Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 2/16/2018

Feb 20, 2018 Issues: Education, Energy, Health, Veterans

Alexander Ramsey Park - Redwood Falls

Dear Friends,

This week, I met with folks to discuss agriculture, education, healthcare, and other important issues. On Wednesday, MNsure CEO Allison O’Toole came to Washington to discuss the state’s individual insurance market. I met the Minnesota State Board of Trustees who shared ideas for developing a stronger workforce, and for providing veterans with education opportunities after their service. Northern Bedrock Historic Preservation Corps told me about their work protecting Minnesota’s historical sights. On Thursday, young agriculturalists from the National FFA chose to grant me an Honorary FFA Degree. I am grateful for the FFA’s honor and I was excited to meet the young people who will make up the next generation of farmers and ranchers.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District


I met with MNsure CEO Allison O’Toole this week to discuss Minnesota’s individual health insurance market. Last year, I led a letter with the Minnesota Congressional delegation urging expedited approval to fund and implement the bipartisan initiative. Particularly in rural and underserved areas, it is critical that we reduce rate increases, encourage consumer enrollment, preserve insurer participation, and expand access to affordable healthcare.

National FFA

Erica Baier, National FFA Secretary (Iowa), Piper Merritt, National Central Region VP (Oklahoma), Bryce Cluff, National Western Region VP (Arizona)

National FFA Association officers presented me with an Honorary American FFA Degree on Thursday. This award is given to "individuals who have provided exceptional service on a national level to agriculture, agricultural education, or FFA," and I am extremely honored to be a recipient. FFA is a great organization that utilizes agricultural education to help develop our students to be leaders in agriculture and in their communities.

Board of Trustees for Minnesota State

Angelia Millender (President, Century College), Michael Vekich (Chair)

Members of the Board of Trustees for Minnesota State (formerly Minnesota State Colleges and Universities) visited my office this week to discuss workforce development and veteran re-entry education programs. Minnesota State has a long history of helping veterans earn academic credit for their military training, and I look forward to working with the Board to connect students with businesses across greater Minnesota.  

Fraternal Order of Police

This week, I met with Minnesota members of the Fraternal Order of Police. We discussed issues affecting the pensions of our men and women in blue. I commend their sacrifices in order to protect the citizens of Minnesota. I will continue working to provide Minnesota’s police officers with the means necessary to effectively do their jobs.

American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC)

Minnesotan representatives of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) visited Washington this week to share their perspective on higher education. Particularly as Congress nears the upcoming appropriations cycle and considers reforms to the Higher Education Act, I will work closely with AIHEC to ensure that Minnesota’s tribal communities have the resources they need.

Farmers’ Rice Cooperative

Representatives from the Farmers’ Rice Cooperative came by my office on Tuesday. We discussed changes to agricultural cooperatives’ tax liabilities as made in the recent tax reform legislation and explained their positions on various farm bill topics.

USA Rice

On Wednesday, House Agriculture Committee Chairman, Mike Conaway of Texas, and I addressed a group of rice growers and millers from around the country. I’m ready to work with the Chairman to pass a bipartisan farm bill. The rice industry, along with the rest of agriculture, will benefit from reauthorizing the farm bill before it expires in September.

Northern Bedrock Historic Preservation Corps

On Wednesday, I welcomed Executive Director Rolf Hagberg and Operations Director Rhea Harvey of the Northern Bedrock Historic Preservation Corps to my office to discuss their work in revitalizing and restoring historic sites throughout Minnesota. Northern Bedrock Corps works through the AmeriCorp program, which trains young adults in hands-on historic preservation skills. I’m happy to help support programs such as these that are devoted to benefitting our communities, which is why I am cosponsoring H.R. 2987, the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act.

Early Childhood and Head Start Programming

Today I had an opportunity to hear about a new partnership between Alexandria Technical Community College (ACTT) and West Central Minnesota Community Action to promote early childhood and Head Start programming. They are working together to address childcare and early childhood education needs by hosting a Head Start center on campus. Today’s visit to the college included a tour of their nursing simulation labs that help to fill clinical requirements for nursing students. I hope these examples will inspire other organizations to work together to address community needs.

National Agricultural Aviation Association

Gary Jerger (AG Spray, Inc., MOORHEAD), staff aide Rebekah Solem

Gary Jerger, President of the National Agricultural Aviation Association, stopped by my office on Thursday to talk about issues of importance to the aerial application industry. In particular, he talked about the current status of the EPA's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit and the Waters of the United States rule. I have supported efforts to find reasonable solutions for both of these regulatory issues and will continue to work with folks on both sides of the aisle to do so.

Syngenta’s “Leadership at its Best”

A group attending Syngenta's "Leadership at its Best" program stopped by my office on Friday as part of the advocacy training program. The attendees, which included Sam Heiderscheidt of Sky Apply, LLC (HECTOR, MN), talked about issues of importance to the National Agricultural Aviation Association. Discussion included safety issues related to drones and towers as well as regulatory issues such as National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. I congratulate the participants on their selection into this program and wish them the best as they continue to develop their leadership skills in the area of advocacy for the agriculture aviation industry.

University of Minnesota Health Science Center Groundbreaking

One of my staff participated in the groundbreaking of the new University of Minnesota Health Science Education Center alongside Governor Dayton and University President Kaler. Thousands of students of dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, medical, and veterinary schools will have classes in the new building. The new building will enable students to collaborate and engage with one another and their faculty in ways that are simply not possible in the existing lecture rooms where classes are currently held. The new Health Sciences Education Center is scheduled to open for classes in 2020.

Clay and Wilkin County Farm Bureau

On Tuesday, my staff aide Allison Myhre met with members of the Clay and Wilkin County Farm Bureau at their board meeting in Moorhead. They had a good discussion on the upcoming Farm Bill, Fargo/Moorhead flood control efforts, health care reform, and the new tax bill, among other issues. Farm Bureau members across my district are very engaged and active and it’s good to hear from their members whether they’re traveling to Washington or meeting locally.

Mid-Minnesota Regional Development Commission

On Tuesday, my staff attended a meeting presented by the Mid-Minnesota Regional Development Commission in collaboration with the Blandin Foundation. The meeting provided information on what each county is doing to develop broadband in their region. I am working to promote broadband access by making policy improvements in the farm bill and working with my colleagues to secure additional funding for infrastructure projects.

Highway 2 West Manufacturers Association

The Highway 2 West Manufacturers Association held their winter meeting at Digi-Key Corporation in Thief River Falls. With over 3,600 total employees and 3,300 employees working in Thief River Falls, Digi-Key has an important economic role in northwest Minnesota. Digi-Key also plans to add another 1,000 employees over the next 10 years, and their building is expected to grow by two million square feet. I visited Digi-Key not long ago and look forward to supporting their expansion.

This Week in American History

On February 12, 1895, Minnesota was the first state to declare Abraham Lincoln’s birthday a legal holiday. Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from 1861-1865.

What’s the Story?

This week marks the beginning of a new segment in my newsletter. Instead of doing Spotted in the Seventh, the newsletter will now feature “What’s the Story?” where I will highlight an interesting item you can find in my Washington, D.C. office. This week’s feature is Ole & Lena Fortune Cookies. Ole and Lena are the classic Scandinavian couple and they are often the stars of jokes made by Scandinavian Americans. While the cookies are called fortune cookies, they do not contain fortunes. They contain jokes featuring the famous couple. These cookies are produced by Skandisk, Inc. operating out of Bloomington, MN.

Congratulations to Roland Rauenhorst of Ogema, who was the first to correctly identify February 2nd’s Spotted in the Seventh location as the White Earth Reservation Programs & Services Headquarters!

Lake Reno - Alexandria