Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 5/24

Fierce wildfire burns 7,100 acres in Park Rapids area

Photos courtesy of Park Rapids Enterprise

Dear Friends,

Folks in the 7th understand the power of nature all too well, and my thoughts are with those impacted by the fires near Park Rapids last week.  It was good to see the recent rains help calm the fires.  On Monday we will honor those who gave their lives for our great nation, and one person in my thoughts and prayers on that day will be veteran and former staffer Al Loehr who recently passed.  As we remember the sacrifices of our veterans this Memorial Day, I encourage friends and family to visit a Blue Star Museum near you.  A number of constituents have contacted me with their concerns about financial regulation, and on Tuesday the Agriculture Committee held a hearing on this issue. This week I met with Fargo and Clay County leaders alongside the Minnesota Delegation as we discussed next steps for Fargo-Moorhead flood control. I also discussed potential tax reform with the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Memorial Day

This Memorial Day, I wish to honor the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. We remember the many thousands of brave soldiers who have fallen while fighting on our behalf. On this day, we also honor those still serving and their families who continue to make sacrifices for us. We remember all these men and women and express our gratitude to them and their families for all they have left behind. 

Throughout our history, America has fought not to conquer but to liberate. We go to war reluctantly, because we understand the high cost of war. Those who have given their lives to defend America have the respect and gratitude of our entire nation.

On this particular Memorial Day, many of us remember the recently departed Alcuin Loehr. Al was a colleague and true friend. He was a crusader for veterans his entire life. He served in the Navy during World War II. He founded the United Veterans Legislative Council. He was the Minnesota Commissioner of Veterans Affairs from 1965-69 under Governors Rolvaag and LeVander. He also served as the national vice chairman of the VFW Legislative Committee.

I was fortunate to have Al work on my staff to advise me on veterans issues for all the years I've served in Congress. He was a friend you could count on, and his passion and dedication for his veteran family was contagious.

Minnesotans lost a great citizen and tireless advocate for veterans. While we mourn his loss, we will continue to honor his life by renewing our efforts to keep our promises to those still with us. That is why supporting our troops, military families and veterans has been - and always will be - a top priority for me.

Permanent Flood Control in Red River Valley

Mr. Craig Whitney Fargo/Moorhead Chamber of Commerce, Clay County Commissioner Grant Weyland, City of Fargo Administrator Pat Zavoral

I joined the Minnesota Delegation in meeting with Fargo and Clay County leaders as we determine the next steps forward for securing permanent flood control in the Fargo-Moorhead area.  The U.S. Senate last week passed the measure, which includes authorization for permanent flood protection in the Red River Valley. Right now the key to the project’s successful completion is House passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).  Authorization allows funding to be provided for construction of the project, which represents a large step toward protecting people and property in the Red River Valley.  Permanent flood control in the valley is going to require a united effort to win passage of the WRDA bill in the U.S. House. That means each of us using whatever tools and leverage we have in our respective roles to gain support.

On the Floor

Student Loans

On Thursday the House of Representatives voted on a bill that would make college more expensive for our students.  I voted against this legislation, H.R. 1911, because I think it is a bad idea to tie federal student loans to market rates.  This bill would create student loans that are higher on average than under current law, costing students almost $4 billion in additional loan interest charges.  I believe we need to work on making education more accessible, not more expensive, and that's why I voted against this legislation.

Regulatory Accountability Act

This week I reintroduced bipartisan legislation alongside colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reform the federal regulatory process.  The Regulatory Accountability Act (H.R. 2122), which passed the House of Representatives in the 112th Congress, reforms the current federal rulemaking process to lower the costs and improve the quality of new regulations.

While it is difficult to enact a new law, it’s even harder to get a regulation written correctly. In many cases, interest groups try to use regulation to interpret the law in their best interest, instead of following the intent of the law. By bringing transparency and accountability to the regulatory process, the American people will be allowed to have a voice in these policy decisions.

Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA)

Photo courtesy of Sam Kittner/

As a former certified public accountant (CPA), I understand firsthand the issues that folks in this industry face.  CPA's are business and financial strategists who help chart the paths of individuals and businesses.  The MNCPA has more than 9,400 members statewide, and operates through volunteer committees and task forces, statewide chapters, and a board of directors elected by their members.  With the increasing complexity of our tax code, it's so important to have people like these folks helping us understand current regulations.  I am hopeful that this Congress will finally address comprehensive tax reform soon so we can simplify our tax code while ensuring fairness and efficiency.

Agriculture Committee Hearing on CFTC Reauthorization

The House Agriculture Committee held a hearing Tuesday, “The Future of the CFTC: Market Perspectives.” CFTC reauthorization is something the Committee will need to address this year but at the hearing I urged my colleagues to exercise caution. I think we need to wait until later this summer, when the CFTC has hopefully completed its rule-making under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act before we move ahead. Additionally, I don’t want CFTC reauthorization to distract the Committee from getting a five-year farm bill across the floor of the House and through conference with the Senate.

You can watch my comments at the hearing here.

Blue Star Museums will begin on Memorial Day, May 27, 2013 and extend through Labor Day, September 2, 2013
.  This Monday will mark the fourth year of the Blue Star Museums summer program. Blue Star Museums offers free admission to our nation’s active duty military personnel and their families.  This collaboration includes the NEA, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and a record‐breaking 2,000 participating museums across America this year.  Museums of all kinds are welcome to join throughout the summer by signing up online. This year’s roster represents not just fine arts museums, but also science museums, history museums, nature centers, and 75 children’s museums.

Participating Blue Star Museums in the 7th include:

  • Battle Lake - Prospect House and Civil War Museum
  • Detroit Lakes - Becker County Historical Society and Museum
  • East Grand Forks - Heritage Foundation
  • Elbow Lake - Grant County Historical Society
  • Fergus Falls - Otter Tail County Museum
  • Moorhead - Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County
  • Morris - Stevens County Historical Society & Museum
  • Ortonville - Big Stone County Historical Society Museum
  • Perham - ITOW Veterans Museum
  • Roseau - Roseau County Historical Museum & Interpretive Center
  • Wadena - Wadena County Historical Society
  • Wheaton - Traverse County Historical Society Museum

This Week in American History

On May 20, 1927, Minnesota-native Charles “Lucky Lindy” Lindbergh, Jr. pulled the “Spirit of St. Louis” up into the air to begin his unprecedented 3,500-mile flight from Long Island, NY to Paris, France.  Lindbergh, Jr. spent most of his child growing up in Little Falls, MN, just a few miles east of the 7th District.  The famous flight in May 1927 made Lindbergh, Jr. the first person to fly across the Atlantic Ocean alone.  It took him thirty-three and a half hours to complete the journey, and he used up his four sandwiches, two canteens of water and nearly 451 gallons of gas.  He returned home riding the USS Memphis and was greeted in Washington D.C. by President Calvin Coolidge, who immediately bestowed the Distinguished Flying Cross around his neck.  Two years later, he received the Congressional Medal of Honor.


Tornado damage in Oklahoma this week

My thoughts and prayers are with those hit by this terrible storm