Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 12/16/2016

Redwood Falls

Dear Friends,

This week I welcomed groups from all over Minnesota to my offices to discuss issues ranging from healthcare, to veterans’ affairs, transportation, hunger, and community development. I always appreciate the opportunity to hear from those who are making a difference in our communities. Finally, I was happy to host several remarkable young Minnesotans as we move forward in our Service Academy nomination process; we are always so impressed by those who are willing to serve our country, and I’m proud to see their interest.

Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Service Academy Nominations

Mike Arntson, Jennifer Smestad, Richard Smestad and Alex Cabrera

Each year, I have the privilege of nominating young people to U.S. service academies. On Saturday, a screening panel met to interview potential candidates applying for a nomination to one of the four U.S. service academies. These include the U.S. Military Academy West Point, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marines Academy. The U.S. Coast Guard Academy does not require a Congressional nomination. These institutions prepare college-age Americans to become officers of the U.S. Uniformed Services. Upon graduation, service academy graduates are commissioned as Officers in the active or reserve components of the military or Merchant Marines for a minimum of five years.

Twin Cities & Western Railroad Company

Representatives of Twin Cities & Western Railroad (TC&W) Company met with my staff this week to discuss Positive Train Control (PTC). As a co-sponsor of the Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation Act (H.R. 3651), I understand that railroad carriers and providers need flexibility when implementing new safety measures so that their service to our local, state, and national markets is not interrupted. I look forward to working with TC&W in the new Congress to ensure that the 7th District’s rail operations continue to be safe and effective.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota

Scott Keefer, Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications at Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Minnesota, visited my office this week to discuss the health insurance market in Minnesota. Many residents of greater Minnesota who plan to purchase health insurance in the individual market will select a plan through BCBS.

Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation

This week Arlen Kangas with the Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation visited my office about the work they are doing to promote business development and affordable housing opportunities for Minnesotans. One of their priorities in the next Congress is to maintain the New Markets Tax Credit, which the MMCDC uses to provide capital to finance business development and new housing. MMCDC has a long and exceptional history of doing great work for people in the 7th district, and I look forward to working with them in the coming year to strengthen our rural economy.    

Minnesota Timber Producers

Representing MN Timber Producers, Wayne Brandt from Duluth and Howard Hedstrom from Grand Marais stopped in the office to meet with my staff aide Zach Martin to discuss the economic benefits of Minnesota’s forests. The forest products industry impacts $8.9 billion of Minnesota’s economy each year. From loggers and lumber mills to paper and building products, our forests provide critical jobs to rural communities.

St Cloud VA Health Care – Linden Grove Apartments

Acting Director Cheryl Thieschafer 

This week, my staff aide Meg Louwagie attended a Veterans Affairs congressional roundtable discussing the completion of the Linden Grove Apartments, an affordable, permanent supportive housing community with priority placement for homeless or at-risk-of-homelessness Veterans. As an affordable housing community, residents need to meet income, rent, screening criteria and other qualifications.

Central Minnesota Food Access Summit

Pictured above is Dr. Margaret Adamek, the key-note speaker

On Thursday, my staff aide Toni Merdan attended the Central Minnesota Food Access Summit at the Central Lakes College in Staples, Minnesota. The event was hosted and sponsored by the college, the University of Minnesota Extension, AgCentric, and others. The event was held to bring together community members from across the region to learn about food access issues and available resources to address those issues, and to assist people in making connections to help find solutions.

Grow Our Own Summit

This week, members of my staff joined 570 community leaders to learn about some of the issues that are preventing our kids from reaching their full potential in southwest Minnesota. We learned that one in six kids in the region lives in poverty.

Dr. Robert D. Putnam emphasized the increasing importance of household incomes, family and social bonds and extra-curricular activities. Each of these plays an important role in the development of our kids’ future.

There was a lot of dialogue about what we could do to support a better future for all of our kids. A few ideas discussed included increasing household incomes, supporting more family leave, ensuring quality daycare, additional support at home for parents, community subsidized extracurricular activities, intensive mentoring and more on-ramping for community colleges and apprenticeships.

Minnesota Telecom Alliance

This week members of the Minnesota Telecom Alliance visited my DC office to speak with my telecom aide. They discussed FCC progress on updating on the Universal Service Fund, the rural call completion problem and broadband deployment. Limited rural access to high-speed broadband is a significant problem, and the lack of affordable broadband service cuts off families and businesses from critical services.


Very Special Arts Minnesota

The Very Special Arts Minnesota currently has an emerging artist grant available for adults with disabilities. The grant provides $2000 to continue developing their art. The 2017 grant application deadline is January 17, 2017. Grant review panels will meet in March, and six awards will be announced by April 1, 2017. To receive the guidelines or ask questions about the grant program, email or call 612-332-3888 or 800-801-3883 with your name and email and/or mailing address. You can also download the guidelines at Resources for Artists with Disabilities.

This Week in American History

One December 11, 1876, Ada Louise Comstock was born in Moorhead. She would become the first dean of women at the University of Minnesota and then, beginning in 1912, serve as dean of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Although she in effect ran the school from 1917 to 1918, she would not be given the title of "Acting President" because of her gender. She would become the first president of the American Association of University Women in 1921 and serve as president of Radcliffe College from 1923 to 1943.

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 seems to have been a challenge – no one guessed correctly! Therefore, we’ll provide a larger clue: this memorial, in Red Lakes Falls, is for the “Kit Carson of the Northwest” who died in 1895 after founding many cities in Minnesota, such as Orono Village, Elk River, and St. Anthony…

Share your guess on our website –

“The Orpheum”
Drue Schwitters (RAYMOND)