Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 5/6/2016

May 6, 2016 Issues: Education, Health

Dear Friends,

The House of Representatives was in a district work period this week, allowing me the opportunity to head home to Minnesota. Above, you can see the plane I pilot in order to get around the district. In Minnesota I met with CHS, the Minnesota based global agribusiness to discuss the upcoming Farm Bill and other issues important to the farming community. In Washington, my staff met on a variety of healthcare issues, sitting down with groups from the Minnesota Hospital Association, A-Vu Media, Sanford Health, the American College of Physicians, and the Minnesota Breast Cancer Association. Finally, I am happy to announce the close of the 2016 Congressional Art Competition and congratulate all who participated on their impressive artwork and talent. You can see the winning artwork below.



Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

CHS, Inc.

Gary Anderson, Tom Malecha, Rick Dusek, and John Engelen

On Tuesday afternoon, I traveled to CHS Headquarters to visit with members of their leadership team to discuss a number of issues including the Renewable Fuel Standard and the upcoming Farm Bill. CHS supplies energy, crop nutrients, grain marketing services, animal feed, and food ingredients, along with business solutions including insurance, financial and risk management services across the United States.

Central Minnesota Builders Association

Craig Schoenberg, Jane DeAustin, Rachel Gruber, Pete Cluever, Jerry Lang

On Tuesday, the Central Minnesota Builders Association hosted me in St. Cloud for a discussion on awareness of federal issues facing their industry including the Clean Power Plant Rule, the Waters of the United States (WOTUS), Lead Paint Rule, small business healthcare, regulatory relief, and workforce needs. It was good to connect with this group again and hear about their issues and concerns.

Healthcare in the 7th

This week, a number of groups met with my office to talk about healthcare. Members of the Minnesota Hospital Association discussed a number of issues from expanding mental health services, to finding better ways to serve those with chronic illnesses and addictions to opioids. These issues are not simple, and that is why many of their creative solutions involve collaborating with other professionals and looking at patient health in a more comprehensive way. Providing high quality services in rural areas can be a challenge, and that is why maintaining support for critical access hospitals and their mid-sized neighbors is so important.

Telehealth promises to bring high quality healthcare services to rural areas while reducing the cost of healthcare. John Goodmann, President & CEO of A-Vu Media visited the office about initiatives they are working on to expand telehealth services to nursing homes and hospitals. As technologies like Facetime and Skype have become more common, more patients and their families see this technology as a way to improve their access to higher quality healthcare. Telehealth is another tool that can benefit rural communities, but we can’t fully develop this opportunity unless we have high speed broadband.

Tim Rave, a Public Policy Vice President with Sanford Health visited the office to talk about their progress building and expanding hospitals in the region. He also thanked me for my previous efforts to help preserve psychiatric services in Thief River Falls. Prior to taking his current position, Tim served in the South Dakota State Senate, and also flew fixed wing aircraft and helicopters for emergency transportation services. Sanford employs over 6,000 Minnesotans and approximately 27,000 people in the region, making it a significant employer in the area. 

Representatives from the American College of Physicians talked about a wide range of issues from reimbursement rates for physicians to the need for more tools in the fight against opioid addiction. In the meeting, the doctors also discussed one of the top healthcare issues I hear from constituents across the 7th – the spiraling cost of healthcare. One way to hold down costs while improving care is to find better ways to treat chronic illnesses and expand efforts to coordinate care.

Highway 2 Manufacturers

The Highway 2 West Manufacturers group met on Wednesday at the Sanford Center in Bemidji to talk about their work on partnerships between industry and technical education. The group heard from several area educators who work with businesses in their regions to provide career technical education to K-12 classrooms and show students about opportunities in the manufacturing industry. Educators from Bagley Schools and Cass Lake-Bena Schools gave presentations about the work they're doing to identify and attract students who have an interest in hands-on technical work and have math, science and engineering skills, in order to potentially place them in apprenticeships that give them a leg up on careers in the technical field. The meeting also featured a mobile tech lab from St. Cloud State University that travels to school districts throughout Minnesota to show students how to operate specialized equipment that their classrooms might not have access to.

Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI)

Shannon Schlecht with the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) visited my office to provide an update on the good work they are doing to increase the value of agriculture products in Minnesota. AURI works on dozens of projects in the state across four different focus areas including: renewable energy, food, co-products, and bio-based products. Their labs help with everything from commercializing biobased sealants for roads to developing more efficient ways to heat turkey barns using biomass. AURI is a great resource for folks that have an idea and want to turn it into an agriculture based business or product. Minnesota’s rural economy needs innovation and research to continue to grow, and AURI is a strong partner in that effort.

Minnesota Breast Cancer Coalition

Members of the Minnesota Breast Cancer Coalition visited my office this week in support of H.R. 1197, the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act. As a co-sponsor of the bill, I understand the important role that government can play in identifying and investing in strategies to combat and eliminate the disease. I look forward to working with the coalition as the legislation progresses and appreciate the efforts of its volunteers to improve the lives of those impacted by breast cancer.  

Fergus Falls Chamber Breakfast

On Wednesday, the Fergus Falls Chamber of Commerce held a small business appreciation breakfast to recognize the contributions that small businesses make in their communities. A panel of business owners shared their stories and provided an interesting take on the challenges and opportunities that exist for small businesses in Greater Minnesota. The panel included local small business owners including Jenny and Greg Stumbo, who own Stumbeano's Coffee Roasters, Stephanie Ellingson who owns several retail stores in Fergus Falls, Perham and Wahpeton, and Karla Connelly from M&R Sign in Fergus Falls.


Congressional Art Competition

I am happy to announce Underwood High School junior Erin Andersen as the winner of the 2016 Congressional Art Competition. I selected Erin’s piece from nearly 100 submissions from the Seventh District. Andersen’s artwork, an acrylic painting titled “Girl” will be featured for one year in the Cannon Tunnel, which connects the House Office Buildings to the U.S. Capitol. Her artwork will be part of a display featuring high school artists from all 435 Congressional Districts. She will travel to Washington, D.C. in June for a reception honoring Congressional Art Competition winners from across the country and will be awarded a $2,500 scholarship to several art colleges around the country!

Artwork by competition semi-finalists, Central Minnesota Christian School senior Katrina Broten (“Beauty in Rust”) and Fergus Falls High School senior Dee Gease (“Untitled”), will be displayed in my District offices.

I’d like to extend my thanks to all who participated – it was a tough choice. There is a lot of talent in the Seventh District, and I look forward to seeing Erin’s piece displayed in Washington. Other participants will be displayed in my newsletter weekly, and I encourage students to submit new artwork next year. You can see this year’s winning art below and read more about it here.

“Girl” by Erin Andersen (Underwood High School)
First place winner

“Beauty in Rust” by Katrina Broten (Central Minnesota Christian School)

“Untitled” by Dee Gease (Fergus Falls High School)

National Small Business Week

Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. National Small Business Week takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Every day, they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.

You can find help for your small business in the Small Business Resource Guide from the House Committee on Small Business.

Discovering the 7th


The Niiemii statue in Bemidji was built in 2000 as a dedication to all native dancers in honor of Janet Esty, a prominent Indian Arts supporter. The Niiemii, which means "he dances," is a silhouette-style statue depicting a pow-wow dancer in traditional style.

This Week in American History

Capitol construction site in 1896, Capitol building in progress, completed Capitol building

The groundbreaking ceremony for the current Minnesota Capitol Building was held 120 years ago today, beginning a construction project that would last almost 10 years. The original design was inspired by the United States Capitol dome, with multiple details in homage to its style. Work began on the Capitol in 1896, and the building opened for legislative business in 1905. It is the third building to serve this purpose: the first Capitol was destroyed by fire in 1881, and the second was completed in 1883 but was considered to be too small almost immediately. Today the Capitol building houses the Minnesota Senate, Minnesota House of Representatives, the Minnesota Supreme Court, as well as the offices of the Attorney General and the Governor.

“Meal time for a National icon”
Lacee Peterson (CROOKSTON)