Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 12/7

Dec 7, 2012 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Veterans

U.S. Botanical Gardens annual holiday exhibit, "Season's Greenings"

Photo courtesy Andre Gordillo


Dear Friends,

This week five new communities received Yellow Ribbon status in recognition of their work for servicemembers, and the VA announced plans to expand TBI benefits for disabled Vets.  I would like to congratulate Roseau County Commissioner Jack Swanson on receiving the 2012 Association of Minnesota Counties' President's Award.  This newsletter also contains an important notice on cyber holiday scams as well as an update on the 2012 Farm Bill.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District


Military Matters

New Yellow Ribbon Counties / Cities

Recently five new communities in the 7th District received official Yellow Ribbon recognition.  A Yellow Ribbon Community unites all areas within a community to create a comprehensive network that involves Family Assistance Centers and connects and coordinates agencies, organizations, resources and employers for the purpose of proactively supporting servicemembers and military families.  The Minnesotan communities honored at a host site in Willmar, itself already a Yellow Ribbon city, were:



Sauk Centre

Renville County

Lac qui Parle County

Seven Gold Star Families also attended the ceremony as guests of honor.  I would like to extend my gratitude to these folks and all the Yellow Ribbon communities in the 7th District that make a dedicated effort to improving the lives of our servicemembers and their families.  Congratulations to all those communities that go beyond the Yellow Ribbon!

VA Hopes to Expand TBI Benefits

Recently the VA proposed changes to disability claims which will add five diagnosable illnesses that are secondary to service-connected Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).  Service connection under the proposed rule depends in part on the severity of the TBI and the period of time between the injury and onset of the secondary illness.  Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted over the next 60 days, and a final regulation will be published after a consideration of submitted comments.

Farm Bill Update

I remain committed to getting a five year bill signed into law before Congress adjourns but the outlook for the bill is still unclear. Leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees – myself, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Pat Roberts, R-Kan – met this week to determine if we can work out the differences between the House and Senate farm bills. This was our second meeting in the last two weeks which is a step forward but the final outcome remains uncertain. Because of the limited Congressional workdays available the most likely path forward would be including the farm bill in a larger year-end bill. At this point, Congressional Leaders and President Obama have not reached an agreement on this bill. I’m frustrated that we’re in this position but we need to get a new farm bill before the end of the year. I’m continuing to do everything I can to see that happen.

2012 Association of Minnesota Counties' President's Award

Roseau County Commissioner Jack Swanson

The President's Award for the Association of Minnesota Counties' is presented to an individual who has a deep history of public service in their community and county.  Roseau County Commissioner Jack Swanson was the recipient of this year's prestigious award.  Swanson is currently in his third term as commissioner.  Swanson serves on approximately 15 county-related committees and is a strong advocate for improving governance as a whole while making sure Greater Minnesota has a voice in St. Paul.  He was also the founder and co-owner of the first FM radio station in Roseau County, and works at the Women's WCHA Final Five Tourney as their play-by-play announcer and is also a Girls Varsity Tennis Coach.  Congratulations to Commissioner Swanson for a job well done!

Notice: Cyber Holiday Scams

Many folks are turning to the Internet for their holiday shopping in recent years.  While purchasing your gifts online may be more convenient, make sure to remain wary of scams.  The FBI has made a list of scams to look out for this year:

  • New products or gift cards being sold on auction or classified advertisement websites where the price is significantly lower than any sales price in retail outlets;
  • “One day only” websites featuring the sale of specific items in high demand;
  • Phishing and scam e-mails, text messages, or phone calls that look or sound like they’re coming from a well-known retailer and that ask you to verify a credit card number or to update personal account information; and
  • Gift card offers on social media sites claiming to be from major retailers…often, these offers are used to gain access to your social media account and personal information

Meeting to Discuss Opportunities in the Bakken

Photo courtesy of the Chamber-GF/EGF

On Thursday, nearly 200 people turned out for the Highway 2 West Manufacturers' Association's quarterly meeting to hear from Williston, ND Economic Development Director Tom Rolfstad.  The group talked about efforts by Greater Grand Forks leaders to tap into the explosive growth going on in western North Dakota by encouraging businesses in the Bakken to look to eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota for expansion opportunities.  Rolfstad highlighted the need to get more people into what is a growing economy in the region, and indicated there is a great need for investors, workers, technology and infrastructure.

This Week in American History

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress
Wreckage of USS Arizona, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

On December 7, 1941, Japan shocked the world by bombing the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  3,500 Americans were killed or wounded in this attack that President Roosevelt declared would live in infamy.  The bulk of the United States Pacific Fleet was located in Pearl Harbor, a total of 96 vessels.  Pictured above is the USS Arizona, one of the first casualties with a loss of 1,177 crew members.  This unexpected and devastating air assault led Congress to declare a state of war between the U.S. and Japan.  On December 11, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, and America entered World War II.