Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 5/25/2018

(Right) Donald Kohns (EAST GRAND FORKS)

Dear Friends,

With Memorial Day coming up on Monday, May 28, it is important for us to remember the sacrifices made by American servicemembers throughout the history of our nation. This week, I met with World War II veterans visiting Washington as part of a Veteran Honor Flight. I greeted them as they arrived at the World War II Memorial, spoke with them, and heard their stories. Retired General Jim Jackson met with me to discuss the Vietnam War 50th Commemoration, an initiative that recognizes and thanks Vietnam veterans for their service. As you enjoy a long Memorial Day weekend, please take time to remember and honor our nation’s fallen heroes.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

WWII Veteran Honor Flight

(Bottom right) Andy Anderson (DETROIT LAKES)

One week ahead of Memorial Day, I went down to the World War II Memorial to greet more than ninety Minnesotan veterans, many of whom never visited Washington before. I greeted them from the buses as they worked their way inside the Memorial.

To help welcome the Minnesota veterans, students from the Horizon Middle School in Moorhead were also present to greet the Honor Flight. The kids were excited to meet veterans of the Greatest Generation, and veterans were just as grateful to see the students.

Along the west end of the Memorial is the Field of Stars which represent the more than 400,000 American servicemembers who lost her lives during WWII. With Memorial Day approaching, it is more important than ever to listen to our aging veterans who are the last remaining storytellers about friends who were killed or missing in action. If you know someone who would benefit from the Honor Flight program, click here for more information.

Vietnam War 50th Commemoration

Retired General Jim Jackson and the Vietnam Commemorative Flag

My office was recently accepted as a Commemorative Partner with the Vietnam War 50th Commemoration, a Congressional initiative meant to thank our Vietnam veterans. Minnesota has 125,800 Vietnam Era veterans that need to be properly honored. Many of these heroes were drafted and fought in some of the worst conditions imaginable on behalf of their country, and to many were not welcomed home for their service. As a symbol of our appreciation, Monday I will present a special Vietnam Lapel Pin to veterans who served on active duty between 1955 and 1975, or give the surviving spouse a pin in the veteran’s memory.

Veterans from the 7th

(Left) Henry Tweten and Bernie Lieder

With Memorial Day coming next Monday, May 28th, it is a good time to remember, celebrate and visit with the men and women who served in our military. A member of my staff did just that. My staff aide had lunch with Henry Tweten and Bernie Lieder, both Veterans of World War II and the Battle of the Bulge. They told stories from the war, and told us about their lives since serving. 

Henry Tweten retuned to East Grand Forks, became an attorney and served many years on the City Council. He had a hand in almost everything that happened in the city, such as the Technical College, rebuilding after 1997 flood, and the new recreational park.

Bernie Lieder returned to Purdue University to get his engineering degree, then went to work for Polk County as the County Engineer. He then was elected in 1984 to the Minnesota House of Representatives from District 1B where he served through 2010. Representative Lieder was the last World War II veteran in the Minnesota Legislature. He was the Chair of the House Transportation Finance Committee and used his talents and experience statewide.

Both of these men have had remarkable careers with great success and many hardships. Please take time this Memorial Day to honor those from your community who have served.

USO Care Packages

My staff took some time this week to help the USO assemble care packages for current service members. As we honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country this weekend, we must also keep in mind those currently serving our country. We have a proud history of military service in Minnesota, and supporting our men and women who risk their lives protecting our country is one of my highest priorities. Thank you to all of those who have proudly served our nation.

Highway 23 Coalition

I welcomed members of the Highway 23 Coalition this week to discuss opportunities to improve safety and efficiency of the roadway. The communities and businesses that make Western Minnesota one of the most productive manufacturing and agricultural regions in the nation depend on this vital connection to the rest of the state.

Minnesota Transportation Alliance

I addressed members of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance this week to exchange ideas about maintaining and improving the state’s transportation systems. There are several infrastructure projects in development across the 7th District, and I will continue to work with the Alliance to secure the federal, state, and local support they need to be realized. I am also committed to working closely with Minnesota’s counties and cities to advocate for vital programs such as the INFRA Grant, the BUILD Grant, and Essential Air Service (EAS) in greater Minnesota.

Minnesota Society of CPAs

I met with representatives of the MN Society of CPAs to discuss the state of accounting, the new tax law, and disclosure filings. As a career CPA myself, I enjoy discussing the industry with like-minded professionals who know the ins and outs of tax policy better than some people who help to craft it.

American Farm Bureau Federation

I met with American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall this week to discuss the Farm Bill and next steps towards having it signed into law. We both saw several positives in last week’s debate, including the cooperation of the rural and urban coalition to defeat amendments that would have hurt sugar, dairy, and crop insurance. I reiterated to Zippy that I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to move a fair, balanced, and productive farm bill quickly so Congress can get a product to the President and signed into law before many farm programs expire this fall.

American Association of Crop Insurers

On Thursday, I met with Howard Olson of Detroit Lakes and other representatives of the American Association of Crop Insurers. We talked about how we were able to fend off attempts to undermine farm programs (crop insurance and sugar, in particular) during the recent farm bill consideration. It’s going to be tough for the House majority to put the pieces back together, but I’m willing to help out if they present a reasonable plan for the farm bill.

Western Growers’ Association

I recently met with Western Growers’ Association (WGA) CEO Tom Nassif and board of directors during WGA’s annual fly-in. We discussed with them 2018 Farm Bill prospects and other specialty crop issues. WGA members and their workers provide over half the nation's fresh fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts, including nearly half of America's fresh organic produce growing predominately in Arizona, Colorado, California, and New Mexico.

Lions Clubs International

This week, I was honored to receive an award from Lions Clubs International in recognition of my support for community service. I appreciate the work that the Lions do to improve health, reduce hunger, and address other local concerns across the 7th District.

North American Millers’ Association

On Tuesday, I met with representatives of the North American Millers Association including Tom Rabaey, (Principal Agronomist at General Mills in Minneapolis) and Rick Schwein, (Senior Vice President at Grain Millers, Inc. in Eden Prairie). They advocated for USDA-Agricultural Research Service’s research on oats as well as specific research performed at the North Central Soil Conservation Research Laboratory in Morris and the Plant Science Research in St. Paul. I will continue to strongly support these vital research activities.

National Association of Manufacturers

On May 22, I met with National Association of Manufacturer’s Food and Beverage group to discuss moving forward with the 2018 farm bill process and other topics such as USDA’s recently announced draft rule on disclosure of genetically engineered food ingredients. Attending were representatives of large food manufacturers such as Kraft Heinz, Pepsico, Hershey, Modelez and supporting suppliers such as Ball Corporation and National Oil Seed Processors Association.

National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors

This week, I sat down with representatives of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors to discuss the state of the economy, the recent tax overhaul, and issues facing Americans looking to retire. I will continue to advocate for sound policies that put more money back in Americans’ pockets, so they can continue to build their nest eggs and enjoy sound financial portfolios.

Point of View with Chris Berg

I sat down Tuesday for Point of View with host Chris Berg. We talked about the status of the farm bill, and I had a chance to talk about a topic that concerns many farmers in Western Minnesota. Sugar beets are one of the most important crops throughout the district, and the farm bill’s sugar program is essential to maintaining demand for the sugar that our farmers produce. As you all know, I led the charge to defeat an amendment to the farm bill that would have dismantled the sugar program. I pointed out to Chris that it was the strong support I showed for our nutrition priorities that helped to pull so many representatives of urban districts to the defense of the farm bill’s sugar program. It’s another great example of why the rural/urban partnership in the farm bill is so important, and why I’ll continue to find ways to pull my congressional colleagues from the city into the discussions that impact those of us in farm country.

Adams on Agriculture

Following the farm bill vote on Friday, there were a lot of questions on what happens to the farm bill next. My Monday interview with Adams on Agriculture host Mike Adams was a good opportunity to help answer those questions. House Republicans have delayed the deadline for a vote on the farm bill until June 22, and I told Mike that I hope within that time, Chairman Conaway will reach out to me for input on how we can make this bill better. I also told Mike that if we can work together on SNAP and other aspects of the bill in a cooperative way, I can help to bring Democratic support to the bill, but if it remains unchanged from the bill that failed on Friday, the GOP is very likely going to see the same opposition, both from Democrats and from within their own ranks.


Earlier this week I was a guest on Joel Heitkamp’s News and Views. We reminisced about the Veteran’s Honor Flight at the World War Two Memorial in D.C. from the day before. I was able to see and meet with World War Two veterans from the Seventh District. The event was one of the more fun and meaningful events I have attended in a long time. The rest of our conversation included the importance of the Red River Valley’s sugar program and last week’s House vote on the Farm Bill.

Listen to my full interview here.

Rural Minnesota CEP

On Tuesday, a member of my staff attended a meeting where Rural Minnesota CEP hosted the Workforce Development Board in Fergus Falls. Local leaders in economic development, schools, and cities were invited to join the conversation. A presentation was given that highlighted recent workforce trends throughout the Seventh District as well as Greater Minnesota. Attendees provided valuable input on workforce availability, employer labor needs, and the future of our rural economy.

Mental Health Advocacy in Newfolden

An immigrant family from Norway that lived in Newfolden is now being recognized for their help in reforming Minnesota’s mental health institutions. In “The Crusade for Forgotten Souls,” Susan Bartlett Foote tells the story of Engla Schey.

Ms. Schey, born in 1895, became a great advocate to change the living and working conditions inside our state mental institutions. The book is a reminder that even one voice can make a difference. As your Congressman, I applaud examples of men and women who are determined to make our country and communities a better place for everyone.

Legislative Update

Electronic Logging Device Exemptions

This week, I introduced bipartisan legislation with Representative Gianforte (MT-At Large) to relieve certain sectors of the trucking industry from the Federal Motor Carrier Association’s electronic logging device (ELD) mandate. The Small Carrier Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act of 2018 will completely exempt businesses which operate ten or fewer trucks from the requirements of the ELD mandate, and the Agricultural Business Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act of 2018 will completely exempt agricultural businesses. Not only will the legislation will eliminate costly and time-consuming regulations for small trucking companies and individual owner-operators, but it will also help reduce unnecessary stops and delays which threaten the quality of agricultural products on their way to market.

This Week in American History

On May 24, 1941, Robert Zimmerman was born in Duluth. He would become iconic singer and songwriter Bob Dylan. Originally a folk singer, this versatile artist would also shift between rock and gospel. An inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Dylan has written over 500 songs and earned a number of Grammy Awards. After achieving fame, he did not perform in Duluth until October 22, 1998.

What’s the Story?

Freedom Flight, Inc. is a non-profit educational corporation, established in 1988 that strives to honor and increase awareness of issues that affect prisoners of war (POW) and soldiers who have gone missing in action (MIA). Freedom Flight, Inc. founder Dr. Jim Tuorila decided in 1988 that hot air balloons would be a good way to draw attention to POW/MIA issues. The goal of the organization is to draw attention to the fact that American servicemen and women are reportedly being held captive in foreign countries and to rally support for efforts to bring them home. As we celebrate Memorial Day, it is important for us to consider the men and women who may be missing or imprisoned abroad. This photo of two Freedom Flight hot air balloons hangs in my Washington, D.C. office.

Click here to learn more about Freedom Flight, Inc. and their mission.

Julia Riegert