Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 5/30/2014

May 30, 2014 Issues: Foreign Affairs, Health, Veterans

Memorial Day in Milan

Dear Friends,

I had the opportunity to spend Memorial Day with members of the Milan community, who put on a great tribute. The Red River Valley was named as part of an important conservation program I've long advocated for and could help tremendously with water retention projects throughout the Valley. I also introduced legislation to address the suspension of exit permit issuances for adopted children in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and I've co-sponsored legislation to help fix U.S. Postal Service problems.



Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Memorial Day in Milan

It was an honor to be invited to participate in the Milan Memorial Day service. This community puts on an incredibly moving tribute with the Chord Ayres group singing patriotic songs and the Milan Community Band playing military march songs. Community members did an outstanding job recognizing those who sacrificed their lives for our country, and also recognizing and thanking veterans in the community today. They also recognized local law enforcement and emergency responders who do so much for our rural communities.

To learn more about the Chord Ayres group click here.

Red River Valley
Included in new conservation program

 NOAA image of same area after flooding.
“Before and after” photos over Halstad

Red River Valley of the North was named as part of the Prairie Grasslands Critical Conservation Area under USDA's Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The RCPP will allow USDA to partner with third parties or work directly with producers in watersheds and other critical conservation areas.

This program is something I've long-advocated for and put in the 2014 Farm Bill to allow us to use existing conservation programs to help implement water retention in the Red River Valley and other parts of the country. I expect that USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, watershed districts and farmers will be able to build on these conservation programs to support water retention and help reduce flooding in the Valley while improving water quality and increasing habitat.

RCPP incorporates the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP), the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI), the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program (CBWP), and the Great Lakes Basin Program for soil erosion and sediment control (GLBP). Both AWEP and CCPI utilized partnership agreements to focus conservation program funds to targeted areas.

American Stroke Month

This month we recognize American Stroke Month as we seek to increase awareness of stroke and prevention methods. Unfortunately, an estimated 6.8 million Americans 20 and older have had a stroke, and it is the leading cause of preventable disability.

Eighty percent of strokes are preventable, and that's what makes awareness campaigns like this so important. Below are some of the risk factors that can be changed, treated or controlled:

  • High blood pressure (leading risk factor)
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking

When someone has a stroke, every minute counts. The longer blood is cut off to the brain, the greater the potential for damage. Immediate treatment saves lives and enhances chances for successful recovery.

What are the symptoms of a stroke?

  • Trouble walking
  • Weakness on one side
  • Trouble seeing
  • Trouble speaking
  • Severe headache with no known cause

If you believe someone is having a stroke, act quickly to find medical attention. The best treatment for stroke is prevention.

Click here to learn more about stroke causes and prevention from the National Institute of Health

Legislative Updates
Postal Issue Update

I wish I could tell you that Congress had banded together to address the issues facing the United States Postal Service (USPS) and swiftly adopted legislation to fix their woes, but unfortunately I cannot. We are still right where we were last year, and frustratingly, this is one issue where most people are in agreement on the need to act with pragmatism. We must work together to fix the pre-funding mandate the Postal Service is required to make under current law.

At the end of last year, the USPS would have turned a profit, if it were not for the burdensome expense they are forced to pay, which has caused them to default. USPS has been coming up with innovative approaches to address some of their struggles, and I hope in the face of a rebounding economy, their revenues will continue to increase. I have been a constant advocate for rural communities in this fight over fixing the USPS’s problems. I have cosponsored legislation to maintain a 6-day delivery, signed on to limit closings of post offices and processing centers to maintain the delivery standard, and make our mail more accessible.

It is my hope that we can soon advance legislation, like H.R. 630, the Postal Service Protection Act, which I cosponsored, that will address the postal service’s concerns by enabling them to increase revenue streams, provide additional services not currently offered, and not limit access to those who rely on the service the most.

Adoption Suspension in Democratic Republic of Congo
New Legislation Introduced

I introduced H.Res. 588, a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives to address the suspension of exit permit issuances for adopted children in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A constituent recently contacted me to share her story about how her family is caught up in this unfortunate situation. The family has legally adopted a four-year-old girl in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and although they have all the necessary paperwork, they are not being allowed to bring her home because of this suspension. They are one example of the hundreds of U.S. families waiting to bring home an adopted child from the Congo. It is estimated that over four million orphans live in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The suspension on exit permits has been in place since September 2013.

I am hopeful this legislation will help to encourage continued dialogue between the United States and the DRC as we seek a resolution. Families who've gone through this adoption process shouldn't have to keep waiting to bring these children home.

Visitors from the 7th

Annette Loken (BRECKENRIDGE), Craig Lichtsinn (WHEATON), Matt, Aili, and Sarah Toyli (PARKERS PRAIRIE), Noah Ballard (PELICAN RAPIDS), Sonja and Dale Kvale (Bella Vista, AR), Betty and Claude Linder (NASHUA), Mike and Carol Toyli (Plymouth)

This Week in American History

On May 26th, 1780, Chief Wabasha, who served as a general in the British Army, led 200 Dakota in an attack on Spanish positions at St. Louis, MO. This was the only known involvement of Minnesotans in the Revolutionary War. The city had fortifications that extended for over a mile, so Chief Wabasha tried to lure the militia out into the field. After a short battle, the Dakota ultimately retreated along with British soldiers since the city was too well defended to capture.

Molly Hansen (BARNESVILLE)
2014 Congressional Art Competition