Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 5/2/2014

(Photo courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol)
Capitol Dome undergoing restoration

Dear Friends,

This week Congress returned to Washington and the Agriculture Committee got right to work with a Subcommittee hearing on pollinators. I visited with bankers, optometrists, engineers, businessmen, and conservationists. A Moorhead-native High School student competed in a national poetry contest in Washington, D.C., and Minnesota Fire Chiefs stopped by to talk about issues facing fire stations across our state.



Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Agriculture Committee

The Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture held a public hearing on Tuesday, April 29 to review current research and application of management strategies to control pests and diseases of pollinators.  Members heard from a lead researcher at the United States Department of Agriculture, as well as a tree nut producer, the executive director of a state nursery association, and an environmental toxicologist.

Honeybee decline is a big concern to agriculture as honeybees pollinate more than 90 different food, fiber, and seed crops in the United States.  The value of honeybees as pollinators is estimated at $16 billion annually.  Growing consumer demand for fresh fruits and vegetables has expanded producer markets, and healthy pollinators play an essential role in continuing this market growth. Failing to adequately address honeybee decline could collapse some portions of the specialty crop market and increase consumer prices.

It is important to note that the 2014 Farm Bill included several provisions to address the decline in pollinator health.

MN Optometric Association

President Dr. Larry Morrison (DETROIT LAKES), Carrie Christopherson, and Dr. Sam Villella

Dr. Larry Morrison, Board President of the MN Optometric Association, operates Morrison Eye Care in Detroit Lakes. We discussed the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate and other issues concerning optometric care facilities across Minnesota.

MN Firefighters

Fire Chiefs Kevin Schroeder (Cloquet), Nyle Zikmund (SBM), Wayne Kewitsch (Richfield), Marc Klaith (MARSHALL), Bill Mund (St. Cloud), and a former MN State Fire Marshal Tom Brace (St. Paul)

This week I met with Fire Chiefs from Minnesota to discuss station preparedness and training. Many firefighters across the country work on a volunteer basis and have other jobs, so they are remarkable public servants. I commend these individuals for their hard work under tight budgets.

American Council of Engineering

Jason Hoskins (Twin Cities), Jon Carlson (Twin Cities), Avo and Katie Toghramadjian, Kristine Cassidy, Larry Van Hout (ALEXANDRIA), Kevin Donna (Baxter), David Oxley, Matthew Ruble (Twin Cities)

On Tuesday I met with engineering companies in Minnesota to talk about policy concerns impacting their industry. We discussed the importance of tax reform, WRDA, and long-term solutions for our nation's infrastructure needs.

Poetry Out Loud

Julia Johnson (MOORHEAD) and her English teacher Brian Geffre

Moorhead-native Julia Johnson is the North Dakota Champion for the annual Poetry Out Loud Contest. The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation partnered up to select one winner from each state to compete nationally. Julia attends Shanley High School in Fargo and her English teacher, Brian Geffre, was able to make the trip with Julia to D.C. Each competitor is expected to memorize several poems and be able to present them in front of large audiences without notes.


CEO Scott Wine

On Wednesday I met with CEO of Polaris Scott Wine to discuss their ongoing projects, the status of their operations in Roseau, and employment issues across the 7th District. Polaris has been a great partner in rural Minnesota by continually investing in communities. In northern Minnesota, Polaris is widely known for their snowmobiles, and they also produce everything from ATV and motorcycles to groundbreaking vehicles for defense purposes.

National Ass’n of Conservation Districts

President-Elect of NACD Lee McDaniel, CEO John Larson, and Mike Hirst (BAUDETTE)

It was an honor to be presented with the Conservation Leadership Award by several members of the National Association of Conservation Districts. Protecting our natural resources and maintaining healthy soil are crucial for farmers to be able to feed a rapidly growing global population.

General Mills

CEO Ken Powell

On Wednesday afternoon CEO of General Mills Ken Powell stopped by to discuss food labeling legislation in the 113th Congress.

MN Beer Wholesalers

Beer distributors in Minnesota employ over 2,250 people, generate $234 million in federal, state, and local taxes, and have a $1 billion economic impact in our state. They play an important part in the Minnesota economy and I had the chance to meet with representatives of MN Beer Wholesalers on Tuesday.

MN Independent Community Bankers

I sat down with the Independent Community Bankers of Minnesota. Community banks are essential in smaller communities, and we discussed the state of banking and current regulations impacting their work.

Land O’ Lakes

Land O’Lakes Board of directors came to town to talk about the passage of the Farm Bill and issues affecting the dairy industry. Representatives from Land O’Lakes included President and CEO Chris Policinski, Chairman of the Board Pete Kappelman, Daryn McBeth, and Stan Stark.  

Hearing on Air Service to Rural Communities

The Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation met on Wednesday to address the issue of air service in rural communities. Rural communities have faced increased pressure in retaining air service following the deregulation of commercial air service in 1978. The Essential Air Service and Small Community Air Service Development Program were both created to help these communities maintain air service. Maintaining these programs is critical for the people and businesses who rely on it in cities like Thief River Falls.

Great Lakes Aviation

Following the T&I Subcommittee on Aviation, I met with Doug Voss, President and Chairman of Great Lakes Aviation. We discussed our concerns about continuing air service to Thief River Falls airport. Airports like the one in Thief River Falls play a vital role in their communities not only for consumers but also the surrounding community and local businesses. I am working with my fellow legislators, members in the industry, and federal regulators to see what can be done to return air service back to communities like Thief River Falls.

Dilworth City Administrator Retires
Congratulations to Dilworth City Administrator Ken Parke on his retirement after 34 years of service to the city of Dilworth. In his decades of service, Dilworth has grown and prospered, and Ken is leaving the city in great shape for the future. Thanks Ken!

Visitors from the 7th

Mike and Louise Guetter (DETROIT LAKES), Mary Ann O’Hara (Annapolis, MD), Maureen O’Hara (Olney, MD), Eileen O’Hara (California, MD), Janene and Dennis Lang (PERHAM), Mary and Jim Lang (Little Falls), Larry and Lisa Van House (ALEXANDRIA)

This Week in American History

On April 28th, 1849, James M. Goodhue published the first issue of the Minnesota Pioneer, the Minnesota territory’s first newspaper. In the first issue, Goodhue boasts that Minnesota is “as fertile as the banks of the Nile” and has a “fresh, bracing climate.” The Pioneer and another newspaper, Saint Paul Dispatch, was acquired by Ridder Publications in 1927. Ridder would later merge with Knight Publications, and in 1990 a morning-only paper known as the Star Tribune would become one of Minnesota’s premier newspapers.

Mary Tychsen (FRAZEE-VERGAS)
2013 Congressional Art Competition