Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 4/25/2014

April 25, 2014

Honor Flight

Dear Friends,

This week dozens of Veterans from the greater St. Cloud area participated in an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials built for their service. Tuesday I traveled to Olivia to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Renville County Hospital and Clinics. I also attended an important meeting on railroad safety in Casselton, ND. Along with a number of Earth Day events and celebrations this week, we also recognize National Park Week and Severe Weather Awareness Week.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Honor Flight

Top: The St. Cloud Honor Flight arriving at the WWII Memorial; Francis "Fran" Mortier (MARSHALL) and his daughter Karen Bender; MN WWII Veteran stands by the Minnesota Pillar
Bottom: Litchfield residents Gaylen Heacock Jr. (LITCHFIELD), Senior Vice Commander of the "Fighting" Sixth District of the MN VFW, Bruce Cottington and Wayne Bonkrude; former State Representative Bernie Lieder (CROOKSTON); Bruce Cottington (LITCHFIELD) with Navy Seamen

Over 160 veterans and their guardians spent a day touring Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. They visited the World War II, Korean, Vietnam, and Navy War memorials, and ended their tour of Washington at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.

Last Call!
2014 Congressional Art Competition

Next Tuesday, April 29th is the final day High School students can apply to this year’s Congressional Art Competition.

The winner and guest will receive complimentary round-trip airfare from Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport to Washington, D.C. The travel dates are flexible so there will be time to tour the nation’s capital prior to the June 26th exhibit opening. In addition, the winner’s artwork will be displayed inside the Cannon Tunnel which leads to the U.S. Capitol.

Click here for more information about the Competition.

Renville Cty Hospital and Clinics

Hospital CEO Nathan Blad, John Monson with AgStar, Olivia Mayor Suzanne Hilgert, Regional VP United FCS Duane Remer, and VP of Home Town Bank Jeremy Frank 


John Stahl, Chairman of Renville County Hospital and Clinics and Chairman of Renville County Board of Commissioners and Olivia Mayor Suzanne Hilgert

The Farm Bill goes beyond helping farmers plan their future harvests. It also improves the quality for all folks living in rural communities, and the new Renville County Hospital and Clinics is a great example. This Tuesday, hospital and community leaders came together to break ground at the hospital’s work site. The new hospital was made possible in part by USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program funding.  

Edward J. Devitt U.S. Court House Dedication

The Fergus Falls Federal Court House serves the 7th Judicial Circuit which includes the counties of Becker, Benton, Clay, Douglas, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Stearns, Todd and Wadena

This week I attended the dedication of the Fergus Falls Courthouse as the Edward J. Devitt Court House and Federal Building.   I have been honored to be part of the local effort to maintain and strengthen the presence of the Federal Court in Fergus Falls for many years and I was glad to be the chief sponsor of H.R. 2251 to rename the building.  I appreciated having all of the Minnesota congressional delegation join me as co-sponsors.  The project began in 1989 when a group of concerned citizens thought it would be a good idea to have the Federal Court return to Fergus Falls and through hard work and determination of many people, the Federal Court did return to Fergus Falls in 1995.  I am honored that it can serve as a monument to Edward J. Devitt, a Naval officer, distinguished jurist and Congressman.   The Court House serves a population of over 610,000 people and covers an area of over 25,000 square miles and means that people in rural Minnesota can have access to the Federal Court system as easily as a person living in the metro area. 

Casselton Rail Safety Roundtable with Secretary Foxx

The rail safety roundtable was hosted by North Dakota Senators Heitkamp and Hoeven and Congressman Cramer

On Thursday I joined a roundtable in Casselton to discuss the importance of improving rail safety with Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. We all agreed that this issue requires cooperation between all the states and the federal government. Rail safety isn't just an issue impacting one region, it's the whole country; when rail service is disrupted, so is the transit of all commodities. Due to its combustibility, the transportation of Bakken oil was of particular concern. Some of the priorities discussed moving forward included training for first responders, retrofitting DOT-111 cars, and harmonizing standards transnationally.

Geronimo Energy

I recently met with Justin Pickar and Morgan Fleming of Geronimo Energy to learn more about the company and its operations. Geronimo develops wind and solar farms throughout the upper Midwest. The company focuses on locating wind farms in areas with significant wind resources and suitable transmission access.

Credit Unions

Mike Wehlage (MELROSE), Chuck Friederichs (MELROSE), Kayla Rieffenberger (MONTEVIDEO), Linda Givan (MONTEVIDEO), Mark Cummins (Woodbury), Dick Nesvold (New Ulm), Eric Kronlokken (DAWSON), and John Nevins (DAWSON)

This week I met with the Minnesota Credit Union Network. Credit Unions exist as member owned financial cooperatives for the purpose of providing credit at competitive rates among other financial services. There are 134 Credit Unions in Minnesota, 14 of which are headquartered in the 7th District. Modern credit unions in America date back to 1908, and have provided financial services across the nation.

Beltrami County

Joe Vene, Cty Commissioner of Beltrami County

I sat down with County Commissioner of Beltrami County Joe Vene to talk about Veterans care and other issues facing Beltrami County.

Close Up Groups

Parkers Prairie                                               Brandon-Evansville

Recently, students from Parkers Prairie High School and Brandon-Evansville High School visited Washington, D.C. as part of the annual Close Up Foundation’s high school trips. The students toured Washington, enjoyed the sights, met with congressional offices, and took part in workshops relating to legislative work.   

Boston Marathon 2014
On Monday, over 36,000 runners gathered at the starting line of the Boston Marathon to mark the one year anniversary of a terrible bombing that killed three people and injured over 260. Among the runners were 615 Minnesotans, 212 of which ran last year during the bombing. In a showing of American strength and perseverance, thousands of runners and a million spectators flocked to Boston to run and see the 26.2-mile race. For the first time since 1983, an American man ended up winning the Boston Marathon.

Severe Weather Awareness

Minnesota has more than its fair share of severe weather problems. In one week our state witnessed tornadoes and blizzards, so it is important that families are prepared for all sorts of severe weather. Tornado season is approaching, so this week serves as Severe Weather Awareness Week. There were two statewide, mock tornado drills this week for families to assess if they have adequate safety plans in place.

For more information on severe weather planning, click here.

Earth Day

Each year April 22nd is dedicated as Earth Day, a celebration of preserving our natural resources and keeping our pristine lakes and woods healthy and vibrant for future generations. The first Earth Day began in 1970 and has been recognized and celebrated ever since. I believe that Minnesota is well positioned to benefit from renewable energy sources such as biodiesel, ethanol, wind, and biomass.

National Park Week
Pipestone National Monument

National Park Week kicked off Saturday, April 19th and continues through Sunday, April 27th with the theme “National Park Week:  Go Wild!”  During this time, events are taking place across the country to honor and celebrate America’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.  Residents of the 7th District might want to consider exploring our own Pipestone National Monument to learn more about the pipestone quarries.

Click here for more information on the Pipestone National Monument.

VA Offers New Online Resource

This week the VA launched a new online resource for transitioning Service Members, Veterans and their dependents. The website can help with resume building and other career tools currently offered on a variety of websites together in one place. Employers and Veterans deserve a single, authoritative source for connecting with each other.

The Veterans Employment Center’s website can be found by clicking here.

Visitors from the 7th

Reed Olson (BEMIDJI), Frank Forcier (Waconia), Georgia Forcier (HUTCHINSON), Carmen Forcier (GLENCOE), and Mauria McNeil (GLENCOE)

This Week in American History

On April 19, 1945, “Hail! Minnesota”  became Minnesota’s state song. It was written by two University of Minnesota students in 1904 and 1905, so it also became the university’s official song. The lyrics to “Hail! Minnesota” can be found below, and you can listen to the song by clicking here.

Minnesota, Hail to Thee!

Hail to Thee, our state so dear,

Thy light shall ever be

A beacon bright and clear.

Thy sons and daughters true

Will proclaim Thee near and far.

They shall guard Thy fame and adore Thy name;

Thou shalt be their Northern Star!

Like the stream that bends to sea,

Like the pine that seeks the blue;

Minnesota, still for Thee

Thy sons are strong and true!

From Thy woods and waters fair,

From Thy prairies waving far.

At Thy call they throng with a shout and song;

Hailing Thee their Northern Star!

2013 Congressional Art Competition