Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 10/9/2015

Dear Friends,

Current U.S. crude oil export laws are outdated, and do not reflect America’s status as the world’s largest oil producer. I voted in support of a bill to lift crude oil export restrictions in the House this week, and urged my colleagues to support the use and production of domestic energy. The House Agriculture Committee held a hearing to review the 2015 dietary guidelines, and I emphasized that we not lose sight of the guidelines’ original intent. Finally, I was honored to receive the Benjamin Franklin Public Policy Award from the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies for my support of the insurance industry in rural America. 


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies

I met with members of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies this week to discuss the insurance industry in rural America. We talked about everything from upcoming legislation impacting their industry to the possibility of infectious disease insurance products in the wake of the avian influenza outbreak that devastated so many Minnesota farms. I was also honored to receive the NAMIC Benjamin Franklin Public Policy Award again this year.

Minnesota Agriculture


This week, I was met with a group of Minnesotans that play an important role in our agriculture economy to discuss a number of issues. Meeting participants included Tom Slunecka of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, Carl Casale of CHS Inc., Jeff Johnson of Centra Sota Co-op, Anna Boroff of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Kevin Schoen of General Mills, Lori Marco of Hormel Food, and Su Rankin and Hank Braegelmann of Land O’Lakes.

Ellingson Companies

Last Friday North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer and I participated in a round table discussion about tile drainage and water management at Ellingson Drainage in Harwood, ND. I believe we have a big opportunity to manage water underground throughout the Red River Valley with modern tiling practices that can help to alleviate flooding and improve agriculture productivity. 

Fuels America

Bob Dinneen (President/CEO, Renewable Fuels Association), Tom Buis (CEO, Growth Energy), and Jon Doggett (Executive Vice President, National Corn Growers Association)

On Wednesday, I met with leaders in the renewable fuels industry to discuss the Renewable Fuel Standard and its importance to rural America. The RFS is a key part in our nation’s all-the-above energy strategy and technological advancements are decreasing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

Representative Eva Clayton

I was honored to welcome my friend, former Congresswoman Eva Clayton, to my office this week. Ms. Clayton, the first African-American woman to represent the state of North Carolina, retired from Congress in 2003 but maintains her strong commitment to nutrition and hunger issues. 

United Transportation Union

This week, my staff met with Phillip Qualy with the United Transportation Union which represents railroad engineers. He discussed issues that are important to railroad engineers including safety and working conditions, and the Positive Train Control (PTC) technology implementation schedule.

Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota

On Monday, my staff aide Rebekah Solem met with Maureen Warren and Susie Schatz of Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota to hear about the many services that Lutheran Social Services (LSS) provides in Minnesota. LSS is well known for its Senior Dining and Meals on Wheels programs, which help seniors live actively and independently in their communities. Many 7th district seniors sent notes to me in support of these types of home and community-based services. LSS also talked about financial counseling and services for veterans and active military personnel.

Minnesota Mental Health

Maria Stevens (Washington, DC) Claire Wilson (Minneapolis), Shauna Reitmeier (CROOKSTON)

Minnesotans Claire Wilson, Executive Director of the Minnesota Association of Community Mental Health Programs, and Shauna Reitmeier, CEO of Northwestern Mental Health, visited my office this week advocating for additional federal support for local mental health facilities and services. They talked to my staff about the spike in deaths from opioid overdoses, as well as new efforts to offer comprehensive mental health programs and services in Minnesota. There are a lot of barriers to accessing mental health treatment, which is why it is so important to give families and communities the support they need access mental health and substance abuse programs.

Southwest Minnesota Workforce, Innovation, and Opportunity

Ron Antony (Chair, Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council & Commissioner, Yellow Medicine County)

On Thursday, staff aide Toni Merdan attended the Southwest Minnesota Workforce, Innovation, and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Regional Planning Session hosted by the Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council in Redwood Falls, Minnesota. Individuals from throughout southwest Minnesota came together to identify workforce issues and discussed strategies to develop a plan to address workforce development needs in the region. 

Legislative Update

Crude Oil Exports

I spoke on the House floor this week in support of legislation to remove crude oil export restrictions. Studies have shown that lifting the current ban on crude oil exports would create jobs, especially in rural areas, as we have seen in North Dakota. I urged all members of Congress to support an all-the-above domestic energy production strategy, and consider the national security and economic development benefits of oil production, biofuel production, and related policies.

Agriculture Committee Hearing on Dietary Guidelines

The House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday welcomed Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell and USDA Secretary Vilsack for a hearing on the development of the 2015 dietary guidelines. The departments are still reviewing comments with the plans to release a final report by the end of the year. During the hearing I questioned the public confidence in the guidelines and expressed my concern that we’ve lost sight of the guidelines’ original intent.

Subcommittee Hearing on 2015 Fire Season

The Agriculture Committee Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry met Thursday to review the 2015 Fire Season. Wildfires have impacted much of the country and it has been quite some time since we have looked at the issue. Our biggest Forest Service issue, in my opinion, is their lack of resources. We have given them a job to do, a very important job, but not the resources they need to adequately fight wildfires.

EPA Waters of the U.S. Rule

A U.S. federal appeals court issued a nationwide stay this week, preventing an EPA measure from going into place that would expand the amount of water and wetlands subject to federal regulation. This rule gives the EPA unprecedented authority over drainage ditches and wetlands, and a stay gives farmers, ranchers, and rural communities needed regulatory relief.        


National 4-H Week

During the first full week of October, approximately 6 million young people celebrate National 4-H Week to recognize the citizenship, leadership, responsibility, and life skills development that define the youth organization. This is a great youth development program, and I thank 4-Hers around the 7th District for the positive impacts they have on their local communities.

Discovering the 7th

The Hemker Gene Farm in Freeport started in 1977 as a collection of waterfowl. By 2006, the expanded Hemker Park and Zoo boasted a menagerie of more than 51 species, including a family of African black-footed penguins. The zoo also offers educational tours, reindeer sleigh rides, a mobile petting zoo, and opportunities for children to feed animals.

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. The ratification of the US Constitution in 1789 empowered Congress to “provide and maintain a navy,” further developing the fleet. Currently, the US Navy is estimated to be larger than the rest of the world’s 13 leading 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.

Isabella Francisco (LITCHFIELD)
2015 Congressional Art Competition