Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 11/4/2016

November 4, 2016


Dear Friends,

Our economy is the engine that keeps our country running, and I continue to prioritize expanding our economic potential every day. This week, I met with several groups that help support our rural economy including local businesses like Ernie’s Food Market in Staples and job-creating projects like the Willmar Wye and the United Community Action Partnership. I also joined Senator Klobuchar in discussing the benefits of the New Market Tax Credit program in creating jobs and growing our community. Finally, it was a pleasure to join Minnesota State Chancellor Rosenstone to discuss educational initiatives and business opportunities.

Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Farm Bill Energy Program in Action

On Wednesday, Senator Amy Klobuchar and I toured Ernie's Food Market in Staples. Ernie's is a locally-owned grocery store and convenience store along Highway 10 that was awarded a $19,693 grant from USDA Rural Development's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The owners showed us their new energy efficient coolers and gave us a tour of their entire facility. Minnesota's Rural Development Director Colleen Landkamer also was able to join us at the tour.

 I was pleased to sponsor the REAP program in the 2008 Farm Bill to help increase renewable energy generation and decrease the demand for energy through energy efficiency improvements. The program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. For more information on the program, visit

New Markets Tax Credit

While the community is just outside of my district, it was a pleasure to stop in Park Rapids this week with Senator Amy Klobuchar and State Senator Rod Skoe for a discussion of how the New Markets Tax Credit program has helped the community. The New Market Tax Credits meets an important and critical need for private-sector investment. It is one of the federal government’s most efficient and effective tools for driving investment into rural communities with high poverty and unemployment, the NMTC is a key part of economic development initiatives and our tax code. Since the beginning of the program in 2002, 41 projects have been financed in the 7th district creating 2,643 full time jobs and 1361 construction jobs.

Willmar Wye

Roger Imdieke, Kandiyohi Co. Commissioner; Larry Kleindl, Kandiyohi County Administrator; Mel Odens, Kandiyohi County Engineer/Public Works Director.

On Tuesday, I met with Kandiyohi County officials to review a project known as the Willmar Wye.  The Wye is a rail road bypass that will reduce the freight bottleneck in downtown Willmar and provide rail access to the local industrial park.  Partners include the City of Willmar, Kandiyohi County, BNSF Railroad, and MNDOT.  The project received a $10 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant in 2015.

Chancellor Rosenstone

On Tuesday, I was happy to sit down with Southwest Minnesota State University President Connie Gores and Minnesota State Chancellor Steven J. Rosenstone. Mr. Rostenstone is chief executive officer of all 31 of Minnesota’s State Colleges and Universities, and I look forward to seeing the progress he makes in expanding educational opportunities in our community.

Solar Field Day

Ted Suss (LUCAN), describes his solar installment.

Minnesota Farmers Union and CURE (Clean Up the River Environment) co-hosted a Solar Field Day in Redwood Falls on Tuesday, November 1.  Solar energy is proving to be an efficient and economical source of power for some livestock operations and rural homes.  I’m glad that Farmers Union and CURE provided the chance for interested residents to learn if solar is right for them. With dramatically increased solar and wind production, Minnesota is continuing the tradition of being a leader in renewable energy production.

Veterans Benefits Administration

My staff member Meg Louwagie attended the Congressional Roundtable put on by James Manker, the Acting Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Veterans Benefits Administration.  Topics discussed were the reduction of Pension inventory by 63%, the positive effect of the $67.7 billion in post 9/11 GI bill benefits and over $2.61 million in VA home loans, and speed of processing and dispersing insurance death claims in an average of 3.9 days at near 100% accuracy.  Other topics discussed included improvements in the Veterans claims experience and the VBA’s National Work Queue.

CHS Mahnomen Elevator

With the 2016 crop year winding down, many farmers are wondering if the good harvest will cover their expenses. The value of their commodities has slid to a very low point. Farmers and businesses dependent on the farm economy are feeling this stress. I will continue to push for the early reauthorization of the Farm Bill to provide all the support we can.

United Community Action Partnership Grant Award

On Tuesday, I attended an event hosted by United Community Action Partnership to celebrate its $767,000 award from Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. This money will be used to develop five houses in the Marshall Parkway II Addition for low and moderate income families. Combined with local private investments of $336,500, a total of more than $1.1 million will assist income eligible families in obtaining safe and affordable housing. They expect to break ground on the houses in Spring 2017.


Native American Heritage Month

The campaign to establish a national day of recognition for Native Americans began in 1915. Now, November has been designated to commemorate and understand the rich cultures and traditions and the complex histories of Native American and Native Alaskan people. As we celebrate the accomplishments of First Americans, let us not forget what they have overcome. We are especially lucky to have four tribal communities in the 7th district: White Earth, Red Lake, Upper Sioux, and Lower Sioux.

Senior Healthcare Option Meetings

This month, UCare is hosting several informational meetings throughout Otter Tail and Grant Counties about healthcare and Medicare options for seniors.

The meeting schedule is as follows:

  • Tuesday, November 8 - 2:00pm, GrandStay Hotel & Suites in Perham.
  • Wednesday, November 9 - 10:00am, AmericInn in Fergus Falls.
  • Friday, November 11 - 10:30am, Thumper Pond Clubhouse in Ottertail.
  • Monday, November 14 - 2:00pm, Elbow Lake Community Building in Elbow Lake.

This Week in American History

On November 5, 1903, the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Emil Oberhoffer, presented its inaugural performance. Earning the name of Minnesota Orchestra in 1968, the ensemble now presents nearly 175 programs in a typical year, with concerts of over 350,000 attendees.

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 is a zoo that sits on the largest municipal park in Minnesota…

Congratulations to Cathy Kulig of Fergus Falls for being the first to correctly identify our last location as the Minnesota Marine Art Museum!

Share your guess on our website –

“Who Will Bring Her Hope?”
Resminee Ingles (RAYMOND)