Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 5/22/2015

Decoration (Memorial) Day Parade

Dear Friends,

As a nation, we must always remember to keep our promises to those who have served. Supporting our military, their families, and all veterans has been, and always will be, a personal and legislative priority of mine. Whether you're attending a ceremony or spending time reflecting on Memorial Day, keep in mind the families of those who have lost their loved ones so that they will always know they do not bear these burdens alone. In the simple and fitting words of Elmer Davis, WWII Director of the U.S. Office of War Information, "This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave."



Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Major Joshua Brown

More than 21 years ago, I nominated 7th District resident Joshua Brown to the United States Air Force Academy. On Wednesday, it was my honor to shake hands with now Major Joshua Brown and hear about the successful military career he has had with the U.S. Air Force. I am glad to have been able to help him get started with his career and thank him for his service to our country.

American Association of Crop Insurers

Howard Olsen (second from left, DETROIT LAKES) and fellow members and staff of the American Association of Crop Insurers (AACI) stopped by my office on Wednesday. We talked about implementation of the farm bill and the linkage of conservation compliance to crop insurance. Risk management tools, like those serviced by AACI members, are useful and important for all farmers and I will continue to work to make sure that crop insurance remains strong.

Financial Accounting Foundation

W. Daniel Ebersole (Trustee), Daryl E. Buck (Financial Accounting Standards Board), Myra R. Drucker (Trustee), Todd L. Cranford (Head of Government Affairs & External Relations), Karishma Page (K&L Gates)

This week, I met with Trustees from the Financial Accounting Foundation, the independent private sector organization charged with administration and oversight of the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board. We discussed budget sequestration’s effects on the effectiveness of FASB and the growing concern with cross-border standards, namely attempting to close the gaps between FASB and the IASB (the International Accounting Standards Board). While we need to ensure balance sheet information can be read and understood by investors the world over, we also need to make sure American business needs are met without confusing those who pore over these detailed financial documents.

National Farmers Union

Dustin Lusting, Doug Peterson (President, Minnesota Farmers Union), Gary Wertish (Vice-President, Minnesota Farmers Union), and Thom Petersen

Representatives from the National Farmers Union visited my office to talk about Country of Origin Labeling, or COOL, and next steps following the WTO’s ruling and Congressional attempts to repeal this important law.

CentraCare Health

David Borgert and Dr. Ken Holmen (St. Cloud)

On Tuesday, I met with Dr. Ken Holmen, the new CEO of CentraCare Health. Dr. Holmen is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Medical School, and this past January he joined CentraCare as their CEO. CentraCare Health is a non-profit health care system that provides care across the 7th District, including hospitals in Long Prairie, Melrose, Monticello, Paynesville, and Sauk Centre. Their facilities strengthen access to care in central Minnesota through the operation of six nursing homes, senior housing in six communities, 18 clinics, and four pharmacies. CentraCare was recently awarded a grant that will help expand their reach in the region.

Minnesota Rural Letter Carriers Association

Dean Maier and Charlene Zocher (Vice-President and President, Minnesota Rural Letter Carriers Association)

This week, I met with Minnesota Rural Letter Carriers Association President Charlene Zocher and Vice President Dean Maier. We discussed postal reform and the unique postal needs of rural communities. I hope we can finally get past the partisan gridlock and pass some meaningful reforms to enable the postal service to continue their progress and return to a sustainable business model.

Potlatch Corporation

Mark Benson (Vice President, Potlatch) and Eric Cremers (President and Chief Operating Officer, Potlatch)

This Tuesday, members of both my personal office and Agriculture Committee staff met with Eric Cremers, President and Chief Operating Officer of Potlatch Corporation. During the visit, they discussed their concerns about the EPA’s proposed Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, the uncertainty created by rules that fail to understand that woodchips are a renewable resource, and provisions in the tax code they would like to see maintained should tax reform move forward. Eric also discussed the importance of getting a legislative fix in the next farm bill to ensure that forest roads don't fall under a new regulatory regime. Potlatch owns forestland, manages tree stands and manufactures wood-based products.

Minnesota Society of CPAs

This week, my legislative aide Richard Lee met with members from the Minnesota Society of CPAs to discuss issues surrounding tax reform. Within the discussions of reforming our tax code, we must consider the ramifications it has on an industry which relies on knowing the ever changing credits and deductions put forth through Congress. As a CPA myself, I commend the hard work these individuals put into their careers. I, along with other members of the CPA Caucus, will continue to work with professionals in this industry and maintain a clear understanding of standards across the country.

National Air Traffic Controllers Association

My staff aide Natalie Winters met with Minnesota members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association on Tuesday to discuss the harmful impacts budget sequestration is having on their line of work. The members cautioned that there will be serious delays on the system and our local airports will be compromised if the next round of cuts take place. While I am a fiscally conservative Blue Dog who works hard to balance the budget, I have been firm in my opposition to these broad sequestration cuts that take across-the-board hits on programs that are already financially fragile.

Twin Cities & Western Railroad

On Thursday, my staff aide Natalie Winters met with Twin Cities & Western Railroad to discuss implementation of Positive Train Control by the end of this year. We need to do more to ensure that rail travel and transport can be done safely, and this technology is an important part of the solution.

Thrifty White Pharmacy

On Thursday, staff aide Allison Myhre met with Fergus Falls Thrifty White Pharmacy Manager Dan Kwapinski, Immunization nurse Mary Lou Olson, and Thrifty White Government Affairs Vice President Jeff Lindoo to learn more about local pharmacies and how local pharmacists are contributing to improving health care in rural areas. The group discussed H.R. 592, the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act, which I am cosponsoring to provide Medicare Part B coverage for pharmacist services in areas that have a health professional shortage, are medically underserved, or reach a medically underserved population.

Legislative Update

COOL Repeal is Premature

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body ruled on Monday against the U.S. mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) requirements for meat. Just two days later, the House Agriculture Committee approved legislation to repeal COOL for beef, pork and chicken. I voted against the bill because I think repeal is premature and I don’t think it’s the best way to avoid retaliation from the WTO. We should instead take some time to thoughtfully consider our next steps.

National Forest Foundation Reauthorization

The House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday approved legislation to reauthorize the National Forest Foundation Act. This Act gives private groups and stakeholders a chance to help in the stewardship and management of our National Forests and Grasslands. I believe this is the type of public-private collaboration we should all be able to get behind; the program leverages more than $4 for every federal dollar and keeps our forests healthy and less prone to fire.

Nutrition Subcommittee Hearing

On Wednesday afternoon, the House Agriculture Committee Subcommittee on Nutrition held a hearing, “Past, Present and Future of SNAP: The World of Nutrition, Government Duplication and Unmet Needs.” The hearing was a continuation of the Committee’s efforts to learn more about SNAP and find ways to improve or reform nutrition programs during consideration of the next farm bill.

Discovering the 7th

Pastor Bob Dahlen (GOODRIDGE) / Veteran Honor Guard

Since 1989, the yearly Rosendahl Lutheran Church Memorial Day service in Goodridge has honored the memory of those who have served in our country’s armed forces. With Pastor Bob Dahlen as the annual guest speaker, the congregation visits the adjoining cemetery to place a commemorative wreath on the grave of Civil War Veteran Alexander Shores, who died in 1916. Before celebrating with a community potluck meal, Pastor Dahlen joins the local veteran Honor Guard in playing taps. 

This Week in American History

President Johnson authorizing Project Head Start (1965)

Launched on May 18th, 1965, Project Head Start provides comprehensive school-readiness services to vulnerable preschool children and their families. In addition to educational preparatory programs, Head Start connects children and their families to local health, nutrition and social resources. I hope for the continued success of the project as it develops students, families, and communities across the nation.

Visitors from the District

Jackson Owings (Active-Duty Navy Sailor) and Matthew Stubstad (Minnesota National Guard), Jonas Freidstant (German exchange Student) (MOORHEAD)

Robert S. Littlefield, Ph.D. (International Director, Lions Clubs International)

Justin Koopmeiners and Matt Van Beck (ALBANY)

Emily and Lynn Tobkin (PERHAM), Grant, Tom, Carrey, and Cheryl Hoff (MARSHALL)

Kali Groen (CLARA CITY)
2015 Congressional Art Competition