Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 5/5/2017

May 12, 2017 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Education, Energy, Health

A café garden
Granite Falls

Dear Friends,

This week is National Small Business Week, which is a great opportunity for us to acknowledge the positive impact small businesses make throughout the United States. I met the National Grocers Association, the Small Business Administration, Minnesota Beer Wholesalers, and the Independent Community Bankers Association on critical tax policy changes needed to better support our economy. I also heard from the National Milk Producers Federation and other dairy producers to discuss an update on the latest farm policy issues, sat down with Growth Energy and EPA Administrator Pruitt to discuss leveling the playing field for ethanol sales, and addressed the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. Finally, I would like to offer my condolences to the tribal members of Red Lake Nation for their loss of a friend and Tribal Secretary, Donald Cook.

Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt

I had the honor to meet with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt on Thursday to discuss regulatory issues that are adversely impacting Minnesota. In particular, we discussed a strict regulation on outdoor wood heaters that will put Minnesota manufacturers out of business, the federal definition of a wetland, and a limitation on when E15 can be sold at gas stations. I am ready to work with anyone who can sit down and have serious policy discussions, so I appreciated the opportunity to share my views with Administrator Pruitt.

Red Lake Nation

I met with members of Red Lake Nation to discuss the President’s proposed budget cuts and the tribe’s public safety efforts. There are important initiatives that I will continue to support like the Tiwahe Initiative, which addresses family welfare and poverty issues in reservations, and other federal funding sources for tribal law enforcement officers to help reduce drug trafficking.

I was saddened to learn that Red Lake Tribal Secretary Donald Cook passed away on Monday, and send my condolences to Donald’s family, friends, and Red Lake Nation tribal members for their loss.

Growth Energy

Tom Buis, Mick Miller (Alexandria), Chris Hanson (Preston), Greg Madden (Sioux Falls)

I support a strong domestic ethanol industry so I welcomed members of Growth Energy to my office to talk about selling E15 (gasoline that contains 15 percent ethanol) year round. Currently, there is a restriction on the sale of E15 from June 1 to September 15 which requires pumps to be re-labeled every summer and limits E15 sales to flex-fuel vehicles. This regulation confuses gas station owners and consumers alike who want to sell and buy E15, a cheaper and cleaner fuel source than E10 gasoline. I will continue to advocate for a legislative path to allowing E15 to be sold all year to even the playing field for ethanol.


This week, I met with David Kragnes of CoBank in Minnesota to discuss rural credit and funding opportunities. I reiterated my strong support for a robust credit and rural development title in the farm bill that are critical to rural areas. We also discussed how to continue to make progress in connecting rural America to broadband.

National Association of Farm Broadcasting

On Wednesday morning I met with more than 30 members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) to provide an update on farm policy issues in Washington. The broadcasters were in town for their annual Washington Watch event. Following my remarks to the group, Red River Farm Network's Don Wick came by my office to interview me one on one.

Lutheran Social Services

I met with representatives of Lutheran Social Services (LSS) this week to share their efforts to help seniors live active and independent lives. I will continue to work with organizations like LSS to protect Minnesota’s Medicaid funding from cuts.

Waubun High School

Each year, the Close-Up Foundation helps high schools facilitate educational visits to Washington, D.C. This week, I was happy to welcome students from Waubun High School to Capitol Hill for an insightful discussion about government and their studies. I always enjoy meeting students from the 7th District, and wish the group the best of luck with their education.

Minnesota Beer Wholesalers

On Tuesday, the Minnesota Beer Wholesalers came by the office to talk to me about comprehensive tax reform. Minnesota business owners need tax reform but, most importantly, need certainty in tax policy. The Minnesota beer distributors have 68 facilities employing 2300 Minnesotans, with an economic impact of $1.3 billion.

Independent Community Bankers Association

This week I met with members from the ICBA and representatives of community banks throughout the 7th district. We had a lively discussion on everything from tax reform and Dodd-Frank reforms to the Fargo-Moorhead diversion project and the outlook for the Farm Bill. I enjoy working with our region’s community banks to enact targeted regulations that properly suit their business models.

Dairy Producers

I met with several members of the dairy industry this week, including the National Milk Producers Federation. For a long time, I have been raising alarm bells about the influx of Canadian companies buying U.S. processing facilities, and now we have to worry about trading practices that could be in violation of the current NAFTA trade agreement with Canada. I am keeping a very close eye on this situation as it develops and have sent letters to the Administration and discussed this issue with Agriculture Secretary Perdue.

Dairy Farmers of America

Two young farmers, Adam Keuchle and Casey Schlauderaff, who are members of Dairy Farmers of America, came in this week to discuss issues important to their operation. They met with staff member Mary Knigge due to scheduled votes. The main issues they discussed were important changes to the Dairy Margin Protection program, the importance of having an adequate supply of labor on dairy farms, and how the new Canadian pricing system is causing ripple effects throughout the dairy industry.

Minnesota Emergency Nurses Association

Members of the Minnesota Emergency Nurses Association met with my staff this week discuss emergency medical services (EMS) in the 7th District. I look forward to working with the Association to ensure that Minnesotans have immediate access to time-sensitive and life-saving medications.

Alliance for Childhood Cancer

Kate Merrill of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer visited my office this week to thank me for my support of the Childhood Cancer STAR Act. This legislation would award grants to states to help improve childhood cancer tracking and assist cancer survivors in underserved areas.

Small Business Administration Awards Program

Yesterday my staff attended the 54th Annual Small Business Administration (SBA) Awards Program. Businesses from all over Minnesota were recognized for their entrepreneurship, innovation and dedication to their business and communities. We were delighted to see Ann and Massoud Kazemzadeh from Kay’s Processing and Kay’s Naturals in Clara City recognized with the Encore Entrepreneurship Award! Congratulations Ann and Massoud! I know how important the SBA is to entrepreneurs starting a new endeavor and for small business owners who need access to capital to expand their business. I will continue to support the SBA and policies that help our small business community continue to innovate.

St. Cloud VA Health Care Systems

My staff assistant Meg Louwagie attended the quarterly update for the St. Cloud VA Health Care Systems given by newly appointed Director Stephen Black.

VA VISN-23 Network Director

VISN-23 Network Director Janet Murphy and Fargo Director Lavonne Liversage stopped by the office to meet with my staff to discuss how rural veterans access health care. They also discussed the newly built VA facility in Bemidji. Minnesota is home to 367,000 vets, about 9 percent of the state’s total population over 18 but only 31 percent of these veterans use the VA health care system. The VA distributes roughly $2 billion dollars in compensation, pensions, and medical care.

National Grocers Association

My staff was able to meet with Russell Lund III, Chairman, President and CEO of the Lunds & Byerlys grocery chain. He was in town for the National Grocers Association annual conference. Mr. Lund spoke about the need for tax reform and how the border adjustment tax proposal will affect his industry. They also discussed the importance of reducing the cost of swipe fees and ending anticompetitive practices used to set fees and rules to help consumers save billions of dollars.

Legislative Update

American Health Care Act

This week, the House passed the American Health Care Act. I voted against the bill because, like the previous health care bill, this legislation won’t help the people in the middle who are struggling with skyrocketing premiums and unaffordable deductibles. It also jeopardizes the protections for people with pre-existing conditions that so many people from the district need to keep their coverage. Over the last few months I’ve met with hospitals, doctors, and constituents from across the district who have concerns about the bill including the significant cuts to Medicaid funding and eligibility. This political exercise only delays the inevitable bipartisan work which will be needed to fix our health care system.


National Small Business Week

April 30 – May 6 is National Small Business Week, which serves as an opportunity for us to acknowledge the positive impact small businesses make throughout the United States. Beginning with John F. Kennedy in 1963, every President has issued a proclamation designating a week in which the nation applauds the contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. With more than half of Americans either owning or working for a small business, these companies form the foundation of America’s economy. Every day, small firms and their employees across every sector are working to grow and become stronger. When they succeed, we all benefit from their innovations, job creating power, and ability to make the United States more globally competitive. You can find the House Committee on Small Business’ Resource guide online here.

Minneapolis VA Health Care System Research Trial

The Minneapolis VA Health Care System is working on research on Gulf War illness and is looking for Veterans who served in the Gulf War from 1990-1991 to take part in a research trial. The research will be done at the MVAHCS and participants will receive $100 and be compensated for mileage. If interested please contact Rebecca Rudquist, BSN Research Coordinator at 612-467-6351 or Ronald Bach, PhD, Chair of Research and Development Committee Gulf War Illness Research at 612-467-4418.

Mental Health Awareness Month

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced this week that as part of its recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month it is promoting “Use Your Voice,” a national awareness program that encourages Veterans to seek mental health treatment if they need it.

The Use Your Voice program is designed to let not only Veterans, but all Americans know that reaching out for mental health information and support is just as important as talking to one’s doctor about diet, blood pressure, joint pain or other health challenges. Individuals and organizations can make a difference and get involved by downloading, sharing, tweeting or posting a variety of content located at

For more information on mental health treatment, Veterans’ personal stories of recovery and a locator tool to find Veterans’ resources across the country, visit VA’s Make the Connection website at

This Week in American History

On May 1, 1926, Sauk Centre's Sinclair Lewis declined the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Arrowsmith, the first time the award had ever been turned down. Lewis claimed all prizes and titles make writers disingenuous and prone to writing according to current popular trends, rather than literary merit. His other novels include Main Street, Babbitt, and Dodsworth.

Spotted in the Seventh

Can YOU guess what was Spotted in the Seventh? Each week, the newsletter will feature a landmark or site somewhere in Western Minnesota. The first person to name the location wins! The location of the photo as well as the winner will be revealed in the next newsletter.

This week’s landmark is home to dozens of fully operational military aircraft and vehicles…

Congratulations to Helen Guggemos of Hutchinson for being the first to correctly identify our last location as the flag found at Millerbernd Manufacturing in Winsted!

Share your guess on our website –

Amber Wieberdink (CLARA CITY)