Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 5/29/2015

May 29, 2015

Red Lake River

Dear Friends,

This week’s proposals from the EPA to limit the production of domestic renewable fuels and regulate waters of the United States are unfortunate and further proof that, in my opinion, the Agency just doesn’t understand rural America. Similarly, last week’s passage of a temporary extension of the Highway Trust Fund fails to provide the long-term certainty required for response to unique rural transportation needs. Strong investment in both the biofuels industry and our transportation networks are fundamental to rural economic development, and I will continue working for both.




Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Memorial Day in Windom

Windom held a Memorial Day celebration to dedicate the new Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial. The memorial, located next to the Civil War Memorial, is an upright marble slab carrying the emblems of the five branches of the U.S. military. Inscribed on the slab are the words: "All gave some; some gave all." Benches face the memorial on either side, and all of it rests on a poured concrete square. Inscribed on the back of the benches are the words: "All Veterans are Honored and Remembered by the Windom Veterans of Foreign Wars #3844." At the dedication, the Windom Boys and Girls Club laid wreaths, Pastor Gary Wiens of First Baptist Church offered a prayer, and the Windom American Legion played "Taps" and delivered a 21-gun salute.

Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program

Dan Wenner (Executive Director) and Sue Boehland (Vice-Chair, Workforce Council)

The Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program (CEP) held its Workforce Council quarterly meeting in Detroit Lakes on Tuesday. My Senior Economic Development Officer Toni Merdan attended the meeting to hear about current services and concerns. Rural Minnesota CEP provides employment and training services to job-seekers and employers in an 18-county area in central and west central Minnesota.

Women in Agriculture

On Thursday, my staff aide Allison Myhre attended a "Women in Agriculture" event in Fargo with USDA Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden, and hosted by Senators Amy Klobuchar and Heidi Heitkamp. Deputy Secretary Harden moderated a panel of women involved in agriculture who discussed the challenges and opportunities they've experienced in their careers and how to advance the role of women in agriculture.

Farm Service Agency

Debra Crusoe (Executive Director, FSA)

Staff aides Wally Sparby and Tom Meium attended a retirement reception this week for State Farm Service Agency Executive Director Debra Crusoe. Deb, who farms with her husband in Meeker County, has served Minnesota farmers with the agency for 31 years, and has been State Director since May 2013. Under her leadership, the Farm Service Agency in Minnesota very successfully put the new farm programs into place for our state’s producers. I want to thank Deb for her outstanding service and wish her a happy retirement. 

Highway 2 Manufacturers Association

Jim Russ (Team Corporation)

The Highway 2 Manufacturers Association held its quarterly General Membership meeting at the Sanford Conference and Event Center in Bemidji on Wednesday. The Association brings together people and resources to promote manufacturing business success in Northwestern Minnesota. Gardner Carrick, the Vice-President of Strategic Initiatives at the National Association of Manufacturers Manufacturing Institute spoke to the group about the state of manufacturing and attracting and maintaining a workforce. The group was also provided with a demonstration of 3-D modeling and printing while touring Team Corporation's new engineering operation and mobile lab in the Greater Bemidji Mayflower facility.

Legislative Update

Renewable Fuel Standard

The EPA on Friday released long-awaited Renewable Fuels Standards that unfortunately aren’t at the levels laid out by Congress. Without a strong biofuels industry, we will never be able to reach our full potential when it comes to producing the next generation of homegrown biofuels. The rural economy has remained strong in part due to the jobs provided by biofuels production. EPA’s announcement to set back the production of renewable biofuels put those jobs and rural economic growth in danger. I appreciate USDA’s attempts to do what they can to support infrastructure for the biofuels industry, but these efforts are no substitute for a strong RFS policy.

Transportation Funding

Last week, the House of Representatives passed another short-term, limited funding patch to address the growing funding crisis for transportation in this country. Meanwhile, shovel-ready projects in the 7th District stand idle. Continuing this current path is unsustainable. We can't afford to wait for Congress to kick the can down the road again. I have heard from folks across the 7th District who are ready for Congress to quit the partisan bickering and work together to get the job done. A sustainable, long-term solution to meet our transportation needs is necessary to the success of our townships, cities, and counties.

Waters of the U.S. Rule

I am disappointed that the EPA has decided to move forward with the Waters of the U.S. rule that increases confusion and red tape. Farmers, ranchers, local communities, and businesses all expressed concern with the rule’s negative impacts. I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to explore all available options to prevent this arbitrary and subjective regulation.


Small Business Administration LINC

The U.S. Small Business Association recently introduced the Leveraging Information and Networks to access Capital (LINC) initiative to expand small business lending options. By pairing lenders with prospective borrowers online, small businesses can more easily meet with lenders for loans, equipment financing, lines of credit, and access to financial advice. Registration in the matchmaking service is available here.

Discovering the 7th

Laura Ingalls Wilder / Family Cabin Replica

The history of the Ingalls family in Minnesota is preserved at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum and Gift Store in Walnut Grove. The museum is dedicated to the celebrated author of the Little House on the Prairie book series, who spent portions of her childhood in the area during the 1870s. Collections of memorabilia are housed in a series of historic buildings, including an 1898 depot, little red schoolhouse, early settler home, and covered wagon display. 

This Week in American History

Mark Twain, 1902

Mark Twain visited Saint Paul on May 27, 1882 while completing research for his book Life on the Mississippi. Published the following year, the book describes Minnesota as a land of “newness, briskness, swift progress, intelligence, and energy.” Also included within Minnesota’s chapter are colorful details of the state’s landscape, architecture, infrastructure, flouring industry, and educational system.

Visitors from the District

Julia, Maggie, Monica, Boaz, Marc, and Lydia Rakow (GLENCOE)

Brittany Lormis (ROCHERT)
2015 Congressional Art Competition