Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 6/15/2018
In honor of Flag Day, June 14
The House of Representatives voted on several of opioid-related measures this week, to address opioid over-prescription and substance abuse. While many bi-partisan policies were successfully passed, no long-term funding solution were considered. We must have comprehensive solutions to give our communities the tools they need to fight against this crisis.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
This week, I had the opportunity to sit down and discuss policy with members of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. The conversation ranged from frivolous lawsuits facing Minnesota businesses to immigration policies. I will continue to work for regulations that allow our businesses to succeed, and I appreciate the Minnesota Chamber's efforts over the years to help good policy be enacted.
American Petroleum Institute (API)
I have always been a supporter of all forms of energy. Diversified energy production keeps energy prices low for consumers and is good for our economy and our national security. As a member of the Congressional Oil and Gas Caucus, I joined other Members for a meeting with API’s Executive Committee to talk about energy policy. Although Minnesota does not produce oil or natural gas, refineries in our state employ a number of Minnesotans and pipelines provide an important tax base for rural communities. I also voiced my belief that the fight between oil interests and ethanol is counter-productive to our country’s goal of increasing the production of all domestically sourced fuels.
All Ag, All Day Farm Radio
On Wednesday, I talked with Tony St. James, a reporter with All Ag, All Day, which covers agriculture in west Texas. While our areas may produce different crops and commodities, there are many shared areas of concern when it comes to issues. Tony’s listeners grow a lot of sorghum and cotton and raise cattle, so they have many of the same questions about the farm bill, trade, and the RFS as sugarbeet, soybean, dairy and other producers in the Seventh District, and I was happy to discuss those important issues.
American Seed and Trade Association
This past week, I met with members of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) to discuss farm bill topics including conservation and research programs that benefit the seed industry. I reaffirmed my support for agricultural research funding and conservation programs that encourage the development and use of cover crops.
Compeer CMO John Monson, Compeer CEO Red Hebrink, and ag committee staff Lisa Shelton and Mike Stranz.
On Tuesday, members of my Agriculture Committee staff met with leaders from Compeer Financial – a Farm Credit cooperative that serves much of Minnesota along with parts of Wisconsin and Iowa. We discussed Compeer’s efforts to offer loans, credit, and risk management tools to farmers and communities throughout the state. There are plenty of issues that are important to Compeer that are up for debate in the farm bill and I’ll continue to defend loan programs, rural development programs, crop insurance, and the farm safety net.
Minnesota Grain and Feed Association
Laura Lemke (Minnesota Grain and Feed), Dennis Inman (Land O'Lakes), Bob Zelenka (Minnesota Grain and Feed)
Representatives of the Minnesota Grain and Feed Association, and their member company Land O’ Lakes, visited my Washington office this week to talk about issues important to their industry. They discussed trade, immigration, rail transportation, and the farm bill. With respect to the farm bill, the group talked both policy, such as CRP, as well as timing and a path forward.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby
Jeanne Johnson (ALEXANDRIA); Elizabeth Monke, Anna Monke, Beth Monke (FERGUS FALLS); Vicki Morgan (Annandale, MN)
My staff met with representatives from the Citizens' Climate Lobby who were in Washington for their annual fly-in. The group talked about their reasons for participating in the organization, such as their beliefs that taking care of the environment is a moral responsibility. They also talked about the group's "Carbon Fee and Dividend" plan which would seek to incentivize reduced carbon emissions. This group's passion for the issue is clear. As an issue, climate change can get partisan quickly, and we're in need of practical, workable solutions on climate issues that can work for citizens and businesses.
Minnesota Rural Electric Association – Student Trip
Each year, the Minnesota Rural Electric Association sends high school students to Washington, D.C. to learn about our government. The students met with my office and had great questions about everything from agriculture and energy policy to sharing concerns about school safety and ensuring that rural schools have the resources they need to offer a top-quality educational experience.
Farm Bill Meeting
This week my staff joined Senator Smith and Klobuchar's offices at public meetings in Thief River Falls and Hallock. These agriculturally focused meetings brought communities together to discuss many policies included in the current farm bill. Many were concerned about the overall farm economy, including farm income, farm financing, effects of tariffs on farmers, and how the farm bill might help farmers through these tough times.
This week, the House passed dozens of bills related to opioid and substance abuse. Although many of the measures were bipartisan and took steps in the right direction, they do not provide the long-term funding solutions that public and state health officials agree is desperately needed. The United States is facing an unprecedented opioid epidemic, so I was disappointed that Congress also failed to consider legislation to ensure that the Drug Enforcement Agency and Department of Justice have the regulatory authorities required to address it.
Supporting Rural Truckers
Recently, I introduced bipartisan legislation with Congressman Greg Gianforte (MT-At Large) to relieve certain sectors of the trucking industry from the Federal Motor Carrier Association’s electronic logging device (ELD) mandate. The Small Carrier Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act of 2018 will completely exempt businesses which operate ten or fewer trucks from the requirements of the ELD mandate, and the Agricultural Business Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act of 2018 will completely exempt agricultural businesses. I appreciate the input I received from Minnesota’s truckers while developing these bills, and was pleased to receive the endorsement of the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC), the National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC), and the Agricultural Retailers Association.
This week, I introduced the bipartisan Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act with Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL). This legislation will provide increased flexibility to improve the safety and efficiency of livestock haulers across rural America. It will also reduce the stress of travel on livestock, particularly during the summer and winter months. The Cattlemen’s Beef Association endorses this bill.
USDA Extends MPP Deadline
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week a deadline extension for Margin Protection Program (MPP) re-enrollment. The deadline has been moved until June 22, 2018. You can find more information on their website.
25th Anniversary of the Freedom Ride
POW/MIA Flag above the U.S. Capitol and outside of my D.C. office
Tens of thousands of our servicemembers are still Missing in Action (MIA) or Prisoners of War (POW), and the annual Freedom Ride calls attention to the continuing need to bring our soldiers home. Every year, thousands around the country participate in motorcycle rides in honor of our missing soldiers. Many riders are veterans themselves, including Vietnam veterans. I am a partner with the Vietnam War Commemoration working to recognize our Vietnam veterans for their bravery and sacrifice, as all our veterans deserve.
This Week in American History
Bert Enger (Duluth) // Crown Prince Olav of Norway
On June 15, 1939, Crown Prince Olav of Norway dedicated Duluth's Enger Tower, which offers spectacular views of Duluth Harbor and Lake Superior. Bert Enger (1864-1931) was a Norwegian-born businessman who ran a successful furniture store in Duluth. He donated much of his estate to the city after his death.
What’s the Story?
Pheasants Forever is an organization dedicated to the conservation of pheasants, quail, and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education, and land management policies and programs. As an avid outdoorsman, I understand how important conservation practices are to maintain healthy game populations. Pheasants Forever awarded me this Conservation Legislator award in 2002.
Visitors from the Seventh
Capitol Dome Tour -- David and Gwen Sturrock, Alex and Augie (Marshall)