Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 4/7/2017

Sunrise in East Grand Forks

Dear Friends,

On Monday, April 10th I will host a town hall meeting in Moorhead focused on healthcare in the 7th District. The affordability and quality of healthcare for people in the middle continues to be an issue I hear about across the district. With the decision to scrap the Republican healthcare plan, I want to continue my outreach on healthcare issues should Republicans look for a bipartisan approach to fixing our healthcare system. Please join me at Horizon Middle School at 7:00PM to share your thoughts.

Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Close Up – New York Mills High School

Photo with the students on the steps of the U.S. Capitol

This week, I was able to welcome students from New York Mills High School to Washington, D.C. as part of the Close Up foundation visits. I always enjoy meeting with students who have a passion for politics and policy and I appreciate their views on the topics facing America. 

CentraCare Health

Paul Harris (VP and General Counsel), Dave Borgert (Director of Community and Government Relations), and Ken Holmen (CEO)

Representatives of CentraCare Health visited Washington this week to discuss healthcare in Central Minnesota. CentraCare is a non-profit health system comprised of hospitals, nursing homes, senior housing, clinics, and pharmacies spanning 12 counties. I look forward to working with CentraCare as they work to support rural health initiatives, critical access hospitals, outpatient services, and telemedicine.

St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce

Business development is key to attracting more workers and families to rural Minnesota. Twenty-five volunteer members of the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce visited with me to discuss transportation, energy, and health care reform issues. I am a proud member of a number of local Minnesota Chambers of Commerce and recently was awarded the “Spirit of Enterprise” on behalf of my record supporting businesses and economic development. 

MN-SD Equipment Dealers Association

Chris Palen, Owner of Sioux International (Sioux Falls, SD); Corey Marzolf, Marzolf Implement Co. (Spring Valley, MN); Jacob Willenbring, Central MN Equipment, (Paynesville, MN); and Nick Sinner, President and CEO of MN/SD Equipment Dealers Association (Owatonna, MN)

Members of the equipment dealers association came to town to discuss the rural economy. We discussed tax reform, health care reform, the impact commodity prices have on their businesses, and how eliminating business interest expense and deductions could hurt agricultural communities. 

Former Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell

This week, I met with former Colorado Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell and representatives to discuss legislation pertaining to the higher education of Native American students, including programs like those at the University of Minnesota- Morris. I will continue to work towards making higher education more affordable for all Americans, including those from our tribal lands. 

CFTC Chairman

This week I sat down with Acting Commodities Future Trading Commission (CFTC) Chair Christopher Giancarlo to discuss the state of the CFTC and their operations under current statute. Chairman Giancarlo was originally nominated by President Obama to serve as a Commissioner, and has served as Acting-Chair since President Trump’s inauguration. He has since been nominated by President Trump to be full time Chairman of the Commission. I welcome his input on the needs of the CFTC as we work towards reauthorization, so we can ensure end-user protections as well as an efficient and fair marketplace. Chairman Giancarlo is also an accomplished musician, and I look forward to having him joining my band to play in the future.

Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy President Chris Clark

Chris Clark, President of Xcel Energy provided updates on the energy company’s recently signed power purchase agreement with ALLETE Clean Energy to build and operate a 100-megawatt wind farm which will serve Minnesotans in my area. I have always supported an all-the-above national energy strategy to keep utility rates remain low and affordable for homes, businesses, and farms.     

Minnesota Association of Nurse Anesthetists

Members of the Minnesota Association of Nurse Anesthetists visited my office this week to thank me for my support of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) in greater Minnesota. Particularly in underserved rural communities, I will continue to support CRNAs as they provide much needed anesthesia care.

Biotechnology Innovation Organization

Minnesotan representatives of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) visited my office this week to discuss innovative health, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. I look forward to hearing more about BIO’s research and development across these industries.

Shooting Sports Industry Representatives

This week, I met with representatives from the shooting sports industry including Tom Schabel, CEO of Alexandria Industries, and Marty Daniel, CEO of Daniel Defense to discuss the state of the industry and my continued support of hunting and recreational shooting in western Minnesota. We discussed numerous pieces of legislation coming up this Congress and my efforts to ensure U.S. manufacturers remain competitive. 

Minnesota Pork Producers

The Minnesota Pork producers did their annual fly in this week. I had the opportunity to hear directly from producers in the district. Some of the key issues that were discussed were the FMD vaccine bank request for the farm bill, GIPSA concerns, approval of the new Secretary of Agriculture, and the importance of trade to the pork industry.

Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council

Image result for minnesotabuildingtrades logo

This week, I addressed fellow members of the bi-partisan Building Trades Caucus at the Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council Congressional Delegation Breakfast. As a member of the Caucus, I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to promote policy that advances our infrastructure and supports American workers. The American Society of Civil Engineers has given our infrastructure a failing grade. Rebuilding our roads, bridges, and other infrastructure would promote economic development and put thousands of Minnesotans to work.  

Midwest Dairy Coalition

On Monday evening, I joined a group of 10 members from the Midwest Dairy Coalition for dinner to talk about improving the Margin Protection Program and the Livestock Gross Margin Program. I am committed to doing everything possible to make improvements to the program and bring increased support for our dairy farmers.

Aurora Organic Dairy

This week I met with Scott McGinty, the President of Aurora Organic Dairy, to discuss planned expansion and potential farm bill requests. Aurora Organic Dairy is the nation’s largest privately owned organic milk producer in the country which produces USDA-certified organic milk for grocery retailers across the nation.

KNIS Radio – Ox in the Afternoon Interview

Every year the Ox in the Afternoon show out of St. Cloud comes to Washington to speak with legislators about current projects. On Tuesday I joined Congressman Emmer, who represents the other half of Stearns County, to speak about the status of the Farm Bill and my continued thoughts healthcare. Participating in this radio show is always a great opportunity to share current events in D.C. with the people of Stearns County. You can listen to my interview online here:

Rural Broadband – Fixed Wireless Broadband

I met with the CEO of InvisiMax, Dave Giles (WARREN), on Wednesday to discuss fixed wireless broadband. Current regulations hamper their industry's ability to bring reliable, affordable broadband to more Americans to strengthen rural communities.

Minnesota Trucking Association

Members of the Minnesota Trucking Association visited my office this week to advocate on behalf of the state’s motor carriers. As a vital source of jobs and a means of transporting essential goods, the trucking industry is crucial to the success of rural economies. I look forward to working with the Association as they pursue policies benefiting trucker safety, workforce, and service in communities across the 7th District.

National Grain and Feed Association

My staff aides Mike Stranz and Rebekah Solem sat down with members of the National Grain and Feed Association’s Committee Apprentice Program, including constituent Anna Lotts (WINDOM). This was the program’s first advocacy trip to Washington, and they discussed a number of priority issues, including agricultural trade, infrastructure funding, and the next farm bill.

Minnesota School Nutrition Association

Sharon Maus, MSNA Executive Director (Kimball), Mary Begalle, SunOpta (Chanhassen), Rachel Valesano, Owatonna ISD (Owatonna), Julie Powers (MSNA President (Stillwater), Wendy Knight, MSNA President Elect, Rosemount/Apple Valley Eagan ISD (Minnetonka), Ashtyn Hilger, Comida Vida (Mankato)

The Minnesota School Nutrition Association stopped by my office to visit with my staff aide Rebekah Solem. They discussed a number of priorities, including the need to oppose efforts to block grant school meal programs and the need for flexibility in order to maintain practical sodium levels. The School Nutrition Association is made up of 57,000 school nutrition professionals. SNA’s mission is advance the quality of school meal programs through education and advocacy.


Brian Foster, Julie Maschhoff, Dan Sprague

Representatives of The Maschhoffs stopped by my office on Tuesday to give an update on the pork industry. The Maschhoffs is one of the country’s largest family-owned pork production networks, partnering with hundreds of family farmers across the Midwest. They discussed issues important to the pork industry including a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and tax reform.

Minnesota Firefighters

Dave Yurczyk (Avon) and BJ Jungmann (Burnsville)

Firefighters keep our communities safe as rapid first-responders to 911 calls, educators on fire safety, and advocates for their departments. Minnesota has the second-highest percent of volunteer fire departments in the nation at 93%. However, turnover rate for volunteer fire fighters is high, so there is always a need for young men and women to volunteer.

Legislative Update

Agriculture Committee Update

It was another busy week for the Agriculture Committee as we continued our preparations for the next farm bill. On Tuesday morning the General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee held part two of its review on commodity policy. Representatives from cotton, rice, peanuts, canola and sugar testified before the Committee. Rob Ryunning from Kennedy testified on behalf of the National Sunflower Association.

On Tuesday afternoon the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit met to review farm bill credit programs. Credit is necessary not only for farmers to stay in business, but for agriculture businesses and rural communities to remain vital. Unfortunately, the impact of stress on farm balance sheets is starting to hit home in Minnesota and other areas of the country.

And on Wednesday morning the full Committee held a hearing, “Agriculture and Tax Reform: Opportunities for Rural America.” Beyond the farm bill, there are other aspects of federal policy that Congress may act on that will have an impact on what producers do out there on the land. Tax policy is one of those issues.


Healthcare Town Hall

On Monday, I will host a town hall meeting focused on healthcare in the 7th District:

WHEN:     Monday, April 10 @7 p.m.

WHERE:   Horizon Middle School

                   3601 12th Ave. South

                   Moorhead, MN 56560

FEMA Region Spring Flood Risk Advisory

The spring season brings a heightened flood risk throughout our area in the coming months. FEMA recommends taking these 5 steps to help ensure that you’re protected against the costly damage floodwaters can cause.

1.      Ensure you’re flood insured.

2.      Conduct a household inventory.

3.      Protect important financial documents.

4.      Build an emergency supply kit.

5.      Plan for evacuation.

Visit or call 1-800-427-2419 to learn how to prepare for floods, how to purchase flood insurance policy and the benefits of protecting your home or property investment against flooding.

National Social Security Month

April is National Social Security month, and the Social Security Administration invites you to participate in a live chat on April 20 highlighting Social Security’s 5 Steps toward Your Financial Security. Follow Social Security and USA.Gov on Facebook to join; the livestream will start at 7:00 p.m. ET and will include questions your live questions.

This Week in American History

U.S.S. Minnesota 1909, the Great White Fleet voyage map

This Saturday in 1905 the U.S.S. Minnesota (BB-22) launched from Virginia on its inaugural voyage, joining 15 other battleships in President Theodore Roosevelt’s “Great White Fleet”. The fleet circumnavigated the world over the course of two years, before dismantling to serve in World War I. In 1917 the U.S.S. Minnesota would serve as a gunnery and engineering training ship in the mid-Atlantic, until it was severely damaged in an underwater mine explosion. Following five months of repairs, the Minnesota would return to sea in 1919 and complete three round-trip voyages, bringing home more than three thousand veterans. It would sail for the last time in 1924.

Spotted in the Seventh

Can YOU guess what was Spotted in the Seventh? Each week, the newsletter will feature a landmark or site somewhere in Western Minnesota. The first person to name the location wins! The location of the photo as well as the winner will be revealed in the next newsletter.

This “big” lake is only 3,067 acres, but serves as a great tourist destination near one of my District Offices…

Congratulations to Barbara Benson of Alexandria for being the first to correctly identify our last location as New York Mills Regional Cultural Center!

Share your guess on our website –

“Up Close and Personal”
Emilie Halbakken (MOORHEAD)