Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 4/5

Apr 5, 2013 Issues: Congressional Issues

Students from Parkers Prairie Visit the Agriculture Committee Room

Close Up Foundation

Dear Friends,

I'd like to remind folks that my office is seeking entries for the 2013 Congressional Art Competition, and I encourage all creative high school students to submit their artwork to my office. This newsletter contains an important update on rural call completion, an issue that a number of constituents have contacted me about to express their concern.  The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) recently began accepting applications for FY2013 grants and loan programs, and more information can be found below.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Congressional Art Competition Deadline in Two Weeks

Artwork entered in the contest may be paintings, drawings, collage, prints, mixed media, computer generated art, or photography

High-school students who live in Minnesota's 7th District are welcome to submit their artwork for the 2013 Congressional Art Competition. The competition is open to all high-school students, and the overall winner of each participating district will be displayed for one year in the Cannon Tunnel leading into the U.S. Capitol.  The submission deadline is April 22, 2013.  For more information and guidelines for submission, please refer to my website at

Update: Rural Call Completion

A number of folks in the 7th District have contacted my office recently about issues with call completion in rural areas.  Rather than an isolated problem in one area, it appears this is a nationwide issue.  Customers across the United States living in rural areas have been reporting increasing difficulty receiving long distance calls.  Typically this involves the calling party hearing ringing, while the called party hears nothing.  Other problems include extremely poor call quality and caller ID issues. 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has outlined a number of suspected causes.  The majority of issues appear when the calls are routed using a Least Cost Route (LCR) provider, and it is suspected that these LCR providers are either improperly managing their communication networks or may be intentionally blocking calls to cut costs.   The NECA stated that the problem appears to be on the originating caller's end, not with the local rural companies on the terminating end of the call.  Rest assured that I am aware of this serious problem and will continue to monitor this issue as we seek to increase rates of call completion in rural areas like the 7th District.

Recently, the FCC proposed rules that could help solve the problem of poor call-completion rates in rural America, which has long been a source of frustration for residents of rural areas and phone companies alike. Under the proposal, all “facilities-based originating long-distance providers” would have to immediately begin collecting and reporting data on call-answer rates. Such providers would include local exchange carriers, interexchange carriers, wireless carriers, and interconnected voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) service providers—a wide cross-section of the telecommunications industry.

The proposal put forth by the FCC is encouraging, but I will continue to monitor and discuss this issue with the FCC to ensure it has the tools it needs to bring an end to this problem.

REAP Now Accepting Grant and Loan Applications for FY2013

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) recently announced that they will begin accepting applications for FY2013 grants and loans related to the development and construction of renewable energy systems and projects.  To obtain application materials, visit or contact the Minnesota Rural Development Energy Coordinator, Ron Omann at 651-602-7796 or via email at

Parkers Prairie Students Travel to D.C.

Who Has the Largest District in the U.S.?

When visitors come to my office, they often see the map of the 7th District and ask if I represent the largest district in the United States.  With 35,377 square miles and a population of 662,991, the 7th District is definitely impressive in size.  However, the 7th is actually the 22nd largest district in the United States out of all 435 congressional districts.  Some of the largest districts actually take up an entire state.  These types of congressional districts are referred to as "at-large" districts, and they currently include: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming.  Due to their lower population levels, those states have more senators in the U.S. Senate than representatives in the U.S. House.  It comes as little surprise that Alaska is the largest congressional district in the U.S.

This Week in American History

                 Front (white)                                   Back (blue)

Minnesota’s first state flag was adopted on April 4, 1893 after the Amelia Hyde Center of Minneapolis submitted the design and presented the new flag at the World’s Fair in Chicago.  The first Minnesota flag was made of silk and embroidered by Norwegian immigrant sisters Pauline and Thomane Fjelde.  They took the gold medal at the World's Fair for their handwork.  The original design depicts the state seal with white lady slippers (the state flower) outlining the edges.  A red ribbon is woven between the lady slippers and displays the state motto: “L’Etoile du Nord” (Star of the North).  Nineteen stars surround the seal, representing Minnesota as the nineteenth state to be admitted into the Union after the original 13 colonies. One side of the flag was white, the other blue, and it remained this way until a new version of the flag’s design was adopted on Minnesota’s Centennial in 1958.

Constituents Visit D.C.

Ernie, Brenda, Jon, and Cole Miska (ALEXANDRIA)

Herker Family (LITCHFIELD), Mack Family (DETROIT LAKES), Thomas Family, Dague Family (DARWIN), Bendson Family (MOTLEY)