Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 6/14

Jun 14, 2013 Issues: Health, Veterans

Kandiyohi County Dairy Ambassadors:
Caroline Holmberg (PENNOCK), Kristen, Kate, and Meghan Dimler (WILLMAR), Eva Damhof (WILLMAR)
West Central Dairy Days
Willmar, MN

Dear Friends,

 As we celebrate National Dairy Month, a number of festivals are being held in communities across the 7th District in tribute to the hard work of our dairy farmers.  The Senate passed their version of the Farm Bill late Monday night, so now it is up to the House to finish our work and get both sides to conference.  I recently introduced a bill to name the Fergus Falls Federal Courthouse after Judge Edward Devitt, a well-respected public servant.  This week I met with a number of folks and organizations from across the 7th District, including AARP, Minnesota Biodiesel, and Cenex Harvest States.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

 June is National Dairy Month

Upper left: Lilly Radermacher (BROOTEN); Upper right and lower left: Dairy Days in HUTCHINSON; lower right: Kandiyohi County Dairy Farmers Build-A-Burger with Todd Mattison (WILLMAR)

 Peterson introduces bill to name Fergus Falls Federal Courthouse after Judge Edward Devitt

Last week I introduced a bill to name the Fergus Falls federal courthouse after Judge Edward Devitt. Judge Devitt had an exemplary judicial career and was a dedicated public servant. His service to Minnesota spanned decades, from the Naval Reserves, to the U.S. House of Representatives, as an assistant attorney general and as a judge.

The late Judge Devitt, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, was appointed to the federal bench by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954. He became chief judge in 1957 where he served until taking senior status in 1981. He passed away on March 2, 1992.

Devitt was born in St. Paul in 1911 and was elected municipal judge in East Grand Forks, Minn., in 1935, right out of University of North Dakota Law School. He served as an intelligence officer in the Navy during World War II, receiving the Purple Heart. He was elected to Congress from Ramsey County in 1946 but lost his seat to Eugene McCarthy in 1948. In 1950 he was elected Ramsey County Probate Judge until he was appointed to the federal bench in 1954.

The Fergus Falls Federal Court House serves the Seventh Judicial Circuit and includes the counties of Becker, Benton, Clay, Douglas, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Stearns, Todd and Wadena. The other Federal Court Houses in Minnesota are in St. Paul, Minneapolis and Duluth.

Farm Bill Update: Passes Senate, Heads to House

On Monday evening the U.S. Senate approved S. 954, the 2013 Farm Bill. Today’s Senate vote brings us one step closer to having a new, five-year farm bill in place this year. Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Cochran did an excellent job and I applaud their leadership.  This process has gone on far too long but with the strong bipartisan support in the Senate, I’m optimistic the House will be able to consider our farm bill next week. It’s going to be difficult but if everything stays on track, I believe it’s possible to get a bill to the President before the August recess, finally providing some certainty for our farmers, ranchers and consumers.

On Wednesday, Speaker Boehner announced that, despite some reservations, he will support the House Agriculture Committee’s farm bill. I think House Leadership is finally getting the message that this has gone on long enough and it’s time to pass a new farm bill. The House Rules Committee has announced a potential meeting next week to set the parameters for debating the farm bill on the floor of the House. Of course, there’s always a chance this could get derailed but, as I told Joel Heitkamp on KFGO's News on Views Thursday, I’m about as optimistic as I’ve been throughout the nearly three years I’ve been working on this bill. 

Military Matters

Military-VA Funding Bill Clears House

Last week, the House passed the Military Construction-VA funding bill 421-4. HR 2216 is the first appropriations measure to be advanced by the House this session. Overall the bill provides $157.8 billion for veterans programs and military construction in FY 2014. The bill also included several amendments designed to reduce wait times for disability claim decisions to include increased funding for a paperless claims system for digital scanning of health and benefits files to help VA in its goal to end the backlog by 2015.  Other highlights included:

  • $57.5 billion for VA medical care accounts (this includes $54.5 billion for advanced appropriations for FY 2014)
  • $55.6 billion in advanced funding for VA Medical programs for FY 2015.
  • $290 million for disability claims systems
  • $35 million for TBI and PTSD research
  • $252 million to establish a single, integrated Department of Defense (DOD) and VA electronic health record system


State President Dr. Lowery Johnson, State Director Michele Kimball

On Wednesday I met with AARP Minnesota Director Kimball and AARP Minnesota President Johnson to discuss the important work they are doing on behalf of seniors in our state.  I appreciate their efforts as they provide a voice to thousands of folks across the 7th District.

Cenex Harvest States (CHS)

Lisa Zell, Jerry Hasnedl (ST.HILAIRE), CCP, David Johnsrud (STARBUCK), John Engelen

I met with the CHS Board of Directors to talk about the status of the Farm Bill and the Water Resources Development Act.  Owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the country, CHS is a global agribusiness that seeks to support and help grow the businesses of its customers, farmer-owners and other stakeholders.   

Minnesota Biodiesel

I sat down with members of the Minnesota Biodiesel Council to talk about issues of importance to the industry.  The mission of the organization is to promote the use and understanding of biodiesel, educate consumers and biodiesel industry partners, and advance the use and acceptance of biodiesel as an alternative to petroleum-based diesel fuel.  Members of the Minnesota Biodiesel Council include biodiesel stakeholders, producers, and feedstock suppliers. 

This Week in American History

On June 8th, 2013, the Minnesota Twins played their first game against the Washington Nationals in the District of Columbia in forty-two years. The Twins entered the series with a 26-31 record. St. Paul native and long-time Twins catcher Joe Mauer broke a 2-2 tie in the 7th inning with a deep homer in left field, pulling the Twins ahead by a run. But the evenly matched teams took eleven innings for the Twins to ultimately win the game 4-3. Many 7th District constituents came by the office to see the U.S. Capitol on their way to the baseball games last weekend.

The Minnesota Twins and Washington, D.C. have an interesting history with each other. The Minnesota Twins were originally the Washington Senators, but when their historic manager died in 1955, he handed the team’s reigns to his nephew, Calvin Griffith. Griffith leased the Senators’ stadium and started looking at other cities to move the team. Impressed by the Twin Cities, Griffith made the decision to move his club there and named the team after the Midwest cities. The old Washington Senators became the Minnesota Twins in 1961.

Constituents from the 7th Visit DC

The Hegland Family: Evan, Eli, and Grace.  Ed and Dawn Hegland (APPLETON)

Mark and Angie Qual (Lisbon, ND), Jessica and Aaron Radermacher (BROOTEN)

Pat and Steve Dinsmore (STARBUCK), Ryan and Justin Amundson (STARBUCK), Nick and Gabe Abraham (LONG PRAIRIE), Isaac Zavoral and Linda DeMers (EAST GRAND FORKS) 

Today is Flag Day

On June 14, 1777, the design of our national flag was approved by the Continental Congress.  It is believed that George Washington commissioned Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross to create a flag for the newly formed United States.  To this day there have been 27 official versions of the U.S. flag, and the placement of the stars varied until President Taft standardized their arrangement in 1912.

If you live in the 7th District and would like to purchase a U.S. flag, my office is happy to help you make arrangements.  There is no limit on the number of flags you may order. You may also request that your new flag be flown over the Capitol for an additional charge. Flags may be flown for a particular person, event, or organization, and may be flown on a specific date.  If you request a flag to be flown on a specific date, please submit your request at least 6 weeks in advance.  If you have a more urgent request, please contact my office at 202-225-2165 and we will try our best to accommodate you.  A certificate of recognition is included with each flag.  To purchase a flag, you can fill out the flag order form on my website by visiting the following link:  

"America in Haste"
Morgan Howard (WARREN)
Entry for 2013 Congressional Art Competition