Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 5/20/2016

May 27, 2016

Spring Prairie Town Hall
Clay County

Dear Friends,

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed the House this week, correspondingly, the Agriculture Committee held hearings on veterans and agriculture, as well as on the impacts of environmental regulations and voluntary conservation solutions. Additionally, I met with a farmer from the Farm Journal Foundation’s Farm Team program and discussed labor issues with the American Land Title Association, the Minnesota Petroleum Marketers Association, and representatives of the Minnesota/Dakotas chapter of the Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Finally, in honor of National Police Week, I’d like to extend my sincerest thanks to all those who work every day to ‘protect and serve’. I will continue to do all I can to support our law enforcement officers.

Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Concordia College

This week I sat down with a group of students from Concordia College's Offutt School of Business, NDSU, and Moorhead State University (my alma mater) and their professor, Dr. Al Kagan. We discussed everything from the student’s tours to the current political climate on Capitol Hill. It is always nice to visit with students who take such interest in policy and the work we do here both in Washington, D.C. and back in the District. I wish the students the best of luck in their studies, and I hope the remainder of their trip to the Capitol is wonderful!

Minnesota Farm Team

I sat down with Karolyn Zurn, a farmer from Callaway, who was in Washington this week volunteering her time as part of the Farm Journal Foundation’s Farm Team program.  Karolyn serves as the Lead Farmer of the Minnesota Farm Team and met with me to talk about global hunger and agricultural development.  In particular, we talked about the Global Food Security Act, which the House passed – and I supported – last month.

Minnesota/Dakotas Chapter of the Employee Stock Ownership Plan

Stephen Eide, Sheila Gibbs (MOORHEAD), and Matt Ragel

On Thursday, I was able to meet with employees of ESOP, which stands for employee stock ownership plan. ESOP is a retirement plan in which the company contributes its stock to the plan for the benefit of the company's employees. They were in town to discuss the prospect of tax reform and labor issues with the Minnesota congressional delegation.

American Land Title Association

Scott Tahtinen, Sue Basiago, Nick Hacker

On Wednesday, I met with members of the American Land Title Association to discuss regulations that are in the works from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The group discussed their concerns with some CFPB proposals that make the title insurance process overly complicated. Because of the regulation, consumers in over half of the United States receive confusing information about their title insurance costs on the new mortgage disclosures.

International Brotherhood of Boilermakers

Bill Polchow, Matt Olsen and Brian Johnson

Members of the Local 647 of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers came by to discuss EPA regulations and a handful of bills addressing EPA regulations and streamlining permitting on energy projects. Since the Supreme Court has put a halt to the EPA's Clean Power Plan initiative, I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to prevent the EPA from moving forward with rules that will harm the economy.

Lung Cancer Alliance

Minnesotan representatives of the Lung Cancer Alliance visited my office this week to advocate for federal support in their fight to empower those who suffer from the disease. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women both nationally and in Minnesota, and I will continue to support measures that enhance lung cancer research and treatment services.

Minnesota Petroleum Marketers Association

This week Donnie Olson (FERGUS FALLS) and Vernon Kelley with the Minnesota Petroleum Marketers Association visited my office to give an update on a number of regulatory issues facing their businesses, from Department of Labor overtime rules to new menu labeling requirements. They also discussed Minnesota’s leading role in using ethanol and biodiesel and decisions petroleum marketers make to stay in compliance with environmental regulations while offering customers additional choices at the pump.

Workforce Solutions Summit

Last week the West Central Initiative hosted a Workforce Solutions Summit in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.  My staff aide Toni Merdan attended and helped plan the event. The peer-to-peer environment provided businesses with the chance to learn from and connect with each other on real world workforce solutions. 

Pictured above is the keynote speaker, Gardner Carrick, the Vice President of the National Association of Manufacturers who spoke about what manufacturers are doing to address skills gaps, attract more youth, and improve education and training 

Meeker Cooperative

On Tuesday, my staff aide Bob Ness attended a co-op Solar demonstration project by Meeker Cooperative. Patrons of the coop can buy or lease a panel to utilize the solar power on their own. This project is a great example of a local initiative that expands renewable energy options and helps diversify our electric system.

Southwest MN Economic Developers Network

Jay Trusty, the executive director of the Southwest Regional Development Commission in Slayton

My staff aide Toni Merdan attended the Southwest Minnesota Economic Developers meeting in Granite Falls this week, which was hosted by the Southwest Initiative Foundation. Some of the topics presented included comprehensive regional development and marketing plans, programs offered for community and economic development, housing, and child care. 

Legislative Update

Agriculture Committee

The Agriculture Committee met Wednesday for a hearing on veterans and agriculture. “Service in the Field: Veteran Contributions to National Food Security,” was an opportunity to learn more about veteran farmer needs. I’ve heard from folks all across the country who want to start a career in agriculture. But if they didn’t grow up on a farm, or have some other connection to farming, it’s nearly impossible for them to get started. We’ve tried to address some of these barriers to entry in recent farm bills by including provisions that will help recruit and support the next generation of farmers, including veteran farmers. There are also organizations like the National AgrAbility Project and the Farmer Veteran Coalition that are doing an excellent job providing support and resources to returning service members who are interested in farming.

The Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry held a hearing Tuesday, “Focus on the Farm Economy: Impacts of Environmental Regulations and Voluntary Conservation Solutions.” Government regulations are one of the biggest challenges facing farmers and ranchers today. We have unelected bureaucrats creating confusion and telling producers how to do their jobs, and I just think that’s wrong. We’ve seen time and time again that when it comes to conservation efforts, farmers and ranchers know what they are doing. I’ve long supported voluntary conservation efforts such as drainage management using tile and structures to increase yields and improve soil health.


National Police Week

In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.

The Memorial Service began in 1982 as a gathering in Senate Park of approximately 120 survivors and supporters of law enforcement. Decades later, National Police Week has grown to a series of events which attracts tens of thousands of survivors and law enforcement officers to our Nation's Capital each year.

Discovering the 7th

Norwegian Heritage Week

The Sons of Norway Snorre Lodge #70 in Thief River Falls will be hosting their 5th Annual Norwegian Heritage Week, May 16-21. Each year, the Snorre Lodge members, with assistance from the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council and the Arts and Culture Heritage Fund, put on a weeklong celebration the week of May 17, (which is Syttende Mai, Norway’s Constitution Day) to honor Thief River Falls strong Norwegian heritage. Thief River Falls has been recognized as the “Most Norwegian City in America,” (compared to cities with a population of over 5,000) as nearly 50% of its residents are of Norwegian ancestry. In fact, Minnesota as a whole has the greatest concentration of Scandinavians outside of Scandinavia itself, with 1/3 of the population claiming Scandinavian heritage.

This Week in American History

Brown v. Board of Ed is decided

In a major civil rights victory on May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, ruling that racial segregation in public educational facilities is unconstitutional. The historic decision, which brought an end to federal tolerance of racial segregation, specifically dealt with Linda Brown, a young African American girl who had been denied admission to her local elementary school in Topeka, Kansas, because of the color of her skin. The Brown v. Board of Education decision served to greatly motivate the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and ultimately led to the abolishment of racial segregation in all public facilities and accommodations.

Dalton Struxness (CLARA CITY)