Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 3/25/2016

Mar 30, 2016 Issues: Education, Foreign Affairs

Lake Lida

Dear Friends,

Happy Easter to all those celebrating this weekend! This week I met with several groups from Minnesota, including students from the Close Up program as well as leaders from the White Earth Tribal Nation. I also visited with several Minnesota members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Traveling home for the holiday weekend, I spoke at the 18th Annual Joint Conference of the Red River Watershed Management Board and Red River Basin Flood Damage Reduction Work Group in Moorhead. Finally, as those in Callaway begin returning to their homes, I am grateful that this disaster caused no loss of life, and I will continue to look for ways to improve transportation safety.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee

AIPAC Members

On Tuesday, I met with several Minnesota members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) who were attending the organization’s annual policy conference in Washington, D.C. There was grave concern regarding the Iran Nuclear Deal that the administration negotiated last year, and I agree that a state-sponsor of terror should not be allowed such significant economic relief through lifted sanctions. I voted against the Iran Nuclear Deal last September and have supported bills that would reinstate strict sanctions on Iran’s financial assets. 

White Earth Tribal Nation

Alan Roy, Tara Mason, and Mike Fairbanks

On Wednesday, I sat down with White Earth Tribal leaders to talk about issues affecting their community including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) administration, the real need to improve road conditions, and the ongoing fight against drug traffickers. Heroin has become a very troubling epidemic on reservation lands, and both Tribal leaders and I are committed to strengthening law enforcement and other efforts that can address this issue.

Water Conference

NRCS Minnesota State Conservationist Cathee Pullman and I address questions about retention projects in Minnesota

On Thursday, I stopped in Moorhead to speak to the 18th Annual Joint Conference of the Red River Watershed Management Board and Red River Basin Flood Damage Reduction Work Group. These watershed managers and water professionals from state and federal agencies and organizations throughout the Red River Valley are doing important work to improve water quality, water management and water storage opportunities, and are making an important contribution in efforts to minimize flooding in the region.

Close Up

Each year, the Close Up program brings high school students from across the country, including schools in the Seventh, to visit Washington, D.C. Last week I met with students from Glencoe-Silver Lake High School, and this week I met students from Breckenridge, Brandon-Evansville and Osakis High Schools. I enjoy getting to meet students from western Minnesota each year. I take pleasure in knowing that our students are so engaged in their studies and in public policy. I wish them the best of luck in their studies.

New Beginnings

Jerry Loud (executive director) and Al Bellevue (welding instructor)

On Friday, I visited Oshkii-maajitahdah (New Beginnings) in Redby before attending the State of the Tribe address at Red Lake Nation. The center provides social services, employment services, GED/ABE Education, career development and job readiness skills, as well as financial education for families. Jerry Loud is doing some great work as executive director of the facility.

Chairman Seki

On Friday, I attended the Red Lake Nation State of the Band address at Seven Clans Event Center in Red Lake. Tribal Chairman Darrell Seki and I had an opportunity to speak about the issues important to the Red Lake Nation. It was good to hear about all the new businesses being deployed on the reservation, including a chemical dependency treatment center and a new fire station, as well as hearing about the health of the tribe.

American Society of Plant Biologists

University of Minnesota Professor Nathan Springer and Dr. James C. Carrington, from the Danforth Plant Science Center visited my office this week on behalf of the American Society of Plant Biologists. They met with my staff to discuss plant research needs in next year’s appropriations process. They also discussed plant breeding technologies and the current debate on labeling of genetically engineered ingredients, as well as the overall need for agriculture research.

Leadership at its Best

My staff aides Mike Stranz and Rebekah Solem met with Kirby Hettver, a corn and soybean farmer from DeGraff who serves as Secretary on the Minnesota Corn Growers Board of Directors. Kirby was one of 14 producers from across the United States selected to participate in the National Corn Growers Association’s “Leadership at its Best” program, which is co-sponsored by Syngenta. They discussed issues important to agriculture, such as GMO labeling, ethanol and the PLC/ARC programs.


Bush Foundation Fellowship Winners

Floyd Patrick Jourdain, Jr. (RED LAKE), Dave Smiglewski (GRANITE FALLS)

Two leaders from the 7th District have been chosen as Bush Foundation Fellowship Winners. Floyd Patrick Jourdain, Jr. and Granite Falls Mayor Dave Smiglewski will be awarded up to $100,000 to cover expenses such as tuition, fees for workshops and seminars, travel and equipment purchases that are necessary to develop and maintain their leadership potential. Since 1965, the Bush Foundation has worked to develop the leadership capacity of the Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and surrounding 23 Native nations by making investments in more than 2,200 people through its Fellowship programs.

Cuba Relations on KFGO

On Monday, I joined KFGO’s News and Views for an interview on President’s Obama’s recent decision to restore U.S.-Cuban relations. I’ve been a longtime advocate of expanding trade and ending the Cuban embargo and am happy to support this move as a potential opportunity for agriculture producers around the country.

Discovering the 7th

In Moorhead, you can find a full-scale replica of the Hopperstad Church located in the town of Vik, Norway. Norwegian Stave churches were built just after the close of the Viking Age in Scandinavia during the 1100s and 1200s. Interestingly, 18 percent of the total Norwegian American population lives in Minnesota, with almost 14,000 people claiming Norwegian heritage in Moorhead alone. The Moorhead replica was entirely hand carved by local Guy Paulson beginning in January of 1997. “I have been carving for about 25 years, so a challenging project like this intrigued me,” Paulson says, “It’s something that honors my family’s Christian heritage.” It was dedicated in 1998 as a gift to the city of Moorhead from the Paulson family. The church is constructed of cedar, redwood and pine.

This Week in American History

On March 23, 1823, Minnesota was among the first states to ratify the twenty-sixth amendment to the Constitution. This amendment, awarding citizens over the age of 18 years the right to vote in local, state and national elections, was ratified by a necessary number of states for legal execution the following year. Both Minnesota and Delaware claim to be the initial actor on this significant measure.

A foggy day in Audubon