Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 5/27/2016

May 27, 2016


Red Lake

Dear Friends,

It was another busy week here in Washington. I met with several groups from the district, including the Minnesota Rural Letter Carrier’s Association and the Minnesota Society of CPAs. Additionally, I sat down with the American Association of Crop Insurers, the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and the National Retail Federation to discuss pro-growth policies that better support the middle class. I also attended Agriculture Committee hearings on food waste and the livestock economy. Finally, in honor of Memorial Day weekend, I encourage you to remember the men and women who have valiantly defended our country, as well as those who continue to sacrifice their lives for our freedom.

Sincerely,
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Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

 

Minnesota Rural Letter Carrier’s Association

This week I met with Rural Letter Carrier members to address the needs of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Congressional inaction has dogged the USPS for years. It is past time for Congress to reach an agreement to remove some burdensome regulations affecting their business. I will continue to do support efforts that will help free letter carriers from costly mandates so the business can again become profitable. The Postal Service remains an important lifeline in rural America.

Thrifty White Pharmacy


Jeff Lindoo (Vice President, Government & Regulatory Affairs) and Dave Reuter (Executive Vice President, Human Resources)

I met with representatives of Thrifty White Pharmacy this week to discuss rural pharmacy and health service issues. Thrifty White serves 30 communities across the Seventh District. As co-sponsor of the “Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act” and the “Ensuring Seniors Access to Local Pharmacies Act,” I will work with Thrifty White to help them continue their service.

National Retail Federation


Lonnie McQuirter, Chuck Armstrong, Hillary Feder, Bruce Nustad

This week I had a pleasure to meet with the members of the retail federation to discuss the state of the retail industry. Nearly every segment of the industry is currently facing challenges as it evolves and adapts to the changing markets. Congress needs to support retailers of all sizes to grow their businesses and create jobs in their communities. Retailers are a vital part of our economy. I am committed to finding policy solutions that cut through bureaucratic red tape and allow our small businesses and job creators to innovate and grow. I hope that Congress can come together in support of pro-growth policies that allow our economy to recover and thrive.

National Air Traffic Controllers Association

Members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association visited my office this week to discuss air traffic controller (ATC) staffing at the FAA, which has reached a 27-year low. I am a co-sponsor of the “Air Traffic Controller Hiring Improvement Act of 2016,” which would help revitalize the ATC workforce, expand recruiting efforts and provide employment opportunities to veterans and recent graduates. Millions of Americans depend on air traffic control to keep them safe when they travel. I will continue to support efforts that help them operate.

American Association of Crop Insurers

Representatives of the American Association of Crop Insurance came by my office on Thursday, including Howard Olson of Detroit Lakes (third from left). We discussed the challenges facing risk management for farmers and talked about how the 2014 Farm Bill is working. Crop insurance is an important risk management tool, helping farmers continue to farm in the face of bad weather or poor market problems.

Minnesota Society of CPAs

This week I met with the Minnesota Society of CPAs to discuss the status of tax reform in Congress, the outlook for the numerous tax extenders we have passed in the House and the state of the farm economy. As a CPA, I enjoy keeping up with these issues and hope my experiences can help shape positive tax policy for our rural economies. I will keep working to enable common sense policies that allow CPAs to do their work for all businesses.

American Association for Homecare

The American Association for Homecare visited my office this week to thank me for my support of the Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment (PADME) Act. PADME would postpone further cuts to durable medical equipment reimbursement, helping the members of the association provide service to millions of Americans who require medical attention in their homes.

National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors

This week I met with members of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors to discuss the Department of Labor’s overtime rule, fiduciary regulation and the state of the industry. These individuals provide education and financial planning to help individuals meet long term goals, live financially stable lives and retirements.

Motorcycle Industry Council and Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association


Dennis McNeal, Paul Vitrano, J.R. Burke; receiving the award

This week I was honored to receive the Chairman’s Award from the Motorcycle Industry Council. I was honored, along with Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., for our work on the RIDE Act. This legislation seeks to address the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s overreaching regulations affecting Recreational Off-Road Vehicles. These vehicles are used by many farmers and hunters alike, and the proposed regulations will limit their capabilities.

Rural MN CEP Meeting


Dan Wenner, Rural MN CEP Executive Director, Paul Anderson, retired State Operations Coordinator for Experience Works

On Tuesday, my staff aide Toni Merdan attended the Rural Minnesota CEP (Concentrated Employment Project) Workforce Investment Board Meeting. RMCEP is a private non-profit Workforce Center partner that assists people in job training and employment, covering a 19 county area in North and West-Central Minnesota. Paul Anderson, the retired State Operations Coordinator, for Experience Works, Inc. was honored at the meeting. Anderson has given more than 20 years of service to the RMCEP Board of Directors and the Workforce Investment Board. Experience Works is a national nonprofit organization that improves the lives of older people through training and employment.

Affiliated Community Medical Center

Dr. Cindy Smith, President and CEO of Affiliated Community Medical Center in Willmar, met with Tom Meium of my staff to explain the special concerns of Greater Minnesota Health Care practitioners and their patients. Many Medicare recipients are finding that their physicians are being dropped from Medicare Advantage.  Patients need to have access to care and I would like to also see pharmaceutical rules become more streamlined and economical.  Recent FDA procedural changes for prescription delivery have proven to be counterproductive changes.  I always value hearing new ideas from health care providers in the 7th District.

Legislative Update

Focus on the Farm Economy: A View from the Barnyard

The Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture held a hearing Tuesday to look at the economic conditions in the livestock sector. During the hearing, I raised some of the concerns I’ve heard about the new dairy safety net in the 2014 Farm Bill – the Margin Protection Program (MPP). I believe this is better than the previous MILC program but it still needs some work. We need to look at who is administering the program, how we calculate feed costs and what milk price we use.

Food Waste from Field to Table

The Agriculture Committee met Wednesday for a hearing to discuss food waste. Terms like “sell by” or “best by” are often confusing which leads to a lot of food waste around the country. While many have no problem throwing food away, other Americans are still struggling to feed their families. There is a role for farmers and ranchers to play. They can, and should, step up to the plate to meet these needs. I think this is an area where we can work across party lines and forge a diverse coalition to tackle food waste in this country.

https://democrats.agriculture.house.gov/press/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=1275

Energy and Water Appropriations

The House failed to pass an appropriations bill to fund the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Bureau of Reclamation. It’s frustrating that yet again, political fights interfered and Republicans were unable to pass an appropriations bill through regular order. This bill contained a crucial provision to prevent the implementation of the Waters of the U.S. rule, which would massively expand the federal government’s role in regulating waterways. It was unfortunate that this appropriations bill fell to the same old politics that is crippling our ability to effectively legislate.

Toxic Substances Control Act

This week the House passed a much-needed update on our nation’s ability to effectively provide oversight on dangerous chemicals. TSCA is an opportunity to evaluate whether chemicals used in manufacturing pose significant risks to health or the environment. This rule hasn’t been updated for over 40 years and I was glad to support this bill on the House floor.

Newsstand

Memorial Day

This year we will mark the 147th observance of Memorial Day. While many spend the long weekend enjoying the first days of summer with friends and family, we should not lose sight of the meaning behind this federal holiday. I hope you will take a moment to reflect on this Memorial Day.

Government leaders first established “Declaration Day” following the Civil War as an opportunity for the nation to honor the graves of fallen Union and Confederate soldiers. The holiday has since extended to pay respect to all Americans who died serving in the military.

The welfare of our nation's troops, and honoring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, is highly important to me. Every day I salute our veterans and pledge to continue to dedicate myself to pursuing every effort to ensure our veterans and soldiers have the quality health care and benefits that they have earned. We owe it to them.

I wish you and your family a fulfilling holiday weekend and encourage you to pay your respects to our country's service members. It is important to remember the men and women who have valiantly defended our country, as well as those who continue to sacrifice their lives for our freedom.

Rep. Peterson Chosen as Energy Bill Conferee

As the Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, I was selected to serve on the conference committee to help resolve differences between major House and Senate energy legislation. I will be the only Democrat from the Agriculture Committee on the committee and I am looking forward to bringing an agriculture perspective to the negotiating table.

The House and Senate passed two different, comprehensive energy bills dealing with cyber-security, energy efficiency, renewable energy production, loan programs and more. In order for the legislation to reach the President’s desk, a conference committee from both chambers is selected to negotiate one bill with matching language. Once the committee reaches an agreement, the legislation will then be reported back to the House and Senate for passage before being sent to President Obama for his signature. The House version of the bill contains two provisions I have led on including return management of gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes region back to the states and protecting legally obtained African elephant ivory, while assisting in anti-poaching efforts.

Discovering the 7th

 

Red Lake in Beltrami County is the largest natural freshwater lake located entirely within Minnesota. Stemming from the Ojibwe language, it was originally named Miskwaagamiiwi-zaaga'igan, or “Lake with its liquid colored red.” The lake is separated into two sections by a peninsula on the eastern side that almost bisects it in the middle, creating “Upper Red Lake” and “Lower Red Lake.” In total, it covers 440 square miles (or 288,800 acres), with a maximum depth of 84 feet, making it the 16th largest lake in the United States.

This Week in American History

On May 23, 1857, twelve Minnesota counties were created: Aitkin, Anoka, Carlton, Cottonwood, Crow Wing, Jackson, Martin, Mille Lacs, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, and Rock. Six are named for individuals important to the state's history: Aitkin is for William A. Aitkin who ran an American Fur Company post on Sandy Lake; Carlton honors Reuben B. Carlton, a Fond du Lac pioneer; some claim Jackson County is for named for pioneer merchant Henry Jackson while others claim its namesake is President Andrew Jackson; Martin, similarly is thought to be named for either Connecticut investor Henry Martin, who owned land in the area, or Wisconsin territorial delegate Morgan L. Martin, who introduced legislation to create Minnesota Territory; Murray County commemorates St. Paul attorney and politician William P. Murray; and finally, Nobles is for wagon maker, road builder, and politician William H. Nobles.

Visitors from the 7th


The Georges (FRAZEE)


“Playing in Rain”
Abby Newkirk (FERGUS FALLS)