Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 4/3/2015

Detroit Lake

Dear Friends,

In order to effectively plan for future growth, small businesses rely on Congress to pass practical and sensible federal regulations only when necessary. I met with members of the National Federation of Independent Business to discuss the importance of careful analysis in regulating unique small business environments, while my staff in Washington welcomed the Minnesota Workforce Council Association to outline policy that will ensure a skilled and competitive workforce in the 7th. I also joined members of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Farm Service Agency at a town hall meeting in Roseau this week regarding the recently allocated wolf depredation funds available to livestock producers. Finally, I co-sponsored two measures that would help the redistricting process best represent voters. 



Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

NFIB Roundtable

On Tuesday, I sat down with a group of National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) members in Willmar to discuss their concerns about federal legislation and regulatory issues. The delegation told me about the difficulties their business operations face complying with requirements imposed on them by the “one size fits all” approach taken by some federal agencies. NFIB represents small and independent business owners, which account for most main street commerce in the 7th District. More than half of small and independent business owners employ 5 or fewer, with gross sales of $350,000 or less. I take their concerns to heart because small business owners provide important services and employment opportunities in the 7th District. I feel that the federal government should help, not hinder, the success of their operations.    

Roseau Wolf Town Hall

On Thursday I attended a Wolf Town Hall meeting in Roseau with several Minnesota Department of Agriculture officials, Farm Service Agency representatives, and other state attendees to discuss how the recent court decision to delist gray wolves from federal protections will impact livestock producers and other concerned citizens. I have been a long-time proponent of allowing Minnesota to manage wolves instead of the federal government. Now that wolves are once again federally protected, I led a bipartisan coalition of Congressional Members asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to locate the resources necessary to run a wolf depredation program.

Recently, USDA and Minnesota announced that funds were made available for the program, which means farmers and ranchers who lose livestock as a direct result of wolves have options. Producers can now contact their local Farm Service Agency office within 30 days of livestock loss and apply for financial compensation. I believe this is a good start towards seeking a long-term solution to managing gray wolves in a way that makes sense for everyone.

Minnesota Workforce Council Association

Members of the Minnesota Workforce Council Association stopped by the D.C. office on Tuesday. They met with my staff aide Chris Iacaruso to discuss the uncertainty of the rulemaking and guidelines issued by the Federal Government to implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). They also discussed how sequestration will affect future funding and local planning efforts. The Minnesota Workforce Council provides leadership and direction for local workforce development programs, which are tailored to meet the specific needs of their communities. The association’s mission is to provide Minnesota with a skilled and competitive workforce.

American Association of Nurse Practitioners

On Tuesday, my staff aide Natalie Winters met with the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Kevin Ballard (THIEF RIVER FALLS) expressed his thanks for my cosponsorship of H.R. 1247, which expands a VA pilot program to include more change to medical professionals and facilities with longest wait times. He was also grateful for my support of the compromise package to address Medicare SGR reform that recently passed the House of Representatives.

Minnesota Association of Development Organizations

Miron Carney (Chair, Southwest RDC),  Jay Trusty (Executive Director, Southwest RDC), Dawn Hegland (Executive Director, UMVRDC), Gary Hendrickx Chair, UMVRDC), Nicole Griensewic Mickelson (Executive Director, Region 9 Development Commission), Jim Swanson (Chair, Region 9 Development Commission)

My staff aide Chris Iacaruso met with the Minnesota Association of Development Organizations (MADO) to discuss economic development and broadband deployment throughout the District. MADO provides technical assistance to government, businesses, and local organizations, while also coordinating multi-jurisdictional activities to maintain and enhance the quality of life in the region.

Legislative Update

Making Congress Work Again

I believe that common-ground solutions are the most effective way to both serve constituents and lessen the partisan divide in Congress. One reason for the lack of people in the middle is the growing number of Members of Congress that come from hyper-partisan districts that are drawn by political parties to all but guarantee someone from the far left or right wins a seat. When this happens, voters in the middle don’t have a real choice on election day for someone that will put their interests first. That is why I am an original cosponsor of two bills, the John Tanner Fairness in Redistricting Act and the Redistricting Transparency Act. These bills would take the politics and partisanship out of the process for redistricting, and ensure that voters are choosing the person they think will represent them best, and not political parties rigging the system for partisan gain. I hope measures like this can move forward to start the long process of restoring faith in our government.


Agralite Electric Cooperative

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved the allocation of funds to assist in the construction of a railroad unloading track capable of storing one million gallons of propane. This offloading equipment will help the Agralite Electric Cooperative ensure the availability of propane for Minnesota communities.

TIGER Funding Availability Announced

This week, the Department of Transportation announced the latest round of funding availability for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER FY2015) Grant Program. $500 million is available for grants in this round of TIGER. The official announcement can be found on the DOT website and will include information on upcoming information webinars that will be helpful for any folks interested in applying for a TIGER grant this year.

Please note the following:

• Pre-applications are required for this round of TIGER.

• Deadline for Pre-applications: May 4, 2015, by 11:59 p.m. EDT.

• Date for to Begin Receiving Applications: May 5, 2015.

• Deadline for Final Applications: June 5, 2015, by 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Discovering the 7th

Alexandria’s Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum preserves nearly 150 years of Minnesotan maritime and resorting tradition. The museum offers a private fishing club, exhibits of Minnesota lakeside resorts, and antique watercraft and sporting equipment displays. Wildlife areas, including a waterfall garden, also feature prominently on the museum campus.

This Week in American History

Minnesota State Flag Original / Current

The Minnesota state flag, designed by Amelia H. Center of Minneapolis, was adopted on April 4, 1893. The flag depicts the state seal ringed by a wreath of white lady slippers and further surrounded by nineteen stars, representing Minnesota as the nineteenth state (after the original thirteen colonies) to be admitted to the Union. The flag was modified in 1957, when the white lady slipper was replaced as the state flower with the pink-and-white lady slipper.

Visitors from the District

Sue Byars (Back Row, Middle) visited Washington with a group of students from California. Originally from Minnesota, Sue helped me in some of my earliest Congressional campaigns by distributing bumper stickers.

Karen, Zachary, Joseph, and Alexander Vandermark (BELLE PLAINE), Mark and Carol Hruby (PORTER)

Ami and Reid Bonrud (WENDELL)

Close-Up Foundation Student Visit (KARLSTAD)

Close-Up Foundation