France’s First Consul at the time, authorized the sale.

What’s the Story?

The State of Minnesota adopted its first official seal in 1858. Lawmakers chose to update the seal in 1971. After their first ideas failed to be approved by the state’s lawmakers, the current design was adopted in 1983. The seal features a farmer plowing the land to represent the importance of agriculture to the state’s economy. To represent the Native heritage of the state, a Native Minnesotan is shown on horseback galloping south toward the farmer. Also depicted are the state tree, the Norway pine, and the Falls of St. Anthony to symbolize Minnesota’s northern forests. I display this enlarged version of the Great Seal of the State of Minnesota in my Washington, D.C. office.

Dr. Joel, Emily and Harry Dunn toured the U.S. Capitol Building with our intern, Kaelib TeeGarden, this week