Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 3/14/2014

Dear Friends,

The first day of spring can't come soon enough! Cold weather definitely was a topic of conversation this week as the Minnesota congressional delegation gathered for our annual hotdish competition. I met with a number of folks from the 7th District who work in various industries from rail and construction to agriculture and utilities. I also received the Spirit of Enterprise award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for my strong support of critical business legislation.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

2014 MN Congressional Delegation Hotdish Off

Photos courtesy of the Office of Senator Franken

This week the Minnesota congressional delegation joined together to compete in the fourth annual hotdish competition. It's always good to see Members put partisanship aside and get together for a home cooked meal as we celebrate our state. This unique event encourages lawmakers to share their favorite dishes.

My recipe, the Hunter's Hotdish, is a perfect way to use up that venison in the freezer from this season.

Hunter's Hotdish


1 pound ground venison

1 medium onion, chopped

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup milk

1 16 oz. package frozen mixed vegetables

1 16 oz. package frozen tater tots

1 1/2 cups cheddar jack cheese


Brown the ground venison with the chopped onion; once properly cooked, drain off any fat. Stir in the soups, milk, and frozen vegetables. Move the mixture to a 9x13" baking dish. Arrange frozen tater tots on top.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until your hotdish is bubbly and tater tots are brown and crisp. Sprinkle cheese over tater tots, return dish to oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes for a perfectly melted topping.

Click here to view all the recipes from the Fourth Annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Off

Spirit of Enterprise Award

It's an honor to once again receive the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Spirit of Enterprise Award. I received this annual award for my support of critical business legislation that promotes pro-growth, pro-jobs policies. I'm proud to represent businesses in Minnesota's 7th District who help to create jobs and keep our rural economy strong.

Flood Insurance Bill Passes Congress

This week the Senate passed a bill to provide relief to homeowners facing massive flood insurance rate hikes. The measure now goes to President Obama for his signature. Over the past several months, I've heard from a number of constituents, including homeowners and community leaders who were very concerned about the impact of these rate hikes. I was in strong support of this bill (H.R. 3370) when it passed the House last week, and I am pleased to see it finally move forward so that communities and homeowners who were facing unreasonable increases in flood insurance premiums can breathe easier.

Railroad Day

Jeremiah McAndrew (Union Pacific Railroad), Patrick McGuire (McGriff, Seibels & Williams, Inc.), Todd Friesen (Travelliance), Matthew Scott (ZTR Control Systems), Steven Salzman (BNSF Railway), Bob Suko (Twin Cities & Western Railroad), Marc Hackett (Loram Maintenance of Way), Mark Wegner (Twin Cities & Western Railroad), Matthew Walsh (Genesee & Wyoming Inc.)

On Thursday, I met with folks who work in the railroad industry across the state of Minnesota. Hundreds of rail cars pass through the 7th District each day, delivering products from manufactured goods to agricultural harvest or fuel sources like propane. We discussed issues impacting rail transportation in Minnesota, including the importance of safe tracks and cars and coordination with Minnesota communities and businesses as we encourage efficient movement of goods and services in our state.

Close Up


This week I was pleased to spend time with students from Glencoe-Silver Lake Senior High School and Frazee-Vergas High School. While visiting Washington D.C. as part of Close Up, an organization that leads high school students through the democratic process in our nation’s Capital. These students took part in discussions surrounding current affairs, toured the city, and met with fellow lawmakers. We were able to discuss everything from politics to hunting in Minnesota. It is always good to meet with students, and I look forward to seeing what lies ahead for these young folks because they are the future.

National Ass’n of Chain Drug Stores

Bob Narveson, Tim Gallagher, Tim Weippert, and Justin Heiser

On Thursday I sat down with representatives from Thrifty White Pharmacy and Astrup Drug/Sterling Drug Stores to discuss pharmaceutical care services and beneficiary access in rural areas. Small pharmacies play a vital role in rural communities. They employee workers and serve as a health care advisor to senior citizens and families. I will continue to ensure that patients will always have access to local community pharmacist whom they trust and have built relationships with throughout the years. Patients should not have to choose between best price and best care.  

Construction and General Laborers Union

Members from the Construction and General Laborers Union stopped by to discuss fixes to the health care law, national energy projects like the Keystone Pipeline and the two MN pipelines (Dakota and Enbridge), and the need for long-term transportation funding policy.

International Union of Painters and Allied Trades

This week I met with members of International Union of Painters and Allied Trades and they briefed me on their apprenticeship program. They told me there are jobs out there, and they are working hard to make sure they're filled by qualified workers.

Gold’n Plump

Michael Popowycz, CEO of Gold’n Plump Mike Helgeson (St. Cloud), and Todd Kenning

The National Chicken Council had their annual fly in this week. Several representatives from around the country, including Mike Helgeson from Gold’n Plump in St. Cloud, came to meet with me. We discussed various issues including GIPSA regulations, the need for immigration reform, the importance of finalizing the poultry slaughter modernization act, and the impact trade agreements will have on the industry. The group was especially thankful to see Congress finally pass a farm bill this year.


I met with members of the Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association (MMUA) to hear their views on taxes, energy regulation, and other important issues.  Formed in 1931, MMUA represents the interests of the 125 municipal electrical utilities in Minnesota, the majority of which are located in rural areas.

American Crystal Sugar

Dan Younggren (HALLOCK), John Brainard (ADA), Kelly Erickson (HALLOCK), Nick Sinner (Fargo)

American Crystal Sugar Company leaders visited me to talk about the sugar program, rail service issues, and other matters important to the sugar industry.  American Crystal Sugar is an agricultural cooperative corporation owned by approximately 2,800 sugarbeet growers in the Red River Valley.  The company’s Minnesota-based factories are located in Crookston, East Grand Forks, and Moorhead.

Northern Municipal Power Authority

Darryl and Deborah Tveitbakk (THIEF RIVER FALLS) and Dalene Monsebroten (THIEF RIVER FALLS)

I visited with Darryl Tveitbakk (General Manager) and Dalene Monsebroten (Secretary/Treasurer) of the Northern Municipal Power Agency (NMPA) about tax-exempt municipal bonds, EPA regulations, and other issues affecting municipal utilities in rural Minnesota. NMPA was founded in 1976 and supplies energy to 12 municipal utilities in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.

MN Soybean Growers

George Goblish (VESTA), Bill Gordon (Worthington), Brad Hovel (Cannon Falls), Lance Peterson (UNDERWOOD), Paul Freeman (FERGUS FALLS), Bob Worth (LAKE BENTON), Lawrence Sukalski (Fairmont), Joel Schreurs (TYLER), Ron Bunjer (ARCO), Mike Skaug (Worthington), Joe Smentek (Mankato), and Mike Youngerberg (Mankato)

I sat down with members of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) to discuss the Farm Bill, tax policy, and trade. MSGA is a farmer-controlled nonprofit whose aim is to monitor government policies and support research activities and market development activities to improve the profitability of soybean farmers in Minnesota.

Constituents from the 7th

Loretta Swanson (BEMIDJI), Krista Bruns (Mankato), Paul, Becky, Brianna, Emily, Daniel, Kimberly, Elise, and William Klassen (MELROSE), and Karen, David, Jordan, and Ryan Twedt (HENDRICKS)

This Week in American History

On March 11th, 1779, Congress established the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help prepare, design, and build structural facilities for the U.S. Army. The Corps’ earliest assignments stretch back to assisting in battles, like Saratoga and Yorktown, during the Revolutionary War. Later on, the Corps would begin its chief task of building and maintaining military fortifications. They serve a crucial role in flood control of our nation’s river systems, which is particularly important for the 7th District. Just last week I met with the Corps to discuss the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion project. Today the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers consists of 35,000 civilian and enlisted men and women.

2014 Congressional Art Competition

My office is currently accepting entries for this year’s congressional art competition. Click here for more information on how to apply.

Isaac Loeslie (WARREN)
2013 Congressional Art Competition