Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 3/8

Mar 8, 2013 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Education, Veterans

View from my office window as a" snowstorm" hit D.C. this week


Dear Friends,

Given recent storms in Minnesota and D.C. this may be hard to believe, but it is time to spring forward as we adjust our clocks one hour ahead this weekend for Daylight Savings Time.  On Tuesday the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing on the state of the rural economy and the impact we can expect to see from sequestration.  I met with a number of folks this week who work in education, veterans' affairs, agriculture, and community relations.  This newsletter contains highlights of those meetings and a snapshot of 7th District constituents who went on a tour of the U.S. Capitol this week.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

National Association of Federally Impacted Schools

Members of the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools from Minnesota stopped by my office including Brandon Lunak, from Waubun-White Earth-Ogema Public Schools, Rick Haaland, from Cass Lake-Bena Public Schools, Jeff Bisek and Jim DeVries, from Mahnomen Public Schools, Steve Wymore and Roy Nelson from Red Lake Public Schools. Roy Nelson gave me my famous "Ponemah, MN" cap that I wore to this year's Inauguration.  Roy also brought his grandchildren Daisy and Dayton along for a visit to the nation’s capital.

Veterans of Foreign Wars

I met with the MN State Commander of the VFW, Lee Ulferts (Brooklyn Park), and the incoming State Commander, Frank Presfield (St. Cloud).  We had an important discussion about how we can work to continue to serve our veterans.

Agriculture Committee Holds Hearing to Review the State of the Rural Economy

The House Agriculture Committee welcomed USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday for a hearing on the state of the rural economy. I’m still hoping for some kind of assurance and budget guidance from leadership before we get started writing a new farm bill. I’m hopeful this will all come together and Congress will be able to address some of these budget issues so we can get to work.

The sequester is the most immediate challenge we face and I asked the Secretary for more details on what this means for agriculture.  Watch my opening statement here and watch my questioning of Secretary Vilsack here.

Land Stewardship Project and the Izaak Walton League

Tim Gossman (Chatfield), Charlie Hersey (Bruno), Gerald Ziesemer (FERGUS FALLS), Adam Warthesen (Land Stewardship Project, Policy Program organizer), Bill Wenzel (Izaak Walton League, Agriculture Program Director, Midwest Office)

I discussed conservation issues and the future of the Farm Bill with members of the Land Stewardship Project and the Izaak Walton League.  The Land Stewardship Project is a private, nonprofit organization that seeks to foster an ethic of stewardship for farmland, to promote sustainable agriculture and to develop sustainable communities.  Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League is one of the nation's oldest conservation organizations; it strives to take a common-sense approach toward protecting our country's natural heritage and improving outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans.

Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association (RRVSGA)

Kelly Erickson, Robert Green, Nick Sinner, Pat Freese, Curt Haugen, John Brainard, Dennis Butenhoff

Members of the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association sat down with me to discuss issues affecting sugar growers and processors in the Red River Valley and reaffirm my support for the sugar program in the Farm Bill.

Minnesota Barley Growers Association

Marv Zutz (RED LAKE FALLS, Executive Director MN Barley Growers), Steve Edwardson (Executive Director ND Barley Council), Charlie Ottem (ND Barley Council), Peter Friederichs (FOXHOME, President MN Barley), Doyle Lentz (President National Barley Growers Association)

I met with members of the National Barley Growers Association to discuss the Farm Bill and other issues impacting barley growers.  Barley is the third major feed grain crop produced in the United States.

Barnes Aastad

Pat Peterson-Werre (Stillwater, VP for R&D Aveda), Sue Dieter (MORRIS), Jim Wink (CYRUS, Member of Barnes Aastad), and Bruce Werre (Stillwater)

Barnes-Aastad is a non-profit organization of farm managers and agri-business supporting the USDA-ARS Soils Lab in Morris.  They travel to Washington each year to discuss the importance of research funding and provide an update on the work conducted at the lab.  This year they were joined by representatives of Aveda who are working as partners with the ARS lab to create new oilseed varieties to replace tropical oil sources.

Red Lake Tribe

Chairman "Buck" Jourdain, Red Lake Representative Donald "Dude" May, and Holly Macarro

I met with Red Lake Band of Chippewa Chairman Jourdain and representatives from the Red Lake Tribe this week.  Last Friday Chairman Jourdain gave his State of the Band address, and it was good to speak with him and get an update on issues important to Red Lake.

National Association of Counties (NACO)

Doris Karloff (Chair of NACO Rural Action Caucus) and Bob Fox (FRANKLIN, Renville County Commissioner)

Over 120 county commissioners from Minnesota were in town attending NACO meetings this week.  During our meeting they expressed their support for Farm Bill reauthorization and further rural development in the 7th District.

National Association of Broadcasters

Ed Smith (formerly of ALEXANDRIA) and Jim Bartels (New Ulm) stopped by to discuss the quality and technology innovation of broadcasting stations that serve the 7th District. They were in Washington to attend the National Association of Broadcaster meetings with fellow broadcasters across the Nation.

Minnesota Community Action Partnership

Neal Steffl (Worthington), Jill Frye (ASHBY), Steve Nagle (ERHARD), Kate Ouverson (MADISON), and Jon Evert (MOORHEAD, Clay County Commissioner)

I sat down with Minnesota Community Action Partnership to discuss the good work they do in our communities, including Head Start programs, home weatherization, and nutrition assistance.  Lakes & Prairies Community Action recently celebrated its 45th Anniversary and we appreciate the role they play in helping people who are struggling to find their feet again.

This Week in American History

This week is the anniversary of "The Star-Spangled Banner" being officially designated as our national anthem.  During the War of 1812, author Francis Scott Key was detained inside a British ship when he wrote the famous lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner” after witnessing an overnight bombardment on Fort McHenry. Even though hundreds of cannons had been fired upon the American military fort in Maryland, Key was amazed when he saw an American flag still standing after the attack.  Decades later on March 3rd, 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed the law designating “The Star-Spangled Banner” the official national anthem of the United States. The picture above is what remains of the flag that inspired Key to write the U.S. anthem. You can visit the flag today at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Constituents from the 7th

Gary and Vickie Wilson (GREENBUSH), Kate Ouverson (MADISON), and Jill Frye (ASHBY) stand in front of a U.S. flag near the Capitol rotunda during a tour of the U.S. Capitol today.

Ron and Linda Ekre (HAWLEY), Lois and Joe Pederson (BARNESVILLE) are pictured here in front of my office after their tour of the U.S. Capitol today.  Joe is the Executive Director of Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership.