Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 5/11/2018

Willmar Lakes Area – Kandiyohi County

Dear Friends,

It was a pleasure to meet with leaders of Minnesota-based organizations in Washington this week. The CEO of Hormel Foods sat down with me to discuss issues affecting food producers, such as trade, the farm bill and regulations. On Thursday, the Minnesota Association of Townships stressed to me the role infrastructure and broadband development plays in keeping rural economies competitive. Minnesota’s fishing opener is today, so be sure to get your fishing license if you plan to head out on the water. Finally, congratulations to Bagley’s Jenika Moen for winning the 2018 Congressional Art Competition.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

2018 Congressional Art Competition Winners

I am happy to announce Bagley student Jenika Moen as the winner of the 2018 Congressional Art Competition, for her acrylic painting entitled, “Prince”.

Her artwork was selected from dozens of submissions from students throughout Minnesota’s Seventh District, and will be featured in the U.S. Capitol building for one year as part of a display encompassing select pieces from all 435 Congressional Districts. There were many impressive pieces submitted for this year’s Competition and I am proud of the work put into them. I would like to thank every high school artist who participated. Jenika has an opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. along with Competition winners from across the country.

An art piece by competition runner-up, Jade Bedel of Clara City (“Bluest of Waters”) will be displayed in my District office. Be sure to look out for additional submissions from this year’s competition at the end of each newsletter!

Overall Winner

Prince, Acrylic Painting
Jenika Moen – Bagley, MN

Runner Up

Bluest of Waters, Acrylic Painting
Jade Bedel – Clara City, MN


I met with Jim Snee, the new CEO for Hormel Foods, and Jeff Grev, their Vice President of legislative affairs, last Tuesday. We discussed the status of the farm bill, swine inspection, trade, employment, biotech ingredient disclosure, and the Minnesota Fishing Opener. I congratulate Jim on his new role and look forward to working with him on issues in the future.

Minnesota Association of Townships

Members of the Minnesota Association of Townships visited Washington this week to advocate for rural infrastructure and broadband development. The group also shared their priorities for the Farm Bill and discussed legislation to help Minnesota’s first responders. I appreciate the Association’s efforts to strengthen greater Minnesota’s local government.

Minnesota Hospital Association

I met with representatives of the Minnesota Hospital Association this week to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing rural health systems. In particular, we agree that the 340b Drug Pricing Program must be protected and that Congress must work to remove barriers to telehealth services.

Minnesota School Employees Association

Hank Wessel (Alexandria)

This week, Hank Wessel visited Washington to receive the Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) Award from the National Coalition of Classified Education Support Employee Unions. This award recognizes five outstanding school employees from across the country who promote quality education and contribute to a positive learning environment. Hank was joined by members of the Minnesota School Employees Association, who thanked me for my support of legislation to establish similar award programs at the federal level.

Council on American-Islamic Relations

Staff Aide Zach Martin, Amir Malik, Jaylani Hussein, and Staff Aide Richard B. Lee

Religious freedom and cultural diversity are concepts embraced by Minnesotans, so I was glad to sit down with two representatives of CAIR-MN. The organization works to bring understanding about the Islamic faith to urban and rural communities that Muslim-American citizens are living in.

Twin Metals

Anne Williamson, Kevin Baker, CEO Robert Nicholls, Bob McFarlin, and Daniel Altikes

Northeast Minnesota is home to a rich supply of critical minerals that our country uses in cell phones, cars, and computers. Representatives from Twin Metals provided me an update on their proposed mineral operation in the Iron Range. The federal government and Minnesota have some of the strictest environmental regulations in the world, and Twin Metals is seeking to go through those review processes.

Brunswick Corporation

Dave Marlow

The aluminum and steel tariff proposals could have devastating downstream effects on marine manufacturing companies in my district such as Brunswick. I met with Dave Marlow to talk about tariffs and workforce development issues. Brunswick employs 615 people in New York Mills, so I wrote a letter to the Administration urging trade officials to incorporate downstream effects such as retaliatory duties from other countries before finalizing these tariffs.

Small Business Association Awards

Emanuel, Sergio and Heather Espinoza

I would like to recognize the Minnesota Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year Sergio Espinoza, E & H Piping, LLC in Hanley Falls. Congratulations Sergio! Small businesses are so important to our rural economy and I’m pleased to see their hard work recognized each year by the SBA Awards.

Crossing the Canadian Border

Last year, I worked hard to convince the U.S. Customs to do a pilot project for border crossings in the Northwest Angle. Now it is working so well that the U.S. Customs is using it in New York, Florida, and Seattle. The process is to download the "CBP Roam" application from the Apple or Google Store. You then can use your smart phone, tablet, or computer at a local resort to check in with U.S. Customs rather than going through a Port of Entry. Residents of the area firmly believe this will be much safer than traveling over the ice or water to report to U.S. Customs in person.

Lake of the Woods Resort Stakeholder Meeting

The 2018 Lake of the Woods Resort Stakeholder meeting was held at the Rainy River Resort. These annual meetings gather resort owners, guides, and other interested people together to hear from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Division of Fisheries on the health of Lake of the Woods fishing. They also hear presentations from DNR Enforcement, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Coast Guard, Border Patrol, U.S. Customs, and Sheriff’s Offices.

The fishing on the Lake of the Woods is healthy, even with increasing fishing pressure. The DNR said before 2002, the angling hours were always under one million. Now, it has reached over two million hours. The challenge for the DNR is to monitor this fishing pressure with Ontario to be sure fishing at Lake of the Woods stays strong for the future.

Dayton Task Force on Housing

Many cities in my congressional district are working hard to attract more people to live in their communities, but the housing shortage continues to be a major barrier to population growth. Governor Dayton established a Task Force to secure Minnesota’s housing future, and a member of my staff attended one of their recent meetings. The goal of the Housing Task Force is to support what is working, gain a broader understanding of what success looks like, identify gaps in the system, and develop solutions. Mary Tingerthal, the Commissioner of Housing Finance Agency, brought a diverse group of housing experts together in Crookston to discuss different housing options. 


National Teacher Day / Teacher Appreciation Week

In honor of National Teacher Day and Teacher Appreciation Week, I agreed to be an original co-sponsor of a resolution supporting an increase in teacher pay and funding for public education. This week is our opportunity to remind teachers how important their work is to the vitality of our communities.

Addiction Resource Center (ARC)

The Addiction Policy Forum launched their Addiction Resource Center line in Minnesota this week. The ARC line was created to offer resources to those struggling with substance abuse or to the loved ones of those with substance abuse issues. By calling the resource line, individuals will receive confidential support, information about nearby treatment or recovery resources, and education about substance use and addiction.

Update – Waters of the U.S. Rule (WOTUS)

Unfortunately, the EPA is pushing back its timeline to narrow the government’s definition of the Waters of the U.S. yet again. Although Administrator Pruitt told me in May of 2017 that he was shooting to have the rule done by the end of that year, I’m disappointed to hear that a final version may not be finished until September 2019. The WOTUS rule has been a major issue for farmers and ranchers, and delays continue to bring more uncertainty to agriculture producers.

DTN / The Progressive Farmer

I had an opportunity to sit down with DTN/The Progressive Farmer’s Chris Clayton to discuss the farm bill. We talked about my frustration that Republicans have chosen to make a traditionally bipartisan process so one-sided. We talked about the missed opportunity for the farm bill to help farmers in Minnesota and across the country contend with the challenges in front of them on trade, the RFS and elsewhere. Chris and I talked about planting, and I told him that I hope it’s dry enough for me to get into the field this weekend.

This Week in American History

On May 10, 1823, the Virginia was the first steamboat to reach St. Anthony (now named Snelling), having made the 729-mile-trip from St. Louis in twenty days. Among the Virginia’s passengers was Italian adventurer Giacomo C. Beltrami, for whom Beltrami County would later be named.  

What’s the Story?

Displays like the two shown above are used to commemorate the passage of a bill into law. A copy of the first and last pages of the bill are presented along with a pen used by the president to sign the legislation. I proudly display these documents from the 2008 and 2014 Farm Bills in my Washington, D.C. office.

“Modern Prairie”
Charles James Biggs IV