Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 12/9/2016

December 14, 2016

2016 National Christmas Tree Lighting

Dear Friends,

This week concluded the 114th Congress, with the passing of a Continuing Resolution to fund our government as well as several other important pieces of legislation. I look forward to serving the great state of Minnesota again in the upcoming Congress and working to protect what matters most. As we witness the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks this week, let us remember those that fell protecting our nation, and thank all of the servicemen and women who have served since. Finally, as more hazardous winter weather approaches, please take a moment to review the safety tips below.

Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Molly Yeh and Nick Hagen

East Grand Forks residents Molly Yeh and Nick Hagen stopped by to see me on Tuesday. Molly writes a popular food blog and was selected to visit the White House and bake holiday treats with the White House pastry chef. Nick is a fifth generation sugar beet farmer. Molly presented me with her cookbook, “Molly on the Range: Recipes and Stories from an Unlikely Life on a Farm.” It was great to meet with Molly and Nick, and I wish them both success with their future endeavors.

American Forest Foundation

On Wednesday, my staff aides Evan Jurkovich and Zach Martin met with Jonathan Burris, a tree farmer near Mille Lacs Lake, Paul DeLong, and Rebecca Barnard to talk about the priorities of family forest owners. Among the issues discussed were supporting market opportunities for tree farmers. About 5.3 million acres of Minnesota’s forestland are owned by 192,000 individual and family forest owners, so work on the forestry sections of the next Farm Bill will be very important to the state of Minnesota.

Minnesota National Guard

This week, my staff assistant Meg Louwagie attended the quarterly Congressional Staff Breakfast Briefing with the Minnesota National Guard.  Congressional Staff members were briefed on topics including MNANG (Minnesota Air National Guard) Exercises and Deployments of the 148th Fighter Wing and 133rd Airlift Wing and the Mobilization and Overseas Deployment for Training of the Minnesota Army National Guard. Staff was also informed about the issues they are facing with Federal Education Benefits and Incentive issues.

Evangelical Good Samaritan Society

This week, Dan Holdhusen visited my office on behalf of the Evangelical Good Samaritan Society, one of the nation’s largest faith-based non-profit senior care organizations. I thank Good Samaritan for its efforts to provide home and community-based care to patients across the 7th District.

Minnesota Hospitals

David Borgert (CentraCare Director of Community & Government Relations) and Ben Peltier (MHA Vice President of Legal & Federal Affairs)

Representatives of CentraCare Health and the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) also visited my office this week to discuss Minnesota’s hospitals. Both organizations plan to continue their support for rural health initiatives, critical access hospitals, outpatient services, and telemedicine. I look forward to working with both organizations to improve the state’s healthcare system in the new Congress.

Northwest Regional Development Commission

The Northwest Regional Development Commission (NWRDC) held their annual meeting this week, which allowed my staff the opportunity to learn about the many programs they administer. The NWRDC is one of the fastest growing programs helping seniors maintain an independent life style. They represent 35 cities, townships, and school districts in Kittson, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, and Roseau Counties. These programs have a great impact on our regional economic and community development as well as our transportation and emergency management.

Kerkhoven High School Band

A southwest Minnesota marching band represented the state at a ceremony in Hawaii marking the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The students from Kerkhoven Murdock Sunburg High School were part of a mass band that performed aboard the USS Missouri battleship in memory of the fallen. In total, 83 Minnesotan students played alongside 1,000 student musicians from across the United States and Japan.

Legislative Update

This week the House of Representatives held its last expected votes in 2016. Two major pieces of legislation that passed in the House this week were bills to authorize water infrastructure projects and legislation known as a "continuing resolution” which keeps most government agencies operating at 2016 funding levels but boosts defense spending by $8 billion. It also provides over $4 billion in new disaster relief and reconstruction money to take care of damages caused by hurricanes, floods, and severe drought in California. The strong bi-partisan support for these bills reflects that they made progress on a number of issues like providing assistance for Americans impacted by natural disasters, beginning to address the lead poisoning crisis in Flint, Michigan, and providing funding to help states deal with the opioid epidemic. I am hopeful that Congress can focus on areas of agreement to strengthen the economy and improve the lives of all Americans in the 115th Congress.

Agriculture Committee Hearing on Land Grant Institutions

On Thursday, the Agriculture Committee held its 84th and final hearing of the 114th Congress. The hearing focused on the recruitment challenges and scholarship opportunities at 1890 Land-Grant Universities. Witnesses gave testimony on the important role our land grant universities play in agricultural research, extension and educational programs. We also learned more about proposed legislation to make more scholarships available to students attending these schools.


Remembering Pearl Harbor

To commemorate Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Google Arts & Culture is featuring content and stories from four museums -- the US National Archives/FDR Presidential Library, Navy Memorial Foundation, National Museum of American Jewish History, and Arizona Capitol Museum -- honoring our veterans and exploring the history and impact of "the day that will live in infamy".

In the collection, you can...

VA National Cemeteries Now Offering Pre-Need Eligibility Determinations

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it now provides eligibility determinations for internment in a VA national cemetery prior to the time of need. Through the Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility Program, upon request, individuals can learn if they are eligible for burial or memorialization in a VA national cemetery. Interested individuals can get more information on VA burial benefits is available from local VA national cemetery offices, from the Internet at, or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at 800-827-1000.  To make burial arrangements at any open VA national cemetery at the time of need, call the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 800-535-1117. 

National Archives Holds Free Records Programs this Fall

The National Archives holds research and genealogy programs highlighting records from its history. On December 8th, a program entitled, Records for Veterans: Gathering Evidence for Claims and Benefits, was held to help veterans who are seeking documentation in support of a benefit or claim. You can watch the program on the US National Archives YouTube Channel. Or find more materials available online here.

USDA Announces News about the Livestock Indemnity Program

The USDA announced news this week on the continuation of the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), which provides assistance to eligible producers for livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather and attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or protected by federal law. The program continues through 2018 as authorized under the most recent Farm Bill. Additional information about LIP is available at your local FSA office or online at:  Please contact the West Otter Tail County FSA Office at 218-739-4694 if you need assistance. To find your local FSA office visit

FEMA Warns of Dangerous Winter Weather

Dangerously low temperatures and snow are in the forecast and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wants individuals and families to be safe when faced with the hazards of winter weather. During snowstorms and extreme cold weather, you should take the following precautions:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit your exposure to the cold.
  • Dress in layers and keep dry.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who are at risk and may need additional assistance.
  • Know the symptoms of cold-related health issues such as frostbite and hypothermia and seek medical attention if health conditions are severe.
  • Bring your pets indoors or ensure they have a warm shelter area with unfrozen water.
  • Make sure your vehicle has an emergency kit that includes an ice scraper, shovel, blanket and flashlight – and keep the fuel tank above half full.

You can find more information and tips on being ready for winter weather and extreme cold temperatures at

This Week in American History

On December 5, 1873, Lincoln County was officially founded. Named after the Civil War president, it was established by the Minnesota state legislature on March 6 and approved by vote of the people in November. Three previous attempts in Minnesota to rename or carve out a county in honor of Lincoln had failed to garner the requisite popular vote. Since then, counties have been named for Abraham Lincoln in fifteen other states.

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 memorial to one of Minnesota’s greatest explorers…

Congratulations to Barbara Benson of Alexandria for being the first to correctly identify our last location as “Music of Marshall” portrait on Main St. in Marshall!

Share your guess on our website –

“Set Me Up – Self Portrait”
Sydney Schwitters (CLARA CITY)