Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 11/16/2018
Oklee – Red Lake County
This week, the House of Representatives passed legislation that includes my language to give the State of Minnesota the authority to manage its population of gray wolves in a way that will best suit the needs of Minnesotans. My constituents have long expressed the need for local management of gray wolves, and I urge the Senate to act on this quickly. On Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue visited my office to discuss issues for the House Agriculture Committee heading into the 116th Congress. I appreciate the good working relationship I have with Secretary Perdue and I look forward to working with him during the next Congress. I am continuing to negotiate the farm bill with my colleagues on the conference committee and I believe we are close to finishing our report. I remain confident we will have a 5-year farm bill enacted by the end of the year.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Manage Our Wolves Act
I voted in support of a bill that includes my language to delist gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Wyoming. This morning, the Manage our Wolves Act passed the House on a bipartisan 196-180 vote and moves across the Capitol for Senate action. Farmers and ranchers in rural Minnesota need to be able to protect their livestock and pets from predatory gray wolves that are constantly stalking herds across the state. This scheduled vote followed a letter written by a coalition of 19 agriculture and sportsmen’s organizations that urged Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to place my bill on the House floor for a vote before the year’s end.
I gave a speech in support of this bill on the House floor. You can watch video of my speech by clicking here.
I would like to be able to tell you in this newsletter that we have a farm bill conference report drafted and ready for conferees to sign, but we’re not quite there yet. However, we are finally in striking distance of an agreement. We have narrowed issues down and I have worked with Chairman Conaway on a House offer that has been presented to the Senate to help us close out remaining issues. We are still focused on the goal of getting a new farm bill passed before the end of year to bring certainty to our ag producers and rural communities.
Secretary Sonny Perdue
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue stopped my office to congratulate me on my reelection after we chatted on election night. We discussed the status of the farm bill, the Trump Administration’s rulemaking on SNAP waivers, and the agenda for the House Agriculture Committee in the upcoming congress. I appreciate the good working relationship I have developed with Secretary Perdue since his appointment and look forward to working with him on the issues facing our farmers and rural America.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall
I spoke with American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall on Friday. We discussed the ongoing farm bill negotiations and the importance of enacting a 5-year bill by the end of the year. Zippy and I agree that American producers depend on a 5-year bill to increase certainty for them at this time when environmental and financial stresses have a lot of folks concerned about the future.
This week, representatives of New Flyer visited my office to thank me for my efforts to keep U.S. bus manufacturers competitive. I recently joined a letter urging the Department of Transportation to clarify its “Buy America” regulations to ensure that manufacturers, like New Flyer’s plant in Crookston, can properly project costs, procure parts, and avoid disruptions to transit systems. I also thanked Wayne Joseph (President of Transit Bus Business - pictured far left) and Paul Smith (Executive Vice President – pictured far right) for their decades of advocacy as they look forward to retirement at the end of the year.
White Earth Tribal Council
Raymond Auginaush, Sr., Alan Roy, and Eugene Tibbetts
Recently elected members of the White Earth Tribal Council visited with me to discuss the tribe’s wild rice cultivation efforts and the farm bill. White Earth Nation grows and harvests significant amounts of wild rice by hand that is high in protein and dietary fiber. I look forward to working with White Earth to expand market access for their wild rice.
Stronger America Through Seafood
I am the lead Democrat on the AQUAA Act, a bill which streamlines federal permitting processes for aquaculture facilities in federal waters and creates research and development opportunities to expand domestic markets of American-grown shrimp and fish. A coalition of seafood, restaurant, and manufacturing groups knowns as Stronger America Through Seafood (SATS) visited with me to show their support for the bill which will also benefit Minnesota-based aquaculture facilities.
National Young Farmers Coalition
Sophie Vranian (Watertown), Sam Karns (Duluth), Starr Brainerd (Duluth), Andrew Bahrenburg, Aimee Haag (LITCHFIELD), Lindsay Lusher Shute
On Thursday, representatives of the National Young Farmers Coalition visited my office to talk about the farm bill and federal programs for young and beginning farmers. During farm bill negotiations I have supported increasing funding for the Beginning Farmers and Rancher Development Program, a program that provides financial and educational resources for young farmers. We also discussed what the House Agriculture Committee could look like during the 116th Congress. I hope to recruit members from the incoming class of representatives that are dedicated to learning the details of federal agriculture policy, so that Congress can effectively serve America's producers.
This week, I met with representatives of the Teamsters to discuss the issues affecting pensions across the nation. Congress must work to protect the hard-earned dollars American workers have invested over the years for their retirements. I signed onto the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act, also known as the Butch Lewis Act in the Senate, so we can keep these funds from insolvency. It is time for the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans to move legislation that addresses this problem, and I will continue to work with my friends on both sides of the aisle to see this through. Additionally, some members of the group were Vietnam War veterans, and I was honored to present them with Vietnam War Commemoration Lapel Pins to recognize their service.
Katie Zenk, Beth Ford, Adam Durand
Beth Ford, Land O’Lakes new CEO visited my office on Thursday. She talked about the importance of completing the farm bill for dairy producers in Minnesota as well as the need to make progress on other issues like immigration reform and resolving ongoing trade disputes. I have worked on a bipartisan basis on each of these issues and will continue to do so to strengthen our rural economy.
Energy Conservation Improvement Programs
In 1980, the Public Utilities Commission was directed to initiate a pilot program to demonstrate the feasibility of investments in energy efficiency. Four decades later, Minnesota has a host of Conservation Improvement Programs, Clean Energy Resource Teams and a statewide Energy Savings Platform for communities. Minnesota now ranks 8th in the National Energy Efficiency Scorecard. Since 2008, the Conservation Improvement Program has saved Minnesotans an estimated $3.5 billion on their energy bills.
Find more information about Minnesota’s energy-saving initiatives here.
Veterans Day Lapel Pin
Department of Veterans Affairs Assistant Secretary Melissa Glynn presented me with a Veterans Day Lapel Pin, which is given to Congressional Members that are also veterans. I served in the North Dakota National Guard from 1963 to 1969 and honored to have received this recognition.
My office welcomed Minnesota native Madeleine Lerner this week. Madeleine graduated from the University of Minnesota, Morris in 2017 and has her Master’s in Conflict Transformation and Social Justice from Queen’s University Belfast. She will be interning in D.C. through the end of the year and helping serve the folks of the 7th District. I am happy to be able to give students interested in government an up-close view of the legislative process.
Spring Internship Application Deadline Approaches
I highly encourage all college students and recent graduates interested in serving Minnesota’s 7th district to apply to intern in my Washington, D.C. office. The deadline for submitting applications for spring 2019 internships is November 27, 2018. I am proud of the talented young people in our district and look forward to seeing the next group of students here in Washington.
For more information and to apply, visit my website. This is a paid equal opportunity position.
Congratulations to the Fertile-Beltrami FFA
The Fertile-Beltrami FFA competed at this year’s National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, where they succeed in taking home the Gold. FFA is an important organization that allows young people to demonstrate talent ranging from agricultural skills to the arts. I would like to congratulate the Fertile-Beltrami FFA on their accomplishments and for representing their community at the national level.
Read more about their experience here.
Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Drops for 3rd Straight Year
The American Farm Bureau Federation conducts an annual survey on the cost of classic holiday food products. The annual survey shows that the average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner is down 22 cents per person this year. In a similar trend, the price of your Thanksgiving turkey is about $1.36 per pound cheaper than it was last year - down 3 percent. Milk, sweet potatoes, green peas, and rolls also dropped in price. The Farm Bureau concludes that, after inflation, the average price of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is $19.37, the cheapest it has been in more than a decade.
Minnesota Ranks #2 for Volunteering in the U.S.
The Corporation for National and Community Service recently released a ranking of states based on the volunteering and civic engagement of residents. Minnesota was ranked #2 among states and Minneapolis and St. Paul together are the #1 cities. These volunteer activities provided an estimated $3.3 billion in economic value to Minnesota. We should be proud of our state’s commitment to service, and I hope that folks continue to offer what time they can for volunteering in their communities.
World Pancreatic Cancer Day
On November 15th, pancreatic cancer advocates around the world united in recognition of World Pancreatic Cancer Day. People around the globe showed their support by wearing purple and by shining a light on the work that must be done to combat this deadly disease. Pancreatic Cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States and is the only major cancer with a survival rate in the single digits, about 9 percent.
This Week in American History
DeWitt Wallace and his wife, Lila
On November 12, 1889 DeWitt Wallace was born in St. Paul. Wallace would go on to found Readers Digest in 1922. Since then, his family’s fortune has been used to support educational and performing arts associations around the nation.
What’s the Story?
New Flyer Excelsior CHARGE
New Flyer is the largest transit bus and motor coach manufacturer in North America. The company employs more than 1,200 people in Minnesota – around 400 of them at their plant in Crookston. This week, New Flyer announced that their sixty-foot-battery-electric bus completed the Federal Transit Administration’s Model Bus Testing Program. With completion of the testing, U.S. transit agencies can now utilize FTA funding to support their purchases of New Flyer’s battery-electric busses. New Flyer greatly contributes to the economy of the 7th District, and their innovations will help cities around the country cut down on carbon emissions. I display a miniature model of one of their new electric bus in my Washington D.C. office.