Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 4/11/2014

Dear Friends,

This week the ice is beginning to thaw around Minnesota as spring starts to bloom in Washington. The Agriculture Committee showed once again that bipartisanship is possible in the nation’s capital. Folks from across the Seventh District traveled to Washington to talk about issues ranging from education, transportation, and telecommunications. A former NASCAR driver and current owner met with me to discuss the importance of ethanol use in fuels.



Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

CFTC Reauthorization
Agriculture Committee Approves Bipartisan Legislation to Reauthorize CFTC
The House Agriculture Committee Wednesday again demonstrated that it is possible to pass legislation in a bipartisan way. The Committee approved by voice vote H.R. 4413, the Customer Protection and End-User Relief Act to reauthorize and improve the operations of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). This is reasonable legislation that ensures a well-functioning CFTC, regulates financial entities dealing in the swaps market, and allows end-users to continue using derivatives to hedge the risks associated with their underlying business.

You can read my opening statement from Thursday’s business meeting by clicking here. 

Growth Energy

Richard Childress

Richard Childress is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Richard Childress Racing, a 15-time championship stock car racing organization. He has been named NASCAR Owner of the Year three times by The Sporting News in 2001, 2006, and 2010 and his team has more than 200 overall NASCAR victories. Richard was a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver from 1969 to 1981, recording six top-five and 76 top-10 finishes in 285 starts. Richard serves on the board of Growth Energy, and he came to my office to discuss his support for the 15% ethanol fuel blend in NASCAR.

Tyler Kalmack and Dustin Ditch (PELICAN RAPIDS), both dental students attending the University of Minnesota and fans of NASCAR driver and team owner Richard Childress, got a chance encounter and a quick picture with him after our meeting.

Close Up
Thief River Falls and Red Lake High Schools

I met this week with students from Red Lake High School and Lincoln High School in Thief River Falls. We had fine weather and enjoyed our time on the steps of the Capitol. It was a pleasure meeting with these students and hearing their plans as they near graduation. While visiting Washington with the Close Up Foundation, the students take part in work shops, mock Congress, and meet with lawmakers while they enjoy the sights and partake in everything our nation’s capital has to offer.

MN Soybean

Craig Bangasser (GARVIN), Bob Worth (LAKE BENTON), Cole Trebesch (Springfield)

On Thursday I met with the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. We discussed the Surface and Transportation Board hearing regarding the availability of rail service.  We also touched on other issues important to the organization, such as the biodiesel tax credit and the Renewable Fuels Standard.

MN Telecom Alliance

The members of the MN Telecom Alliance came to town to discuss the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision on the Universal Service Fund (USF). Three years ago, the FCC approved a transition period that would transition money from the USF High-Cost Program to a new $4.5 billion a year Connect America Fund for broadband internet expansion. Today, because USF support is tied to voice service for rural providers under current rules, high cost areas served by rural carriers may receive reduced support if consumers do not take plain-old-telephone-service along with broadband. MN telecom providers would like to have the FCC adopt a more tailored provision that will provide sufficient and predictable support for broadband-capable networks in areas served by rural carriers.

Renewable Fuels Ass’n

Senior VP of Research and Analysis Geoff Cooper and VP of Gov’t Affairs Samantha Slater

I met with Geoff Cooper and Samantha Slater with the Renewable Fuels Association to discuss issues related to ethanol production and the Renewable Fuel Standard. Geoff provides regulatory support and strategic planning for the association and its members, and he leads research and promotional efforts to increase production of corn-based ethanol. Samantha is leading RFA’s efforts on informing Congress on ethanol-related issues.

Land O’Lakes

Chuck Valek (Belle Plain), Dennis Schreier (MORGAN), Kathleen Heron Johnson (Washington, DC), Todd Nelson (Lafayette), Dean Matthies (ALEXANDRIA), Kevin Lauwagie (WINTHROP), Sadie Reiners (MORGAN)

I met with several representatives of ag supply cooperatives for Land O’Lakes to talk about issues of importance to them such as rail transportation, trade, and regulatory reform.  Based in Arden Hills, Minnesota, Land O’Lakes is the second-largest cooperative in the nation.

4-H and UMN Extension

Left: Kate Harrington (MOORHEAD), MacKenzie Streich (MARIETTA)
Right: Ellie McCann (MOORHEAD), Kathy Brandt (MARSHALL), and Neil Linscheid (MARSHALL)

I met with 4-H youth and Minnesota Extension educators during their “Day on the Hill” event.  We talked about the importance of Federal funding for agriculture and the positive impact of 4-H on today’s young people.  The Extension folks are doing good work in their local communities and reaching more people online as well.  Both Kate and MacKenzie are 4-H State Ambassadors with bright futures ahead of them. 

MN Cattlemen

John Chute (Aitkin), Mike Landuyt (WALNUT GROVE), Dar Giess (Pierz), and Tom Pyfferoen (Pine Island)

I sat down with the Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association (MSCA) to discuss a number of issues impacting the livestock industry, including farm bill provisions, food safety rules, and trade matters.  The organization is comprised of more than 1,000 members representing all aspects of the beef community in Minnesota.
Longtime Minnesota State University-Moorhead professor, fiction writer, and poet Mark Vinz received the Kay Sexton Award for his lifelong contributions to literature in Minnesota. It is important to recognize leaders in our communities and Mr. Vinz is certainly one of them, having served as a professor of English for forty years and influencing countless future writers. The Award was announced on Monday by Friends of the St. Paul Public Library.

Click here to learn more about Mr. Vinz and the award.

Constituents from the 7th

Jerry and Chadd Berger (WHEATON), Dan, David, Darin (WHEATON), and Marc Rinke (FERGUS FALLS)

The sons decided to fulfill a bucket list item for their fathers by taking them to Washington, D.C., a city they’ve never visited before.

Delaney, Kole, Katy, and Andrew Holland (OLIVIA)

This Week in American History,_other_ships_in_background,_06-12-1907_-_NARA_-_512932.tif/lossy-page1-300px-Minnesota_(BB22)._Port_bow,_other_ships_in_background,_06-12-1907_-_NARA_-_512932.tif.jpg
USS Minnesota (BB-22)

On April 8th, 1905, the battleship Minnesota was christened and launched to sea at Newport News, Virginia. President Theodore Roosevelt became concerned about the U.S. Navy’s lack of strength in the Pacific Ocean due to the growing presence of Japan in the waters. He sent the Minnesota and three other battleships to sail to the Philippines, Japan, and China. When World War I began in April 1917, Minnesota became an active duty battleship. The following year the ship was hit by a mine that had been placed in the water by a German submarine. There were no casualties, but the ship was out of commission for five months. In 1924, the Minnesota became outdated and was sold for scrap.

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.  Deadline for submission is Tuesday, April 29th.



2013 Congressional Art Competition