Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 4/27/2018

Morris – Stevens County

Dear Friends,

During my time in Congress, I have always sought practical solutions to America’s challenges. While partisanship can sometimes drive the agenda in Washington, at the end of the day, my job is to create policy that works for the people of Minnesota’s Seventh District. This week, the Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University released a list of members of Congress ranked by their bipartisanship in 2017. I had the highest bipartisan score in the House of Representatives. I am dedicated to working with anyone I can to promote commonsense policies that improve peoples’ lives.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Minnesota Delegation Hotdish Competition

(Left to right) U.S. Representatives Erik Paulson, Jason Lewis, Tom Emmer and Tim Walz
(Front) U.S. Senator Tina Smith

This Wednesday, the Minnesota delegation came together for the 8th annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition. The dishes were initially judged by Phill Drobnick, coach of the gold medal-winning U.S. Men’s Olympic curling team; Joe Gill, farm director of KASM Radio in Albany; Noobtsaa Philip Vang, a University of Minnesota graduate who founded an online restaurant that serves meals created by D.C.-based immigrant chefs; and Kate Schaefers, volunteer state president of AARP Minnesota. These results were so close that Sam Brodey, the Master of Ceremonies, had to act as a tie-breaker. The MinnPost reporter described my dish’s flavors as subtle and savory and gave it a score of 5 out of 5 tots. Ultimately, Congressman Emmer won first prize. Every dish won the crowd’s vote, because once they got a chance to join the taste test, there were no leftovers.

Bipartisanship in the House of Representatives

Earlier this week, the Lugar Center (a non-partisan, non-profit group) and the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University jointly released their new Bipartisan Index (BPI) rankings of Congressional members for year 2017. According to the analysis, out of the 435 members of the House, I had the highest bipartisan score in 2017. I am sent to D.C. to represent and work for all the people of Minnesota’s Seventh District. My job in Congress is to work with whomever I can to improve peoples’ lives. No one can do that by always voting the party line.

For a complete look at the 2017 BPI click here.


Will Phillips (State Director), Erin Parrish (ASD-Advocacy & Outreach), Kate Schaefers (State President)

I met with AARP Minnesota to talk about important issues affecting seniors. We discussed the importance of presenting SNAP in the Farm Bill, the role of caregivers, and the medical expense deduction. It was great to meet with the group, and I will continue to advocate on behalf of our seniors.

CentraCare Health

David Borgert (Director, Community and Government Affairs), Ken Holmen (CEO), Paul Harris (VP, General Counsel)

Representatives of CentraCare Health visited Washington this week to discuss healthcare in greater Minnesota. CentraCare is a non-profit health system comprised of hospitals, nursing homes, senior housing, clinics, and pharmacies spanning 12 counties. The group thanked me for my support of the 340B Drug Pricing Program and provided updates regarding their new hospital and clinic in Long Prairie. I look forward to working with CentraCare as they support rural health initiatives, critical access hospitals, outpatient services, and telemedicine across the 7th District.

Saint Cloud Chamber of Commerce

I met with members of the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce to discuss business policies in Minnesota. We covered several issues during our meeting such as workforce development initiatives, educational programs to address the needs of local businesses, and the effects of regulations and mandates in the transportation sector. I will work to guarantee Minnesota’s businesses can remain effective and competitive throughout the country.

Minnesota Beer Wholesalers Association

On Tuesday, I met with representatives of the Minnesota Beer Wholesalers Association to discuss the beverage business in Minnesota and the effect the Administration’s trade tariffs will have on the beverage industry.  During my time in Congress, I have always fought to create conditions for Minnesota’s businesses to succeed in local and global markets. Maintaining healthy trade relations with other nations is just one way to make local businesses thrive.

Gamebird Farmers

Ken Klippen (National Egg Farmers Association), Mike Forsgren (Forsgren’s Pheasant Farm, PELICAN RAPIDS), Scott Meyer (Oakwood Gamefarm, Princeton), Rob Sexton (National Gamebird Association)

I met with representatives from Oakwood Game Farm, Forsgren’s Pheasant Farm, the National Gamebird Association, and the National Egg Farmers Association. I enjoyed discussing gamebirds and evaluating options for helping producers protect against avian influenza outbreaks.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Ray Martinez (FMCSA Administrator)

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administrator Ray Martinez visited my office this week to discuss Electronic Logging Devices, Hours of Service, and other issues impacting the trucking industry. I appreciated the opportunity to share the perspectives I’ve heard from many of you regarding these mandates, and look forward to working with Administrator Martinez to ensure that they reflect the needs of greater Minnesota’s truckers and haulers.

Plummer Area Sportsman Dinner

The Plummer Area Sportsmans Club hosted a pot luck dinner this week. I met with the Club’s officers and many of its members to chat about their plans for the warming weather. The Club offers Gun Safety Training and a trap shooting range for the area’s schools and the Club’s members. According to Club President Brent Hemly, trap shooting is one of the fastest growing sports for young people. I am glad to support groups that maintain safe places for folks to enjoy Minnesota’s great outdoors. 

National Association of Farm Broadcasters

On Wednesday, I spoke to the Washington Watch gathering of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters. It was entertaining to chat with these folks who provide such important information to farmers and ranchers not just in the 7th District, but in North Dakota, South Dakota, and across the country. I shared my thoughts on the future of the farm bill, and my frustration with the process to date. We talked about the mess that the Administration has gotten farmers and ranchers into on trade and renewable fuels, and how the farm bill, if approached with give-and-take that is truly bipartisan, can shore up the farm bill’s safety net to make sure Minnesota producers can operate with certainty.

KNSI’s Dan “The Ox” Ochsner

I sat down with KNSI St. Cloud’s Dan “The Ox” Ochsner to talk farm bill, trade, ethanol and other issues as part of his annual trek to Washington to talk with members of the Minnesota congressional delegation. It was a good opportunity to talk about the good things that the House Agriculture Committee can accomplish for farmers and ranchers, as well as for consumers, if we’re all pushing in the same direction.

Red River Farm Network’s Carah Hart and AM890’s Mick Kjar

Carah Hart (Red River Farm Network) // Mick Kjar (AM890)

I was happy to host area farm broadcasters in my office Thursday to talk about farm policy that directly impacts producers in western Minnesota, the Red River Valley, and throughout the region. Carah Hart of the Red River Farm Network and Farm Talk AM890’s Mick Kjar stopped by to discuss trade issues, ethanol and the RFS, and the Farm Bill. With both Mick and Carah, I emphasized that each issue is connected to demand for the products that farmers in Minnesota and the Dakotas produce. The Farm Bill represents the best chance to ensure that farmers have an adequate safety net and the support they need to invest in and expand new markets both at home and abroad. We cannot let it get bogged down with ideological language that has no hope of becoming law.

Veterans Stand Down

On Wednesday, my staff aide Jodi Dey attended the Veterans Stand Down hosted by Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans in Fergus Falls. In times of war, exhausted combat units requiring time to rest and recover were removed from the battlefields to a place of relative security and safety. At secure base camp areas, troops could take care of personal hygiene, enjoy warm meals, receive medical and dental care, mail and receive letters, and enjoy the camaraderie of friends in a safe environment. In the military, Stand Down afforded battle-weary soldiers the opportunity to renew their spirit, health and overall sense of well-being. Today, Stand Down refers to a grassroots, community-based intervention program designed to help the nation’s homeless veterans “combat” life on the streets. Services offered on Wednesday were assistance with VA benefits, clothing, housing, public benefit assistance, free hair-cuts, State DMV, Chaplaincy and legal and employment assistance.

National Wildlife Federation

Michael Happ (NWF), Joe Hensel (Byron, Minnesota)

Minnesota members of the National Wildlife Federation stopped by my Washington office on Thursday to talk about their priorities. They discussed the importance of adequate funding for the conservation title in the Farm Bill. The Minnesota Conservation Federation is the state organization of the National Wildlife Federation, which is the largest conservation organization in the country.

*Legislative Update

FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018

The House passed H.R. 4, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 this week to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration through 2023. I supported the legislation and its provisions to protect general aviation, enhance the rights of passengers, and fund federal programs such as Essential Air Service (EAS) and the Airport Improvement Program (AIP).


RFS Waiver Misuse

I joined the other co-chairs of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus and sent a letter raising concerns with EPA Administrator Pruitt’s use of RFS hardship waivers. Twenty-five refineries were secretly granted waivers from having to blend biofuels in our nation’s fuel supply. In total, these waivers cut 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol from the market, which only hurts our rural economy which is already experiencing weak commodity prices.

White-Tailed Deer Management Plan

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) set up a series of meetings to discuss a new White-tailed Deer Management Plan for the years 2019-2028. A draft of the plan was compiled from the Deer Management Plan Advisory Committee composed of 19 members representing various organizations and groups. The draft can be read online here.

Suggestions for the plan must be submitted in writing and postmarked by May 9, 2018. Send your ideas to: MN DNR - FAW, Attn. Leslie McInenly, 500 Lafayette Road, Box 20, St. Paul, MN 55155. 

This Week in American History

On April 26, 1877, Minnesota Governor John S. Pillsbury called for a day of prayer to relieve the state from the swarms of Rocky Mountain locusts that had plagued farmers for four years. The locusts would linger in Minnesota until August, when they would disappear with the change of the season. The insects were such a nuisance that Governor Pillsbury later implemented a controversial bounty measure requiring every able-bodied man in affected counties to destroy grasshopper eggs for one day a week, for five straight weeks.

What’s the Story?

“Washington Blue Dog”- Painting by George Rodrigue

The Blue Dog Coalition was organized in 1995 to represent the pragmatic, moderate voice of the Democratic Party. Partly inspired by a series of Blue Dog paintings by George Rodrigue, the name “Blue Dogs” refers to members of Congress that felt as if they had been “choked blue” by the extremes of both political parties. As one of the founding members of the Blue Dogs, I have always advocated for commonsense policies that work for my constituents, despite the various political pressures to do otherwise. The Washington Blue Dog painting, shown above, is hung in my Washington, D.C. office - symbolizing my commitment to compromise and to finding solutions that benefit the entire nation.

Stevens County