Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 5/18/2018

Dear Friends,

This week the House of Representatives considered the farm bill, and a number of amendments. I worked to defeat an amendment that would have devastated the domestic sugar industry and the thousands of jobs it supports in Minnesota. I led the Democratic whip effort and was able to deliver 146 NO votes to help bring it down. I also fought against an amendment that would have made cuts to crop insurance as well as dairy and commodity safety net programs. These programs provide a critical backstop to protect against market swings and unpredictable weather which can wipe away a year of hard work in a blink of the eye. I was glad to soundly defeat these amendments because they are bad for agriculture and they make it harder to get a farm bill signed into law in the future. But at the end of the day, the bill the House considered today fails to support the farmers and rural communities which are struggling with low commodity prices. House leadership has called for a re-vote on the bill, so I plan to spend this weekend in Washington, D.C. to see if anything can be worked out. I continue to be ready work to put together a strong bill that farmers, ranchers and rural communities deserve.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Governor’s Fishing Opener

(Bottom)Governor Mark Dayton // My guide for the day, John Patock

I enjoyed fishing on Green Lake last weekend as Governor Mark Dayton hosted the 2018 Governor’s Fishing Opener. The Willmar Lakes Area offers a range of recreational opportunities, making it a great spot to enjoy the outdoors. Governor Dayton, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and I spoke about the importance of fishing to the Minnesotan lifestyle before we met our fishing guides and went out on the water.

CNH Industrial

I met with a delegation of CNH Industrial plant managers who were in Washington for the company's 12th Annual Plant Managers Fly-In for the North American Plant Managers. We discussed issues of importance to CNH Industrial, such as crop insurance, NAFTA and other trade issues, and the farm bill. CNH Industrial has a Case IH manufacturing plant in Benson that makes agricultural equipment such as cotton pickers and floaters, employing more than 300 people at the location.

Minnesota Realtors

This week, I met with members of the Minnesota Realtors to discuss issues facing housing markets like tax reform and regulatory relief. I enjoy working with these folks each year to ensure availability of credit and promote sensible regulations so the housing supply in western Minnesota can continue to grow.

Saint Cloud Area Planning Organization

Joe Perske (Stearns County Commissioner), Councilman Jeff Goerger

Representatives of the Saint Cloud Area Planning Organization visited my office this week to share their efforts to improve the region’s infrastructure and broadband services. In particular, we discussed the importance of dependable and affordable air service between Saint Cloud and the Twin Cities.

Motorcycle Riders Foundation

This week, Minnesotans from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) presented me with a legislative award for my efforts to increase biker input in infrastructure development and promote motorcycle safety. Motorcycles are an important part of transportation and recreation in western Minnesota that I will continue to support in the future.

Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership and Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation

This Wednesday, representatives from the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership and the Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation visited my staff to discuss housing, business, and community development. The economic success of our rural communities is dependent on available and affordable housing. As our local businesses grow, it is increasingly important to have enough housing to sustain a rising population. I am proud to support rural housing infrastructure that helps greater Minnesota succeed.

Promotional Products Association International

This week, my staff aide Richard Lee met with Scott Hareid of Hareid Marketing and Ruth Ann Pederson of Yours Truly Marketing Incentives to discuss the state of promotional products and marketing. With a top to bottom supply chain, many American jobs are created through the production of promotional materials, be it in the production, distribution, or printing industries. I appreciate the work these individuals do to bring jobs to greater Minnesota and I will continue working towards a robust economy that enables them to succeed in their respective sectors.

Agricultural Students in Washington

Students with Concordia University visited my office to learn about the legislative process as it relates to the farm bill. As students of agriculture-related fields, they were interested to learn about the challenges that can come up while drafting farm legislation. My office answered questions about the history of the farm bill, the procedure each farm bill renewal goes through, and the status of the 2018 Farm Bill. Their timing could not have been better, as the House began its debate of the Farm Bill while they were in Washington.

Cojo Dairy

On Wednesday, my staff aide Jacki Anderson volunteered as a chaperone to 5th graders visiting CoJo Dairy in Grove City. For some it was a first-time experience on a working farm. I’m happy to see area schools and farms partnering to make these experiences happen. I will continue to work at the federal level to support an agricultural economy that provides opportunities for success both now and for our future generations.

Research Day 2018

Meg Louwagie of my staff attended Research Day 2018 at the Minneapolis VA Health Care Center. Researchers provided updates on the Gulf War Illness Inflammation Reduction Trial and their plans to begin studying the epidemic of deployment-related chronic multi-symptom illness in post-9/11 veterans. This study still needs volunteer Gulf War veterans to participate. If you are interested in participating please contact:

Ronald R. Bach, Ph.D.
Chair, Research and Development Committee
Minneapolis VA Health Care System
Research Service (151)
One Veterans Drive
Minneapolis, MN 55417

Sioux Falls VA Dedicates New Expansion

The Sioux Falls VA Hospital dedicated the Royal C. Johnson Veterans Memorial Medical Center this week with a new Oncology and Primary Care wing, concluding with the dedication of the Missing Man Table Memorial.

Syttende Mai

In our part of the United States, we have one of the highest concentration of immigrants from Norway. Many cities in the seventh district celebrate the creation of the Norwegian Constitution that established the separation of Norway from Sweden in 1814. This is called Syttende Mai, the 17th of May. The Northern State bank in Thief River Falls has celebrated this day for 40 years.

May 12 – May 20 is Norwegian Heritage Week in Thief River Falls. Several Norwegian-themed events will take place during this cultural celebration. Click here to see the full list of events.


Federal Broadband Funding

This week, I co-led a bipartisan letter urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt long-term budget solutions for the Universal Service Fund (USF). The letter, signed by 130 Members of Congress, argues that budget shortfalls in the USF continue to prevent millions of Americans from accessing dependable voice and internet services. Whenever possible, we need to invest in connecting rural communities to each other and the world.

Thailand Pork Exports

Last week, I partnered with Reps. Ron Kind and David Young to send a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand urging them to loosen the unfair trade restrictions they have placed onto U.S. goods. In a recent report by the U.S. Trade Representative, Thailand was seen to have implemented strict tariffs on U.S. agricultural products. Thailand’s exports to the United States, however, often face low or zero tariffs. As representatives of districts in states with high levels of pork production, we joined together to ask Thailand to remove its restrictions on imports of U.S. farm products, including its ban on imports of U.S. pork.

This Week in American History

Charles Holman after winning the 1927 Air Derby in Spokane, Washington

On May 18, 1931, Minneapolis-born aviator Charles "Speed" Holman was killed during an air show in Omaha. A pioneer of aviation, he won the U.S. air speed trials in 1930 and was best-known for his aerial stunt looping. At his funeral, four 109th Air Squadron planes flew in the first recorded “Missing Man” formation, a vacant spot reserved in Holman's memory. Holman Field at the St. Paul Downtown Airport is named in his honor.

What’s the Story?

Comic by Trygue Olson, 2013

The comic shown above was run in the Forum during the debate over the 2014 Farm Bill. Strong coalitions are needed to pass agricultural legislation in the United States Congress. When coalitions are unorganized or fractured by ideological fights, legislation fails. It is vital for members of Congress to find common ground in everything we do so that we are able to get things done and best serve the interests of the American people. This comic is framed in my Washington, D.C. office.

Soravit Auchotananan