Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 10/25

Sugar beet harvest; then and now

Dear Friends,

This week it was my honor to congratulate and host Lieutenant Colonel Jon Pontius, who was promoted in rank in the U.S. Army on October 1st. Farm Bill negotiations are continuing to take place as all House and Senate conferees will meet next Wednesday to debate provisions for the next five-year Farm Bill. I presented Orice Larson the Patriot Award for his service in the military on Saturday. Minnesota Manufacturers Week recognizes the importance of manufacturing in our state.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson

Minnesota 7th District

First Farm Bill Conference Meeting Scheduled

House Agriculture Committee chairman Frank Lucas, who will chair the House-Senate farm bill conference committee, announced this week that the first public conference committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 30th, at 1:00 p.m. ET. More information is available here.


Lieutenant Commander Jennifer Krug, Cathy Helland, Lieutenant Colonel Jon Pontius, and Mark Helland (FERGUS FALLS)

This Wednesday I had the privilege of congratulating Lieutenant Colonel Jon Pontius on his promotion to the new rank of Lieutenant Colonel. I nominated Jon, who is from Fergus Falls, to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1992. Since then he has served in the military for over twenty years, spending sixteen years as an active duty soldier, and has made Minnesota very proud of his service. Jon was my first military Academy nominee as a Member of Congress. He is currently stationed in Washington, D.C. Jon was joined by his parents Mark and Cathy Helland and Lieutenant Commander Jennifer Krug. I am honored Jon let me congratulate him on his promotion in person.

If you or someone you know is interested in attending one of the service academies my office can help. Please visit my website to learn more at:

Wreath Laying Ceremony

Logan Koehn, Wade Smith, Molly Doyle, and Samantha Charles (ALEXANDRIA)

Four students from Jefferson High School in Alexandria were chosen for a special wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. The Tomb of the Unknowns is a monument dedicated to the services of unidentified soldiers and any soldier killed in any war. It is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year through any weather condition by Tomb Guard sentinels. The sentinels are considered the most elite soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as the Old Guard, stationed at Fort Myer, VA. The Tomb itself stands on top of a hill which overlooks Washington, D.C. The words inscribed on the back of the Tomb read: “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”  

To see a video of the Changing of the Guard ceremony click here.

Blue Ribbon Schools

Recently Winsted Elementary School and Garfield Elementary School were designated National Blue Ribbon Schools, an award that highlights educational achievements in schools across the country. A Blue Ribbon school is one which has been identified as high performing or exhibited profound improvement. Winsted and Garfield Elementary Schools exemplify the type of education we have and should continue to maintain in the 7th District. They are great examples of institutions that are truly serving the need of our children and families. I would like to congratulate these two schools on their fine achievements and wish them continued success.

Patriot Award

Orice L. Larson (MONTEVIDEO)

At Montevideo Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Pheasant Hunt held at Watson Hunting Camp last weekend, Orice Larson was awarded the Patriot Award for his service to our nation. This award is granted by the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), a program that encourages safe education and handling of firearms. I was proud to be a part of the presentation of this award to Orice who served our country in World War II as a Supply Sergeant for 179th Infantry. His unit served in the Battle of the Bulge and infiltrated the Eagles Nest, Hitler’s final stronghold at the end of the war. Orice’s life has been full of colorful anecdotes. Since his retirement from the service, he was a devoted member to veterans. He served in numerous roles as a member of the American Legion, the Disabled American Vets, and as a Commander, Service Officer, and Chaplain to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. As part of his award from the CMP, Orice was given an antique M1 Garand Rifle, which turned out to be the exact same model rifle he carried with him in World War II. We continue to honor veterans and heroes like Orice and will be forever grateful for their service to our Nation.

Click here to read an article from the Montevideo-American News about Orice Larson

Minnesota Manufacturers Week

Minnesota Manufacturers Week provides an important opportunity to reflect on industry’s positive role in rural Minnesota. Many communities in the 7th District held appreciation luncheons or breakfasts this week to educate the public on the impact of manufacturing in the community.   For example, manufacturing industries in Minnesota pay 20% higher in average wages than the average wage for all industries. Manufacturing accounts for nearly 850,000 jobs, which is 33% of all jobs in Minnesota.

Students and industry professionals talk manufacturing (MONTEVIDEO)

About forty engineering students from Montevideo High School met with representatives of local manufacturing firms to learn about the employment opportunities in the area. Companies in the Montevideo region provided tours to the students so they could see the businesses firsthand. The event was organized by the City of Montevideo Community Development Department. In 2012, the City of Montevideo was home to 15 manufacturing companies which provided 978 jobs to the local area.

Grant Gagner (RED LAKE FALLS)

During Minnesota Manufacturers Week, a group from the Red Lake Falls Housing Redevelopment Authority visited WoodMaster in Red Lake Falls to learn about the WoodMaster Commercial Series boiler and forced air furnaces that burn renewable fuels such as wood pellets and wood chips.  Sales Manager Grant Gagner showed the group how a boiler provides the heating needs for 80% of their business.

Rural Minnesota CEP


Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (RMCEP) held their joint Board of Directors and Workforce Council meeting this week in Ottertail. RMCEP is a private, non-profit partner in the Minnesota Workforce System. Dan Wenner, the Executive Director of RMCEP, informed attendees about their successes over the past year in providing services to people seeking jobs and employers seeking trained workers. Their service area encompasses 19 counties across northwest Minnesota.

Click here for more information on Rural Minnesota CEP, Inc.

Agricultural Utilization Research Institute

Roger Wacek, Jay Trusty (SLAYTON), Les Nelson (WILLMAR)

The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) held their October Minnesota Renewable Energy Roundtable at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph this week. AURI helps develop new uses for agricultural products through science and partnering with businesses and entrepreneurs to bring ideas to the marketplace. The Renewable Energy Roundtable, one of AURI’s innovation networks, encourages entrepreneurs to take action on the challenges and opportunities in the area of renewable energy. This month’s meeting centered around the challenges of workforce issues in the field of renewable energy. 

If you are interested in learning more about AURI and the Roundtables, click here.

This Week in American History

“Surrender of Lord Cornwallis” painting inside the U.S. Capitol

British General Lord Cornwallis surrendered to American forces on October 19th, 1781, effectively ending the Revolutionary War. General George Washington’s 2,500 troops joined a French army of 4,000 soldiers and stopped the escape of Lord Cornwallis by land. With the assistance of a large French fleet and a failed British attempt to scatter their ships, the British General was also cut off from escaping by sea. Within a few weeks Lord Cornwallis was overwhelmed by military forces on all sides and was forced to surrender with his 7,000 officers and men, 900 seamen, and 45 ships. In what has been seen as a snub to General Washington, Lord Cornwallis did not attend the surrender ceremony. Instead, he sent his second-in-command to carry his sword and officially surrender to General Washington. A year and a half later, the Treaty of Paris was signed, formally recognizing the United States as an independent nation. The Treaty of Paris also set the boundaries between the U.S. and British territories. The treaty read that the boundary to the north would run “through the most northwestern point of the Lake of the Woods, then due south along the 49th parallel of north latitude.”

Constituents from the 7th

Phil, Kari, Alex, Jacob, and Lauren Buysse (MARSHALL)

“Abstract Circles”
Brenna Tescher (WARREN)
2013 Congressional Art Competition