Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 12/13

Snow in the 7th

Dear Friends,

This week, in the midst of negotiations with farm bill conferees, I spent some time talking to a number of farm broadcasters to keep everyone up to date on Farm Bill developments. I also met with leaders in the telecommunications, agriculture and business industries. While many members of Congress are heading home for the holiday recess, I will stay in Washington, D.C. to continue efforts to get the Farm Bill completed.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson

Minnesota 7th District

Farm Bill Update

The Leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees continued to make progress on a five-year farm bill this week. The House has adjourned for the year, but we plan to keep working and it looks like we should be able to present a compromise to the farm bill conference committee in early January and bring the farm bill to a vote shortly thereafter.

Farm Bill Negotiations Continue

This week I discussed the farm bill negotiations with KFGO’s News & Views and MPR’s The Daily Circuit. I talked about the importance of ongoing farm bill negotiations and why we need to get the job done on a comprehensive, long-term deal.

-KFGO interview (includes questions from constituents)

-Minnesota Public Radio interview

MN Telecom Alliance Board Members

Vice-Chair Steve Katka (ALBANY), Chairman Jean Pauk, Mary Ehmke, Bob Olson, and President/CEO Brent J. Christensen.

On Wednesday I spoke with members of the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Telecom Alliance. We discussed how the FCC should adopt more balanced policies for areas served by small rural telecom providers, like the 7th District, and embrace a more transparent rulemaking process. Rural consumers disproportionately pay higher rates for their telecom services due to the high cost of operation in those areas. We also discussed broadband deployment and how 75% of Minnesota households can access broadband of speeds of at least 10 Mbps download and 6 Mbps upload.


Dave Roesser and Audra Wendt

Dave Roesser and Audra Wendt of Cargill came to my Washington office to talk about Cargill’s FR3 vegetable oil dielectric fluid for high voltage transformers. TFR3 fluid is made from soybeans. Because it is a vegetable oil, the fluid is less flammable than mineral oil and is biodegradable. On Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized Cargill for its technological innovation in developing the FR3 transformer oil by awarding it a 2013 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award.

Service Employees

Libby Kanter, SEIU (St. Paul).

Libby Kanter stopped by to discuss the impacts the federal budget and sequestration cuts have on Minnesota families and school children.

 Military Matters

National Guard celebrates its 377th birthday

Photo courtesy of the National Guard Association of the United States

Founded in 1636, the National Guard celebrated its 377th birthday on Friday, December 13th. The National Guard remains a community cornerstone as it provides protection to the citizens of the United States. A few members of the Minnesota National Guard stopped by to visit my Washington office including new commander of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division Neal Loidolt, Colonel Larry Herke, and Colonel Sandy Best.

Legislative Updates

Flood Insurance

I've been hearing from a number of homeowners and community leaders who have concerns about the implementation of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. This act, coinciding with the release of new FEMA flood maps, has made for skyrocketing flood insurance premiums for some homeowners who have never flooded or have maintained flood insurance over many years. While I have signed onto a bill to delay implementation of this act, the House and Senate leadership did not take action to move this forward before the House adjourns. I am hopeful that a growing bipartisan coalition will put enough pressure on leaders to move this forward as soon as possible when we return in January.

Reducing Regulatory Burdens on Private Pilots

This week I became an original cosponsor of H.R. 3708, the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act of 2013. This legislation would eliminate a burdensome regulation that requires small aircraft pilots to obtain special medical certification. Currently, general aviation is the only mode of transportation that requires a special medical exam to operate a vehicle for private and recreational use. These medical certificates can be costly and time consuming, as they can only be administered by an FAA-certified doctor, and put the decision about a pilot's medical fitness into the hands of a bureaucrat.

H.R. 3708 would allow private pilots to operate small aircraft with a driver's license as long as they comply with any medical requirement associated with that license and maintain a low speed and altitude. This was a case of government over-regulating without properly understanding the industry it impacted, and I am hopeful we can revise this regulation and embrace a more common sense standard.

Sportsmen’s Issues

I am an original cosponsor of the Wild Game Donation Act that was introduced on December 12th. This bill allows hunters to take part in a proposed tax credit for the processing of wild game when they donate meat to food based charities. This bipartisan bill would incentivize American hunters to contribute to needy organizations and help tackle our growing hunger problem.

Another bill which has seen considerable progress, and has my full support, is this year’s Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act. The bill assists in protecting ammunition and fishing tackle from lead regulation, supports public shooting ranges, provides for electronic federal duck stamps, protects legal firearms in water resource development projects, and facilitates hunting and fishing access in Bureau of Land Management and Forestry Service lands.

Constituents from the 7th

Two groups of constituents stopped by my Washington office for a U.S. Capitol tour on Friday.

Dick and Pat Krebs (APPLETON), Craig Wilkening (APPLETON), and Kerry and Paul Bonk (APPLETON)

Adam Ulbricht (MELROSE) and fellow CPA Brad Ostendorf (Linwood)

Bruce Cottington’s son (LITCHFIELD) Scott Cottington

This Week in American History

The International Committee of the Red Cross was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10th, 1917 for their extraordinary efforts during World War I. During the Great War, the Red Cross established the International Prisoner-of-War Agency, which helped soldiers who had been captured by the enemy still maintain contact with their families. The organization also transported thousands of soldiers to their home countries via neutral Switzerland. In recognition of their resolve to aid soldiers throughout the war, the Red Cross was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1917, and would go on to win two more in 1944 and 1963.

“Elements Over Time”

Grace Mathiesen (BATTLE LAKE)

2013 Congressional Art Competition