Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 5/13/2016

May 13, 2016 Issues: Health, Tax Reform

Dear Friends,

This week I continued my work on health care issues, welcoming Lakewood Health, the Minnesota Eye Bank, the Emergency Nurses Association, and the ALS Association to my office in Washington, and attending the Healthcare Innovations Expo where I received the “Champion of Healthcare Innovation” award. Additionally, I was pleased to see the House pass several pieces of legislation designed to help combat the growing opioid epidemic in the United States. Opioid addiction continues to be an urgent threat to public health throughout the country and I support legislation that combats this crisis. Finally, I participated in Senator Franken’s Annual Hotdish Off as well as the Annual Congressional Shoot-Out competition. I always appreciate an opportunity to put partisanship and politics aside to participate in events like these.

Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Close Up

I sat down with students from Parkers Prairie who were in Washington participating in the Close Up Foundation High School Program.  This group was very engaged and asked a lot of great questions about a broad range of issues, including health care, hunting, and foreign policy.  I told them how my experience with organizing a Jaycees club in Parkers Prairie eventually led to my involvement in government.  It is always good to visit with students from the 7th District, and I wish them continued success in their studies!

United Egg Producers

On Tuesday evening, I met with representatives from the United Egg Producers who were in Washington for their annual fly-in. Producers from Minnesota, Iowa and North Dakota were in town to discuss USDA’s response to avian influenza, the cage free egg movement and GMOs. I appreciate hearing from local growers and will continue to make sure their voice is heard on Capitol Hill.  

Western Growers Association

On Wednesday, I met with the Western Growers Association to discuss the Endangered Species Act, outlook for the next farm bill and the presidential race. Western Growers represents producers who grow, pack and ship almost 50 percent of our nation's produce.  

Good Samaritan Society

Bergen Peterson (EVP/CAO) and Dan Holdhusen (Director, Government Relations)

This week I met with representatives from the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, the largest non-profit provider of senior care and services in America, to learn more about the services in the district. With 14 facilities operating in western Minnesota, rural broadband is critical to the Society’s telehealth programs. I will continue to do all that I can to improve broadband in rural areas, and I look forward to the Society’s continued success in providing community health and skilled care services to the Seventh.

Motorcycle Riders Foundation

I met with motorcyclists from around the state this week during their visit to Washington on behalf of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. We discussed provisions of the FAST Act designed to allow for increased biker input in infrastructure development and legislation that allows motorcycle owners to continue to modify their bikes for racing. Motorcycles are an important part of transportation and recreation in western Minnesota that I will continue to support.

Minnesota Realtors Association

This week I met with members of the Minnesota Association of Realtors to discuss issues facing housing markets in rural Minnesota. We discussed everything from proposed tax reform to continued Dodd-Frank financial reforms. I enjoy working with Minnesota's realtors to make sure we have a robust housing market. I will continue to do what I can to ensure the availability of financing and favorable tax treatment for Minnesota families.

Champion of Healthcare Innovation

Mary R. Grealy (HLC President), Melissa Schooley (Medtronic)

The Healthcare Leadership Council once again recognized me as a “Champion of Healthcare Innovation” this week at an award ceremony in Washington. The presentation was part of the Council’s annual Healthcare Innovations Expo, which showcases new developments in healthcare technologies, treatments, and practices. It is an honor to receive this award from some of the nation’s premier healthcare companies and organizations.

ALS Association

Members of the Minnesota-Dakota chapter of the ALS Association met with my staff this week to detail their research efforts, care services, and educational outreach to help empower individuals and families impacted by the disease. Complex rehab technologies such as power wheelchairs are critical to meeting the needs of those suffering from ALS. I recently co-sponsored legislation to help keep these technologies accessible and affordable.

Lakewood Health System

Leadership from the Lakewood Health System (LHS) visited Washington this week to discuss patient-centered community health initiatives in rural Minnesota. LHS is an independent health care system comprised of a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital and several primary care clinics in the Staples area. LHS recently launched a telehealth program using Virtual Doctor, allowing patients in the Seventh increased access to medical services at a lower cost. I look forward to working with LHS as they continue to develop telehealth technologies that benefit rural communities.

Legislative Update

MSP-Tokyo Air Service

This week, I joined the Minnesota Delegation in sending a letter in support of Delta Air Lines’ application for direct service between the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Access to growing Asian markets is particularly important to Minnesota businesses, including the 17 Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the state. If approved, Delta’s application will directly connect more than 100 Midwestern communities to these markets and strengthen MSP as an international hub.

Combating Opioid Abuse

The House passed several pieces of legislation this week designed to help combat the growing opioid epidemic in the United States. The bills, which passed with broad bipartisan support, strengthen treatment programs, educational initiatives, and law enforcement efforts to treat substance addiction and abuse. Now estimated to cause more deaths per year than car accidents, opioid abuse is an issue that required the immediate attention of Congress. I will continue to support legislation to address opioid abuse.

Agriculture Committee

The Agriculture Committee held a full Committee hearing Thursday, continuing the Committee’s review of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). “The Past, Present and Future of SNAP: The Retailer Perspective” was an opportunity for members to hear from retailers about the important role they play in the food chain. Many consumers might not live near a grocery store, instead relying on small format retailers to meet their grocery needs. A proposed rule from USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service would modify SNAP retailer eligibility requirements and potentially jeopardize smaller retailers’ ability to participate in SNAP. This could mean reduced food access for many consumers. I am hopeful this issue can be addressed as the rulemaking process moves forward.


Sen. Franken’s 6th Annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition

Rockin’ Rabbit “Hop” Dish, this year’s Hotdish Competition judges

This Wednesday, on the 158th anniversary of Minnesota becoming a state, the Minnesota Congressional Delegation came together for U.S. Sen. Al Franken's sixth annual hotdish competition. Sen. Franken started the friendly "Hotdish Off" as a way to bring the delegation together and celebrate a Minnesota culinary tradition. You can download video B-roll from the event here. Participant’s recipes can be found here. You can find photos of the competition here.

After a blind taste test of all 10 Minnesota Congressional member’s hotdishes, Rep. Tim Walz’s “Turkey Taco Tot Hotdish” was named the winner of the 2016 Hotdish Off. The judges included:

  • Award-winning Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema, a native Minnesotan who dons a disguise to maintain his anonymity for when he visits restaurants;
  • Dorothy Sietsema, Tom’s mother, and a Minnesota culinary authority in her own right, who happened to be visiting from Worthington, Minnesota; and
  • Ryan Jensen, the Founder and Owner of popular DC coffee shops, Peregrine Espresso, and native of Fergus Falls, MN.

This year, I submitted “Collin’s Rockin’ Rabbit “Hop” Dish,” which is pictured above. This event is counter to so many in Washington in these days. It’s an opportunity to put partisanship and politics aside and support the state of Minnesota. I always enjoy meeting with my colleagues and friends over a plate of Minnesota hotdish and congratulate Rep. Walz on his victory.

Annual Sportsmen's Caucus Members Shoot-Out

I competed again in the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus annual shootout this week. The yearly event is a great opportunity for bipartisan comradery over skeet, trap, and sporting clays. The Minnesota delegation did very well this year, with Rep. John Kline finishing as the Top Skeet shooter, Rep. Walz as the Top Gun Democrat, and myself as the Top Trap shooter. I look forward to the event every year, and it is a great opportunity to discuss the state of the outdoors industry in America.

Discovering the 7th

Terrace Mill, Heritage Cottage, Keystone Arch Bridge

Situated along the Glacial Ridge Trail in the Chippewa River Valley, the Terrace Mill Foundation offers a historic experience featuring a vintage 1903 flour mill, the Keystone Arch Bridge, Weir Dam, Mill Pond, and the Heritage Cottage. Several festivals are held throughout the year to educate the public about water-powered flour milling, with weekly tours available to visitors.

This Week in American History

President Buchanan, 1860

Minnesota was admitted to the Union on May 11, 1858. With the passage of the enabling act for statehood two years prior, Minnesota had a complete and ratified state constitution by the time of Congressional approval. Despite becoming entangled in the controversial Kansas statehood debate, President Buchanan ultimately authorized Minnesota’s application as the 32nd state. Word of incorporation finally reached Minnesota on May 13.

Visitors from the District

Logan, Matt, and Sue Blumhoefer (WILLMAR)

Charles and Marie Holland (MARSHALL)

Kelly and Mickie Bosch (HAWLEY)