Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 11/16

Nov 16, 2012 Issues: Education, Health, Veterans

Northwest Minnesota


Dear Friends,

Congress returned to session this week and I continued to stress the importance of finishing our work on the five-year Farm Bill along with my opposition to delaying action by passing an extension.  I also met with the Secretary of Agriculture to discuss these very important issues.  On Tuesday evening I enjoyed visiting with principals and teachers from Dassel and RTR Schools in Ruthton as they were honored here in Washington D.C. as Blue Ribbon schools.  This newsletter also recognizes the 237th Birthday of the Marine Corps, and I would like to thank the Corps as we celebrate their years of dedicated service.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District


Military Matters

Veterans COLA bill clears Senate, heads to President for signature

The Senate on Tuesday finally passed a bill that would provide a 1.7% cost-of-living increase in benefits for disabled veterans and survivors. I supported it and voted for it when the House passed their version of the bill back in July. The increase is expected to be included in veterans January checks. The increase would mean an additional $500 in benefits for veterans and their families next year.

VA Recognizes National Rural Health Day

The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health set aside November 15th to both showcase rural America and increase awareness of health-related issues in rural areas.  There are 59.5 million people in this country - nearly one in five Americans - who make their homes in rural areas, and they often have unique health care needs.  Disproportionate shares of our Nation's servicemembers also live in rural areas.  That is why the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Rural Health has supported over 1,000 projects and programs to support the unique needs of rural Veterans.  National Rural Health Day reminds us of the strength and richness of rural America as well as the need to preserve and maintain it.

237th Birthday

The Marine Corps celebrated its 237th Birthday this week with a reception on Capitol Hill.  Hundreds of years ago in a Philadelphia tavern, a committee of the Continental Congress gathered to draft a resolution calling for two battalions of Marines to fight for our Nation's independence.  On November 10, 1775, they officially formed the Continental Marines, and that day continues to be celebrated as the birthday of the Marine Corps. Over the years the Marine Corps Birthday has been celebrated in a wide variety of ways, depending on the location and circumstances of the Marine units. The celebration involves the reading of an excerpt from the Marine Corps Manual and a birthday message from the Commandant; the cutting of a birthday cake by the commanding officer; and the presentation of the first and second pieces of cake to the oldest and youngest Marines present. Recently, the ceremony for the observance of the Marine Corps Birthday by large posts and stations has been incorporated into written directives. These men and women honorably sacrifice to keep our Nation safe and free.  Happy Birthday to the Marine Corps!

Farm Bill Update

Speculation continues about the fate of the farm bill during the lame duck session. House Republican Leaders did not bring the Agriculture Committee’s bipartisan five-year farm bill to the floor for a vote before leaving in September, letting the 2008 bill expire September 30. Right now, it’s unclear how Leadership will choose to take up the bill. I discussed the different options for dealing with the farm bill with AgriTalk this week, which you can listen to at this link -

Visit from Secretary Vilsack

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visited my Capitol Hill office on Thursday to discuss the ongoing farm bill debate and other issues impacting rural areas. Secretary Vilsack has been a strong advocate in urging Congress to pass a five-year farm bill and I appreciate his support for America’s farmers and ranchers.

Congratulations to RTR and Dassel Elementary Schools

Pictured above with (L to R): Mandy Jensen (RTR-Tyler), Carmen and Amy Christensen (RTR-Ruthton), Debbie Morris and Julie Redman (Dassel), Dennis Jensen (RTR-Tyler)

Dassel Elementary School and Russell-Tyler-Ruthton Elementary School, two fine schools from the 7th District, were awarded the designation of Blue Ribbon School in highlight of their achievements.  A Blue Ribbon designated school is one which has been identified as either an exemplarily high performing one or a school that has exhibited profound improvement. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of these schools with the students, teachers and administrators. I recently attended a Blue Ribbon Ceremony for RTR Elementary School, and Dassel Elementary School will celebrate their award in an upcoming ceremony. This week I was pleased to meet representatives from RTR Elementary and Dassel Elementary as they visited Washington for the national Blue Ribbon ceremony. I would like to congratulate these two schools on their demonstrated success and achievements.

Inauguration Day

Photo hanging in my office from the Presidential Inauguration in 2009

The Presidential Inauguration will be held on Monday, January 21, 2013 on the west front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. My office will have a limited number of swearing-in tickets available to constituents from the 7th District.  You can find more details on my website by clicking here.