Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 3/11/2016
Minnesota has more than 390,000 veterans who deserve the very best our country can offer. This week, I spent time in Minnesota supporting veterans’ education and health care. I am happy to see our local communities finding creative ways to meet veterans’ diverse needs, such as expanding college programs and building better full-time care centers. In Washington, D.C., my staff also focused on Minnesota health and education, welcoming the Minnesota Commissioner of Health and representatives from the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, as well as delegations from the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State University Student Association.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
MSUM “College with the Congressman”
I joined North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer Thursday at a Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) veterans’ education event. The event highlighted the educational resources available to veterans and encouraged them to return to school after their time in the armed forces. Our veterans provide an invaluable service to our country, and I will continue to ensure they have every opportunity to succeed by easing the transition from military life to life as a student.
Minneapolis Veterans Home
On Monday, the Minneapolis Veterans Home celebrated the grand opening and ribbon cutting for Building 21. This ceremony marked the completion of the second phase of a three phased construction project at the Minneapolis Home designed to help best meet the changing needs of Minnesota veterans. I joined federal and state leaders, residents, staff, community members, and Veterans Service Organizations to celebrate this.
University of Minnesota
Pat Duncanson, Greg Cuomo, Brian Buhr
My staff met with a delegation from the University of Minnesota to talk about the importance of food and agricultural research and education. The group was in Washington for the annual CARET (Council on Agricultural Research Extension and Teaching) meeting. One of the meeting attendees, Pat Duncanson, a row crop and livestock farmer from Mapleton, is a Minnesota delegate to CARET. CARET was created to help tell the story of the capabilities and successes of our Land-Grant University System. The University of Minnesota’s Research and Outreach Centers provide a great network around the state for conducting long-term agricultural research and providing education and outreach to address issues facing agriculture. They are doing good work, and it is critical that they have the resources to continue to do so.
National Sunflower Association
Dale Thorenson, Arthur Ridl, Lance Hourigan, Kevin Capistran (CROOKSTON), Karl Esping, John Sandbakken
On Tuesday, members of my staff met with representatives from the National Sunflower Association. The sunflower growers reiterated the importance of crop insurance and a strong safety net. They also discussed how research initiatives, funded through federal programs, have helped to control sunflower diseases and pests.
On Wednesday, my staff aide Chris Iacaruso met with Marcy Heemeyer, president of the United Way of Southwest Minnesota. United Way serves people living in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine and portions of Cottonwood, Lac qui Parle, Nobles and Redwood Counties. Chris and Marcy discussed critical appropriations and tax policies that impact United Way and the people they help. Additionally, they discussed the Office of Personnel Management’s potentially harmful new rules on private charitable giving by federal employees.
Minnesota Commissioner of Health
Minnesota Commissioner of Health Edward Ehlinger visited my office this week to discuss public health programs designed to strengthen the state’s emergency response capability. Commissioner Ehlinger also provided his perspective on the potential for another avian flu outbreak. He is confident that the state is better prepared and equipped to address potential future strains of the disease.
Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Robert Sicoli, M.D. (Co-Medical Director, Emergency Services), Kelly Wolfe (Director, Public Policy), David Hirschman, M.D. (Co-Medical Director, Emergency Services)
Emergency Services Directors from Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota met with my staff this week to express their support for improved pediatric ground transportation services. Gaps in pediatric coverage often require rural patients to transfer to Children’s for critical care with specialized pediatric transport teams helping to ensure the best treatment for severe cases. I thank Children’s Hospitals and Clinics for their efforts to provide pediatric services and expertise to rural communities.
Arts Advocacy Day
Dave Glenn (St. Cloud), Sue Gens (Saint Paul), Sean Dowse, and Rebecca Davis, Stephen Schrieber (Saint Paul), David Marty (Grand Rapids), Sheila Smith (Saint Paul), Leslie LeCuyer (Foley), doing jazz hands.
On Tuesday, representatives from the Minnesota arts community, including the Central Minnesota Arts Board, Minnesota Public Radio, Minnesota State Arts Board, and Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, met with members of my staff to discuss the importance of funding the Arts. Minnesota has a significant economic impact from the nonprofit arts and culture industry -- a combined $1.2 billion annually. As a musician myself, I will continue to prioritize the arts and the vital role they play in our society.
This week, Minnesota students from the Minnesota State University Student Association met with my staff in Washington. They discussed a wide range of education issues including college affordability, student loan debt, and textbooks. I appreciate seeing Minnesota’s young people so engaged in the legislative process. I look forward to working with MSUSA and other students to address the issues facing higher education today.
National Bike Summit
Minnesota representatives from the National Bike Summit visited my office this week to promote innovative traffic safety, personal health, and bike education initiatives. Minnesota is ranked the second most bike-friendly state in the nation, with Bemidji, Fergus Falls, and Hutchinson all specifically recognized for their efficient biking environments. As a member of the Bike Caucus, I will continue to support policy that helps make bikes a safe option for transportation and recreation.
Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association
This week, the Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association held their annual fly-in to Washington, D.C. and visited with my staff on issues affecting small municipalities. Members of MMUA work to supply their communities with affordable energy every day. There have been crushing regulations coming out of the EPA over the past few years, which have made it more difficult for towns to provide reliable and affordable electricity. Examples include the Clean Power Plan, uncertainty in the tax code, and new rules on emergency generators. I am concerned that these new regulations coming out of EPA are having serious and adverse consequences on people living in rural communities.
National Barley Improvement Committee
National Barley Improvement Committee members including Brian Lacey (WENDELL), Juliet Marshall (Idaho Falls, Idaho), and Buzz Mattelin (Culbertson, Montana) visited my office to discuss factors affecting barley production and the importance of agricultural research. They thanked me for my past support of issues such as the U.S. Wheat & Barley Scab Initiative, which was reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill. The Initiative seeks to reduce the fungal disease Fusarium Head Blight, or “scab,” in order to boost food safety and supply.
On Tuesday, my staff aide Chris Iacaruso met with the ONE Campaign to address their priorities for the 114th Congress. ONE is an international campaigning and advocacy organization of more than 7 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. ONE Campaign representatives discussed what the United States is doing to assist the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. They advocated against cuts to international affairs programs which would disproportionately impact the world’s most vulnerable populations and highlighted how these life-saving global anti-poverty programs are working.
Discovering the 7th
Pelican Pete, the world’s largest pelican, is a concrete statue more than 15.5 feet tall located in Pelican Rapids. Pelican Pete was built by citizens of Pelican Rapids in 1957 for the town's Jubilee Celebration and is made of an iron frame, plastered and painted. This 5:1 scale model of a mounted stuffed pelican is now a popular spot during fishing season for children to fish for sunfish, bluefish, and Northern Pike.
This Week in American History
1803 Louisiana Purchase
The Upper Louisiana Territory was formally transferred from France to the United States on March 10, 1804 in accordance with the previous year’s Louisiana Purchase. Much of present-day Minnesota west of the Mississippi River was included in the 828,000,000 square miles bought from France, who had themselves recently acquired the land from Spain.
A flock of turkeys spotted by my staff in MN