Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 10/28/2016

Oct 31, 2016 Issues: Energy, Health

Norman County

Dear Friends,

This week was spent traveling around the 7th District, meeting with several groups working to better our community. I met with Wild Rice Electric Cooperative to discuss energy production and joined several local officials on a tour of the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center to hear about environmental education efforts. I joined the Association of Minnesota Counties to work on issues affecting Clay, Becker, Wadena, Otter Tail, Wilkin, Traverse, Grant, Stevens, Douglas, Pope and Todd Counties and visited Melrose again to see firsthand their progress in recovering from their significant fire damage. Finally, I hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween weekend.

Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Melrose Fire Damage

I toured the damage to Melrose's main street this past week from a devastating fire that occurred on September 8. Eleven businesses and nine apartments were affected by the blaze. Businesses impacted employed 32 people and included insurance agencies, restaurants and a realtor. The city is trying to determine the best way to support these families and businesses. The city is also working toward a complete redevelopment of their downtown area plus the improvement of Melrose Lake and the replacement of the 5th Avenue Bridge. For more information, visit

Association of Minnesota Counties

On Friday, I was happy to speak to the Region IV meeting of the Association of Minnesota Counties. This organization consists of county commissioners from a nine county area including Clay, Becker, Wadena, Otter Tail, Wilkin, Traverse, Grant, Stevens, Douglas, Pope and Todd Counties. Topics of discussion included the upcoming farm bill and transportation funding.  

Wild Rice Electric Cooperative

I met this week with the Board of Directors of the Wild Rice Electric Cooperative. The consumer owned utility provides electric services to approximately 14,000 customers near Mahnomen. We met to discuss energy, regulations, disaster funding, the farm bill and other issues affecting the industry.

Prairie Wetlands

I was able to visit the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls on Friday with the Friends of the Prairie Wetlands. The Center is operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Many fourth and fifth graders in the Fergus Falls School District spend half-days at the Prairie learning about wildlife and ecology in a program that is one-of-a-kind in the whole country. The Center also partners with other area schools to provide a variety of environmental education programs to learners of all ages, as well as interpretive programs and walks throughout the year. They also host teacher workshops and training sessions for wildlife professionals. 

AURI Renewable Energy Roundtable

The Minnesota Renewable Energy Roundtable, one of the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute’s (AURI) innovative collaborative events, brings communities together to take action on the challenges and opportunities in the area of renewable energy. My staff joined business, nonprofit and industry leaders, along with local government representatives to discuss opportunities to expand our rural economy through new energy initiatives. The production of renewable energy from agricultural products remains an exciting opportunity. From transportation fuels to heat and electricity, I continue to look for ways to keep ag-based bioenergy a strong contributor to the state’s economy.

Pediatric Home Service

This week, my staff met with representatives of the Pediatric Home Service (PHS) to discuss ventilator services. In home ventilators allow patients to maintain adequate breathing and maintain life outside of a hospital. I look forward to working with PHS to ensure that these devices remain affordable and accessible in the future.


Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

On Wednesday, the Administration announced it will release approximately $101 million in LIHEAP grant funds to the state of Minnesota. During appropriation requests earlier this year, I supported strong LIHEAP funding because the program provides essential home heating assistance to Minnesotans who need help keeping their houses warm in the winter. I am pleased that Minnesota will again receive this necessary financial home energy assistance.

Rural Utilities Service

On Wednesday, The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it will be providing $3.6 billion in loans through the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) program to fund 82 electric projects in 31 states, including Minnesota. I led a letter of more than 200 bipartisan members of Congress to request adequate funding for the RUS program. Loans distributed to applicable rural electric cooperatives are paid back in full and generate $300 million in interest. This is a common sense program that boosts our rural electrical infrastructure and reduces our national debt at the same time.

The Life of Bobby Vee

On Monday, Minnesota lost a musical legend in the death of Bobby Vee, the teen idol singer of the early 1960s. Vee rose to popularity after replacing the rock star Buddy Holly in a local performance and went on to produce a long string of hit songs, including “Take Good Care of My Baby,” “Rubber Ball,” and “Come Back When You Grow Up.”

This Week in American History

On October 27, 1849, territorial legislature created the original nine counties of Minnesota. Of them, six are still found today: Benton, Dakota, Itasca, Ramsey, Wabasha and Washington. The other three of these original counties are no longer on the Minnesota map, Wahnahta and Mahkahta counties dissolved in 1851 into the last missing original, Pembina County, now known as Kittson County.

Spotted in the Seventh

Can YOU guess what was Spotted in the Seventh? Each week, the newsletter will feature a landmark or site somewhere in Western Minnesota. The first person to name the location wins! The location of the photo as well as the winner will be revealed in the next newsletter.

This week’s landmark has one of the most extensive collections of marine art in the nation…

Congratulations to Janelle Kaye of Windom for being the first to correctly identify our last location as Big Ole in Alexandria!

Share your guess on our website –

“Pencil Portrait”
Lauren Wubben (CLARA CITY)