Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 2/10/2017

Feb 15, 2017 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Energy, Health, Tax Reform, Veterans

Dear Friends,

As your Representative here in Congress, it is my utmost priority to reflect the values that make Minnesota great. I take this responsibility seriously, which is why I continue to encourage every Minnesotan to share their concerns, thoughts, and recommendations. This week brought many groups in from Minnesota to discuss their own priorities, including the Minnesota Rural Water Association, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the Kandiyohi County Drug-Free Community Coalition, the Minnesota State Forester, and the MN Small Business Development Centers. I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to reach out to my office; I will keep your thoughts in mind.

Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Minnesota Narcotics Task Force

This week I met with members of Minnesota’s Narcotics Task Forces stationed across the state. These fine law enforcement officers specialize in keep drugs of Minnesota’s streets. We discussed the state of law enforcement grants, asset forfeiture, and even industrial hemp farming. I commend the officers for the hard work they do to keep Minnesota’s safe.

Minnesota Rural Water Association

Despite being blessed with rich water resources, it takes a lot of work and money for rural communities to provide safe drinking water. The Minnesota Rural Water Association plays an important role in working with rural towns, often on a regional basis, to make this a reality. I am a strong advocate of programs that help to provide the needed technical assistance and financing options for these systems. The MN Rural Water Association also shared an update about how EPA is diverting technical assistance dollars appropriated by Congress for other purposes, which I agree needs to stop.

American Pulse Association and USDA Dry Pea & Lentil Council

On Thursday, my staff met with pulse crop growers and industry representatives. Pulse crops – which include dried peas, edible beans, lentils and chick peas – are experiencing a boost in popularity and are receiving recognition as a healthy dietary choice.

Minnesota Department of Human Services

Roberta Downing, Director of Federal Relations for the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), visited my office this week to discuss the Department’s efforts to help Minnesota’s most vulnerable residents. I appreciate DHS’s perspective as I work to ensure that seniors, children, and disabled Minnesotans have the services they need in the new Congress.

National Rural Health Association

A delegation from the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) met with my staff this week to detail the Association’s efforts to improve rural health systems. NRHA, part of the Policy Division within the Minnesota Department of Health, partners with local health agencies, tribal governments, and other providers to represent the unique healthcare needs of rural communities.

Kandiyohi County Drug-Free Community Coalition

Representatives of the Kandiyohi County Drug-Free Community (DFC) Coalition met with my staff this week to discuss their work to address substance abuse among the county’s youth. The group was joined by student members of the Renville Alliance for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drugs (RAPAD), who will represent their communities in the annual Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) National Leadership Forum. I offer my sincere thanks to the volunteers of both organizations for helping to keep the 7th District safe and healthy.

Pediatric Home Service

The Pediatric Home Service (PHS) visited my office this week to than me for my support of ventilator services in rural communities. Ventilators are critical tools that allow patients to maintain adequate breathing and maintain life outside of a hospital. I look forward to working with PHS to ensure that these devices remain affordable and accessible in the new Congress.

National Restaurant Association

Robin Goracke, Director of Healthcare Policy for the National Restaurant Association, visited my office this week to discuss healthcare reforms that reduce health costs for employers and employees. The Association supports employer-sponsored coverage and is interested in keeping it an affordable option for employers and employees.

NF Upper Midwest

Aron Buchanan, President of NF Upper Midwest, met with my staff this week to discuss neurofibromatosis (NF) research. I have been a consistent advocate for NF research in the past, and will work to ensure that it continues under the new Congress. I appreciate the organization’s efforts to raise awareness and support for those that are affected by the disease in the Midwest and across the country.

Minnesota State Forester

On Wednesday, staff aides Zach Martin and Evan Jurkovich sat down with MN State Forester Forrest Boe and Ryan Martini of the National Association of State Foresters. They discussed the economic benefits of forest land management and a legislative fix to wildfire budgeting. As a co-chair of the Working Forests Caucus, I support our timber industry and the jobs that come with it.

SNAP-Ed Program

My staff aide Rebekah Solem met with University of Minnesota Extension educators Ryan Johnson and Mary Caskey to talk about the SNAP-Ed program. The University of Minnesota Extension is one of eight implementing agencies for SNAP-Ed in Minnesota and offers a number of community-based direct education classes to eligible low-income households. Nearly 12,000 people have participated in SNAP-Ed classes in Minnesota, and 39% of participants reported eating more fruits and vegetables after completing a series of classes.

American Indian Higher Education Consortium

This week representatives from AIHEC, representing our nation’s Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), visited my office. The 7th district is home to two TCUs, the Red Lake Nation College and the White Earth Tribal and Community College. I thoroughly enjoy visiting these fine institutions, and will continue to work towards securing them the means to operate schools which are so beneficial to our tribal communities.

Titan Machinery

My staff met with International Trade Specialist Heather Ranck and the International Trade Division for Titan on Tuesday to tour their Moorhead facility. Their experience in the ExporTech program through the U.S. Commercial Service has led to many new opportunities. The program has created some tangible next steps for Titan to build on their current success and continue expanding their Trade Division. Titan Machinery is one of the largest dealers of agricultural and construction equipment in the US. They have grown into one of the biggest exporters of agricultural machinery in the US with the close collaboration of the U.S. Commercial Service (CS) over more than a decade.

Redwood Area Chamber Connection

Meg Louwagie of my staff attended the Redwood Area Chamber Connection meeting Wednesday morning where Anne Johnson Executive Director gave an update on the Annual Chamber Dinner and the MN Wide Scavenger Hunt which includes the Swinging Foot Bridge in Alexander Ramsey Park, and is the 3rd most visited Checkpoint in the Minnesota.

MNCare Pipeline Safety Program

My staff member Meg Louwagie attended a Coordinate Response Exercise (CoRE) meeting presented by Mark Courtney of Minnesota Pipeline Community Awareness Emergency Response for the MNCARE Pipeline Safety Program. A group of 75 representatives from area First Responders learned correct procedures in the case of a pipeline emergency.

Alzheimer’s Association

On Thursday, staff aide Allison Myhre met with Kendra Lund, a program manager for the Alzheimer’s Association in the northwest region of Minnesota who is based in Fergus Falls. More than 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s, and in Minnesota alone, there are 91,000 people over the age of 65 who are diagnosed with the disease. The costs of caring for those living with Alzheimer’s are estimated to total $236 billion and continue to increase every year. I have co-sponsored legislation to improve federal efforts to diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s through Medicare coverage and to require the National Institute of Health to better focus efforts on finding a cure for this disease.

American Federation of Government Employees

Members of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) were on Capitol Hill this week to discuss various issues concerning the federal workforce. It is time that Congress recognizes that dedicated federal employees are citizens and taxpayers and are our constituents. They face increasing economic pressure each year as there have been multiple attacks on federal workers pay and retirement in Congress. It is very important to note that over 30% of the federal workforce are veterans and 85% of the federal work force live and work outside of the D.C. area. Currently there are over 600,000 veterans serving as federal civil servants. Attacks on federal workers pay, benefits, and retirement are a direct attack on our nation's veterans. This is unacceptable.

MN Small Business Development Centers

I would like to acknowledge a great resource for Minnesota's small businesses and entrepreneurs, the Small Business Development Centers, plays a critical role in providing expert business consultation. At no cost, their certified professionals will assist businesses owners with growing their businesses. Representatives were in town to advocate for their program and remind policy makers about the great work they provide the State's small business economy. If you are a small business in need of a expert advice or would like find out how to start your own business please visit them at

Legislative Update

Legislative work in the House of Representatives continues to be dominated by Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions of disapproval. Although only one rule has been successfully overturned because of this provision, 2017 could see a significant increase in these resolutions being signed into law.

This week, I voted in opposition to two separate resolutions of disapproval that would have overturned collaborative work done to implement the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act as well as another provision related to standards for teacher preparation. In the education world, a lot of the people who show up are working off the clock because they are parents, teachers or administrators who want to go the extra mile for our kids. We should be looking to build and improve on the progress we have made to balance flexibility for local educators with strong standards for schools, and not start all over from scratch. As reforms are made, I will continue to fight to ensure that those changes are driven by the needs of our students, and not ideology from Washington.

This Week in American History

On February 6, 1862, Redwood County is established, named for a translation of Chanshaypai, a Dakota name of one of the county’s rivers. Previously part of Brown County, this territory would later become, in addition to Redwood, the counties of Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon and Yellow Medicine – which are all part of the current 7th Congressional District.

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 was built in 1905 by Ukrainian American immigrants and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984…

Congratulations to Simon George of Frazee for being the first to correctly identify our last location as the Veterans Memorial and Park in Detroit Lakes!

Share your guess on our website –

“Japanese Cherry Blossom”
Mariah Isabelle Parisian (LAKE WAUBAN)