Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 12/5/2014

2014 Capitol Christmas Tree

Dear Friends,

Following the Thanksgiving holiday, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act and renewed more than 50 tax breaks including Section 179 deductions. I was happy to welcome the American Kennel Club to my new office in the Rayburn House Office Building, where we discussed canine health and well-being. I also joined my band mates to perform during this year’s Congressional Rock and Roll Reception. Finally, USDA announced this week that it is extending the sign-up period for the Dairy Margin Protection Program.



Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

American Kennel Club

Sheila Goffe (Director of Government Relations, American Kennel Club)

I was honored to receive the American Kennel Club’s “Legislator of the Year” award from the organization’s Director of Government Relations, Sheila Goffe, for my work on the 2014 Farm Bill as it impacts dogs. By designating attendance at animal fighting events as a felony, the Farm Bill strengthens federal animal safety policy and protects vulnerable canines. This award is given in recognition of “exceptional leadership and dedication to ensuring the well-being of all dogs and defending the rights of responsible dog owners and breeders.”

2014 Congressional Rock and Roll Reception

House Chaplain Patrick Conroy / Congressman Stephen Fincher (Bass), Former Congressman Kenny Hulshof (Drums), Manning Feraci (Guitar) / Greg Harris (President and CEO, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

On Tuesday, the Rock and Roll Caucus, which I co-chair with Representative Marcia Fudge of Ohio, hosted its third annual Rock and Roll Reception. The event brings the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, memorabilia, and other industry representatives together for an evening of fun and celebration of a very American musical tradition. For the past few years, my band, the Second Amendments, has played the event. Many Representatives were out dancing, including fellow Minnesotan Representative Rick Nolan, and the night was fun for all. I look forward to the Rock and Roll Caucus remaining a strong and large body in the next Congress.

Transition: 114th Congress

In preparation for the transition into the 114th Congress, my office in Washington has moved from its previous location to 2204 Rayburn House Office Building. For those who have visited my office before, we have moved one floor up in the same building. My office phone number is unchanged at (202) 225-2165 for any questions or concerns. I look forward to serving constituents and welcoming visitors from my new office in the new year.

Legislative Update

Section 179 Deduction

On Wednesday, the House passed a one-year renewal of more than 50 tax breaks that expired at the end of 2013, including higher Section 179 expensing levels. This section allows business owners and farmers to depreciate the cost of equipment in the year it was purchased. A comprehensive list of qualifying property is available for small business use.

2015 Defense Authorization

The House also passed the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act. This legislation authorizes the budget authority of the Department of Defense and the national security programs of the Department of Energy. Also included in the bill are provisions that include troop pay and benefits, military readiness, and cyber-security.


USDA Margin Protection Extension

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Thursday that the application deadline for enrollment in the dairy Margin Protection Program has been extended to December 19th, 2014. This voluntary program, established in the 2014 Farm Bill, helps farmers better manage risk and market volatility. Enrollment in the Dairy Margin Protection Program can be completed online.

Build a Plane Aviation Design Challenge

The General Aviation Caucus, of which I am co-chair, often endorses educational and professional opportunities for aspiring aviators. This week, we highlight the third annual General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and Build a Plane Design Challenge. This free competition promotes science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and is open to the first 100 schools to enroll. GAMA will provide the first 100 teachers to enter the competition with the “Fly to Learn” curriculum, as well as complementary copies of classroom design software. More information regarding competition rules and registration is available here.

Capitol Christmas Tree

On December 2, we gathered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to light the 2014 Capitol Christmas Tree. This year's tree comes to us from the Chippewa National Forest and Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, and is the subject of an upcoming documentary on Lakeland Public Television. The tree's journey from Minnesota to Washington was made possible by the charitable donations of time and money from generous organizations and everyday Minnesotans. 10,000 handmade ornaments from Minnesota schoolchildren illuminate the tree from dusk until 11:00 p.m. through January 1. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, it is an honor to have our state contribute to this great national tradition.

County Courthouse Tour

Grant County Courthouse 1917/Present

The first Grant County Courthouse, a two-story structure in Elbow Lake, opened in 1878. Four rooms and a hallway occupied the first floor, and the second-floor courtroom was only accessible via an outside stairway. An 1884 remodeling project enlarged the courthouse and the stairwell was moved inside. The present courthouse was dedicated in 1906, and features a towering, segmented dome. The original fixtures, including the oak and marble interior and the muralled dome, remain intact.

This Week in American History

Monument Completion, 1884 / Present

Washington, DC workers placed a nine-inch aluminum apex atop the newly completed Washington Monument on December 6, 1884. As early as 1783, Congress decided that a simple statue of the city’s namesake and nation’s first president would not suffice. It wasn’t until 1832, however, that a private Washington National Monument Society was formed to facilitate a design competition and select a monument for construction. The 555-foot Washington Monument, the tallest structure in the world at the time of completion, was built using 36,000 blocks of marble and granite. A 1910 city law restricted the height of new buildings to ensure that the monument will remain the tallest structure in the District of Columbia. For information regarding visits to the Washington Monument, please call my office at (202) 225-2165.

Visitors from the 7th

Tara Greenley (MOORHEAD), Megan Kent (BENSON), Emily Skauge (MOORHEAD)

2014 Companion Tree Ornament