Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 11/27

Nov 27, 2013 Issues: Congressional Issues

Embarkation of the Pilgrims
“Embarkation of the Pilgrims”
U.S. Capitol Rotunda

Dear Friends,

In this time of Thanksgiving, I would like to express gratitude for the opportunity to serve the people of Minnesota's Seventh District. While there are a lot of challenges in Congress, I know I can always count on my constituents to let me know how I'm doing. Have a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson

Minnesota 7th District

Seventh District Turkeys Go to Washington

The Burkel family raised two turkeys, Caramel and Popcorn, who took a ride (upper left) from their custom made house in Badger (upper right) to Washington, D.C. for their presidential pardon ceremony.

The earliest tales of spared turkeys date back to Lincoln’s presidency. According to the story, his son Tad became quite attached to a turkey bound for the Christmas dining table. He begged his father to write a presidential pardon for his friend, and President Lincoln let the turkey live. The first president to actually offer a turkey pardon on Thanksgiving was President George H.W. Bush in 1989. After an official turkey receiving ceremony, President H.W. Bush pardoned a turkey unfortunately named Frying Pan. Since then, pardoning has become an annual Thanksgiving tradition at the White House.

Here is the story of two turkeys from Badger and the family that raised them.

Joni, Vanessa, John, Keith, Janet, Alex, Emily, and Jack Burkel (BADGER and GREENBUSH), and Janice and Brach Svoboda (BADGER)

On Monday, the Burkel and Svoboda families visited my Washington office for a tour of the Capitol. Their family raised the two plump turkeys on their farm up in Badger to be pardoned by the President for this year’s Thanksgiving. They have been constantly training the turkeys to withstand all the attention due to their celebrity status as they make their way from Minnesota to the White House. The President met the Burkel family at the White House on Wednesday and determined which turkey, Caramel or Popcorn, will be officially pardoned. Regardless of which bird is chosen, both will survive this Thanksgiving and will move to Mount Vernon, VA, home to George Washington.

The Burkel family tells the Capitol’s underground subway operator James about their turkeys during a tour.

Agriculture Committee balcony

They also stopped in the Agriculture Committee room after their Capitol tour to see where farmer and agricultural issues are represented in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jack keeps Caramel and Popcorn in check

On Tuesday the Burkel family, Caramel, and Popcorn held a press conference at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel. John Burkel talked about the family’s excitement to visit the White House, the training regiment to get the turkeys ready for prime time, and Caramel and Popcorn’s favorite songs to listen to.

Popcorn pardoned at the White House on Wednesday


Karen Petersen (CLARA CITY)
2013 Congressional Art Competition