Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 3/15

Mar 15, 2013 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Education

Students from Glencoe and Thief River Falls Visit DC

Close Up Program


Dear Friends,

AgriTalk came to DC a few days ago, and I spoke with their listeners about prospects for a new farm bill.  The House Agriculture Committee also met to examine ways to improve financial regulation.  Rep. Paul Ryan released his latest budget proposal, which was unfortunately just another political document that in my opinion doesn't offer any realistic solutions.  I met with a number of folks from the 7th this week, including students, military members, federal employees, agriculture folks, and many others.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District



AgriTalk on the Hill

AgriTalk was in Washington, D.C. this week to interview lawmakers on Capitol Hill. I was a guest on Thursday morning’s program where we discussed the budget challenges to writing a new farm bill. We also discussed my continued support for dairy reform, something I’ve stressed to Speaker Boehner, potential reforms to the farm bill’s nutrition programs, and sequestration’s impact on USDA and meat inspections.

Watch a video of the interview or listen to the radio segment

Agriculture Committee Hearing on Legislative Improvements to Dodd-Frank
The House Agriculture Committee held a hearing Thursday to examine legislative improvements to Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. The Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is still in the process of implementing the bill’s reforms and I urged my colleagues to be patient and wait for the CFTC to finish the implementation process before passing any legislation.

You can watch my opening statement here and view my questions to CFTC Chairman Gensler here.


House Republican Budget Not a Serious Proposal

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan on Tuesday unveiled the House Majority budget proposal for fiscal year 2014. It’s unfortunate, but not surprising, that the proposal is more of a political messaging document than a realistic budget that makes the balanced, tough choices we need to get our country back on solid financial footing. The American people are tired of political games. It’s time to get serious.

The Ryan Budget cuts to farm bill programs aren’t serious proposals. The budget seeks to cut $32 billion from farm programs, such as direct payments and crop insurance; $16-18 billion from conservation programs and about $135 billion from nutrition programs. I don’t see how, if House Republicans take these numbers seriously, we can have a serious conversation about passing long-term farm policy this year.

Army Corps of Engineers

I received an update on all the Army Corps of Engineers flood control projects in the 7th District from Chris Erickson (Chief, Project Management Branch), COL Michael Price (St. Paul District Commander), Judith DesHarnais (Deputy for Programs and Project Management Division), and COL Daniel Koprowski (Incoming St. Paul District Commander).

Minnesota President of NARFE

Scott Halstead (VP Legislation for MN NARFE, Shoreview), Meg and John Schmidt (MN President of NARFE, FERGUS)

On Tuesday I met with John Schmidt, the Minnesota President of National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE).  His wife Meg and Scott Halstead (Vice President of Legislation) also joined us in the meeting.  One issue on everyone's mind right now is sequestration.  I agree that deficit reduction needs to be fair, and we all know that everyone is going to have to pay a little bit more in order for us to get this sorted out.  We talked about the importance of making sure public employees don't bear the brunt of the burden as our nation deals with its fiscal situation and gets its spending under control.

Minnesota Soybean Growers Association

Ron Bunjer (ARCO), Cole Trebesch (Springfield), Joel Schreurs (TYLER), Lance Peterson (UNDERWOOD), Lawrence Sukalski (Fairmont), Paul Freeman (STARBUCK), William Gordon (Worthington), Bob Worth (LAKE BENTON), George Goblish (VESTA), Bruce Schmoll (Claremont)

Minnesota Soybean Growers Association is a membership-based organization that encourages legislative work on behalf of more than 3,600 soybean farmer members. 

Did you know…? Soybeans are used to make biodiesel, human and animal food, plastics, furniture, home heating oil, insulation, sunscreen, clothing, lotion and more!

Minnesota Farm Bureau

Mike and Karen Wohjan (COTTONWOOD CTY), Nada Carter, (POPE CTY), Joan Lee (POLK CTY), Loren and Hollie Molenaar (KANDIYOHI CTY), Mike and Connie Gunderson (MAHNOMEN CTY), Eric Kuehl (STEARNS CTY)

National Chicken Council

Mike Helgeson (GNP Company, St. Cloud), Cameron Bruett (JBS), Mick Ruffini (Kemin AgriFoods North America)

I met with folks from the National Chicken Council to talk about issues of importance to the chicken industry.  The National Chicken Council (NCC) is the national, non-profit trade association representing the U.S. chicken industry. NCC member companies include chicken producer/processors, poultry distributors, and allied industry firms. The producer/processors account for approximately 95 percent of the chickens produced in the United States.

Minnesota National Guard

Richard C. Nash (MN National Guard Adjutant General), Brig Gen Neal Loidolt (Assistant Adjutant General - Army, MN National Guard) Brig Gen. Worthe Holt (Assistant Adjutant General - Air, MN National Guard) and Colonel Sandy Best (Director of Government Relations, MN National Guard)

Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association

Congressman Rick Nolan and I enjoyed meeting with representatives from the Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association (MMUA).  MMUA's mission is to unify and serve as a common voice for municipal utilities, and to provide them with the support they need to provide quality service to their customers and community.

National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Board Meeting

On Wednesday, I visited with members of the NCGA Board to give a recap of what happened with the farm bill last Congress and look ahead to what we need to do to complete a new, five-year farm bill this year.

Southwest Regional Development Commission

On behalf of the National Association of Development Organizations, Miron Carney (Mayor of SLAYTON), Zeke Trusty, and his father Jay Trusty (SLAYTON) met with me to discuss economic development and the efforts of the Southwest Regional Development Commission.

North Star Forum

As Dean of the Minnesota Delegation, I addressed the first North Star Forum meeting to discuss issues important to Minnesota.  We talked about a lot of concerns, including our nation's budget, financial regulation, immigration reform, and the Farm Bill.  Included in attendance were representatives from companies that provide services to folks who live in the 7th District.

NeighborWorks Program

Rick Goodemann (CEO, Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, SLAYTON) and Arlen Kangas (President, Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation, DETROIT LAKES)

This Week in American History

On March 12th, 1933, during the hardest times of the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke bluntly about the problems of banking in a plain spoken way that every American could understand.  Just eight days into his first term, President Roosevelt broadcast from the White House directly into the living rooms of the American people. Journalist Robert Trout coined the phrase “fireside chat” to describe these broadcasts. Through thirty more fireside chats like this, FDR talked Americans through the Great Depression, promoted his New Deal legislation, and described his wartime policies during World War II. 

Listen to President Roosevelt’s first fireside chat by clicking here.