Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 6/22/2018

Leonard, Anita and Nathan Runck (LAMBERTON)

Dear Friends,

I continue to hear from constituents about the need to act on important issues like immigration, border security, reauthorizing farm programs, and addressing the opioid crisis. I was disappointed that the House chose to double down on a partisan approach to both immigration and farm legislation. I am hopeful that cooler heads will prevail when the farm bill moves to a conference committee. There I hope we can construct a final bill that can get broad support from both parties, which is the only way that a farm bill can get enacted into law. Similarly, there are bipartisan approaches to immigration that address workforce and security issues that should have the opportunity to be considered by the House. A bipartisan approach to legislating creates better policy that can stand the test of time. I was glad to see a number of measures pass on opioids this week, but will continue to push for the funding and regulatory teeth needed to fully address this crisis.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

GOP Farm Bill Passes House

This week, the House Republican farm bill passed with only partisan support. Twenty Republicans joined all Democrats in opposing the bill. I led this effort because the bill that my Republican colleagues put together doesn’t adequately protect our farmers in this uncertain farm economy, and it leaves our hungry even more vulnerable with its partisan attacks on SNAP. I look forward to conferencing the bill with the Senate, provided they can get their bill passed, because I believe we can fix what needs fixing and deliver a good bill for farmers, ranchers and consumers through the conference process. Following yesterday’s vote, I issued the following statement:

“The partisan approach of the Majority has produced a bill that simply doesn’t do enough for the people it’s supposed to serve. It still leaves farmers and ranchers vulnerable, it worsens hunger and it fails rural communities. The only upside to its passage is that we’re one step closer to conference, where it’s my hope that cooler heads can and will prevail. The Senate’s version isn’t perfect, but it avoids the hardline partisan approach that House Republicans have taken here today, and if it passes, I look forward to working with conferees to produce a conference report both parties can support, which is the only way to get a farm bill enacted into law.”

In addition to my statement, I had the opportunity to be hosted by local radio stations. Follow the link below for a more in-depth take on the Farm Bill.

KLGR Interview

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Scott Keefer (Vice President of Policy and Legislative Affairs)

I met with Scott Keefer of Blue Cross Blue Shield this week to discuss Medicare Cost Plans. Many Minnesotans are enrolled in Medicare Cost plans and enjoy the flexibility and comprehensive coverage that they provide. As Congress prepares to implement a transition to a Medicare Advantage market next year, I plan to introduce legislation to allow Cost Plan beneficiaries to remain in their plans. This legislation will help ensure consistency in benefits and avoid unnecessary delays or interruptions to coverage.

Job Creation Opportunities in Rural Country

Moorhead’s Community Solar Garden // Construction on the Great Northern Transmission Line

I have always supported an all-the-above energy strategy which diversifies our energy portfolio and provides jobs. Minnesota is requiring utilities to provide 25% of their electrical generation from renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydropower by 2025. This commitment will have challenges, and I encourage energy construction projects to hire as many local workers as possible to boost the economic impact in our rural communities.

Significant renewable energy projects are being built throughout rural Minnesota. Minnesota Power is building the Great Northern Transmission Line to bring hydropower into our electrical grid. Moorhead built several community solar projects which allow local consumers to invest in renewable energy. Wind turbines are being built throughout the state.  

There are currently seven major wind projects in southern Minnesota. A study by the North Star Policy Instituteestimates that these projects alone will create 1,280 jobs. If these jobs are filled by local workers, it will generate $64.8 million in local spending as opposed to $19.1 million if non-local workers are used. Non-locals usually take their wages and spend it back home where they live.

As Minnesota continues to construct more renewable energy projects to meet its mandate, I urge energy construction companies to hire local workers and keep the benefits in rural communities.

Students from the 7th

The Close Up program provides the opportunity for students across the country to come to Washington, D.C. I enjoy learning how each student is selected to participate in this program. This week I meet with students from White Earth who were selected by local law enforcement agents and other community members. The group included White Earth Celebration winners and other students who aim to be leaders in their community.

Dakota Overland

This week I met with Dakota Overland, a young Minnesotan and a seasoned competition shooter. Dakota recently represented the United States in France in an international shooting competition. She was visiting Washington as a Minnesota representative of the DC Project, a group of 50 women dedicated to fostering relationships with legislators as faces of responsible gun ownership. I enjoyed getting to meet Dakota, and discussing shooting and hunting with her. I look forward to hearing about more of her accomplishments and I wish her the best of luck in future competitions.

Farm Bill Meetings

Members of my staff attended Senator Kloubuchar’s Farm Bill meetings throughout the district this week.  Each meeting was an opportunity for constituents to share ideas on different areas of the Farm Bill.  Topics included the Rent caps on CRP land, vaccine banks, ARC payments, USDA Rural Development, Grazing on CRP land as well as staffing shortages in the NRCS and FSA offices.

Workforce Solutions Meeting

There have been several meetings over the last two years that have addressed workforce issues in Minnesota. This week my staff joined in a meeting in West Central Minnesota to identify specific issues and solutions for employers, workforce systems, the education and training system, and local community issues. We can solve very difficult problems when we work together. I want you to know my commitment to supporting efforts to build a stronger workforce.

Groundwater Protection Rule

My staff attended a Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) Groundwater Protection Rule Meeting in Pipestone this week. MDA is working through the rulemaking process and is seeking input for changes to the rule. You can find more information on meetings being held around the state and provide your comments on the rule here.

Saint Cloud VA Update

My staff aide attended a quarterly briefing at the St. Cloud VA and was updated on the accessibility of the VA, PTSD track, Community Living Centers, Residential Rehab and Treatment Programs, as well as Telehealth to home programs. These updates offer valuable information on the status of the VA medical system, that can be used to further improve care for our veterans.

Minnesota Chamber Statewide Policy Tour

My staff attended Minnesota Chamber Statewide Policy Tour on policies enacted by the Minnesota State Legislature during the last session. The meeting discussed priorities for the 2019 Legislative session. The Chamber is hosting several Statewide Policy Tour meetings June 4th – 30th. Click here to find a meeting near you.

Southwest Initiative Foundation

This morning my staff aide Jacki Anderson attended the Southwest Initiative Foundation’s Changing Times – Changing Faces, a regional event about how our changing diversity is an opportunity in the workplace. I appreciate the work the Southwest Initiative Foundation does to support our local economy and help our community grow.

Southwest Minnesota Area Transportation Partnership

My staff attended the Southwest Minnesota Area Transportation Partnership meeting on planned transportation improvements for 2019-2022. The Minnesota Department of Transportation will begin a project in the Willmar Area this summer to provide a direct connection between the Marshall and Morris subdivisions of the BNSF Railway network, and to increase freight access to the City of Willmar’s industrial park. You can find more information on projects in your area at the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s website.

James J. Hill Historic Site at Northcote

(Left) A photo of the ranch taken from atop a nearby grain elevator - courtesy of George Hanson

Five miles north of Hallock on Highway 75 buildings of the James J. Hill Northcote Ranch still exist.

James Jerome Hill, the “the Empire Builder” was a Canadian-American railroad Executive (1838-1916). James J. Hill and his wife, Theresa Mehegan, had ten children. In 1910 James J. Hill made his youngest son Walter (1885-1944) manager of the farm at Northcote in Kittson County. Northcote was a 3000-acre bonanza wheat farm and ranch for milking shorthorn cattle. The family build a 24-room home in 1912 that featured a swimming pool, numerous barns and outbuildings, a grain elevator and water tower. Thomas Edison was a friend of James J. Hill and they built a dam to provide electricity.

After James J. Hill died in 1916, Walter Hill left Northcote and the Hill farm was sold. The home was purchased by Byron and Marva Hanson and they moved there in 1967. The Hill Home is still owned by the Hanson family.  taken from top of grain elevator and complements of George Hanson.

Legislative Update

Opioid Legislation

The House passed several opioid-related bills this week, but it once again failed to consider legislation that provides needed funding or takes consequential steps to combat addiction. Moreover, Republican Leadership refused to allow debate or a vote on my bipartisan amendment to H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, which would have restored the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) ability to block suspicious shipments and prevent drug diversion. More than ever, Congress needs to ensure that the DEA has the authority that it needs to keep our communities safe and healthy.


Fall Internship Application Deadline Approaches

I highly encourage all college students and recent graduates interested in serving Minnesota’s 7th district and gaining first-hand knowledge of our government to apply to intern in my Washington, D.C. office. The deadline for submitting applications for a fall internship July 1, 2018. I am proud of the talented young people in our district and look forward to seeing the next group of students here in Washington.

For more information and to apply, visit my website. This is a paid equal opportunity position.

Office News

Amanda Tucker of my Washington, D.C. staff recently accepted an offer to work at the United States Department of Agriculture through the Presidential Management Fellowship program. I wish her the best of luck in her next endeavor.

This Week in American History

Saint Mary’s Falls Canal (Sometimes referred to as the Soo Locks)

On June 18, 1855, St. Mary's Falls Canal opened at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. It connected Lake Superior to Lake Huron and the lower Great Lakes, eventually permitting the mass transport of wheat, coal, and iron ore from Minnesota to points east.

What’s the Story?

According to legend, Paul Bunyan was a lumberjack that was as big as a mountain and strong as a grizzly bear. Often featuring his giant blue ox Babe, stories are told of Bunyan’s fantastic strength and the extraordinary feats of labor he accomplished. The birthplace of this great lumberjack is claimed by Bemidji, the home of the Paul and Babe statues shown in the pictures above. I choose to display a Paul Bunyan and Babe mug in my Washington, D.C. office to share this great piece of Midwestern folklore with my guests.

“Beneath the Waves”
Camen Andrews
Fergus Falls