Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 6/24/2016

Jun 24, 2016 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Education, Energy

A newspaper clip from 1959, the year I won
Grand Champion over All Breeds in the 4-H division

Dear Friends,

Student achievement is critical to for personal development of students and also the economic health of our communities. This week, I welcomed the White Earth youth participating in 4-H, along with the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals. I also met with members of the Corn Growers Associations this week to discuss the Renewable Fuel Standard and the benefits it has on our rural economy. The Agriculture Committee continued their work evaluating the SNAP program, and discussed the increasing use of technology to help farmers. Finally, I was happy to welcome Erin Andersen, our Congressional Art Competition winner, to the Capitol on Thursday to celebrate her artistic success in this year’s competition.  

Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

4-H Youth

White Earth youth participating in the 4-H program stopped in my office to share stories on what they learned from 4-H. I am a strong supporter of the program as I was a member raising cattle when I was 6 years old through high school. During county fair season, I often buy livestock from 4-H participants to help support their good work.

National Corn Growers Association

Chip Bowling, President of the Corn Board

On Wednesday, the National Corn Growers Association visited to support my efforts in maintaining a strong Renewable Fuel Standard. Ethanol is a renewable, high-octane fuel that is processed from corn and is used in our nation’s fuel supply. The RFS has helped shape an industry that creates American jobs, boosts our rural communities, and decreases our dependence on foreign oil. I will continue to fight for a strong RFS by clearing up the myths that critics use against ethanol.

Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals

I met with Trish Perry of New London-Spice Middle School and President-Elect Kathy Nickelby of the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals this week to discuss the state of education in Minnesota. We discussed everything from the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to my consistent support in the ongoing battle over reauthorizing Perkins funding which assists with Career and Technical Education (CTE) in Minnesota. I will continue to do everything in my power to provide the flexibility our educators need to provide quality education to the youth of rural Minnesota.

Congressional Art Competition

Erin and her mother Julie

On Thursday, I was happy to welcome Erin Andersen to the Capitol all the way from Underwood to celebrate her work in the Congressional Art Competition. Erin joined competition winners from all over the nation at a reception and awards ceremony, where she was able to see her art on display. Congratulations on all of your hard work paying off, Erin!  

Homeownership Month

June is National Homeownership Month.  This week my Senior Economic Development Staffer, Toni Merdan, accompanied the USDA Rural Development State Director, Colleen Landkamer, to several locations across my district to highlight the role housing plays in small towns and rural communities.  With 50 million Americans living in rural America, access to quality, safe housing is an important factor to a high quality of life.  USDA Rural Development provides homeownership opportunities to low and moderate income rural individuals through several grant and loan guarantee programs.

Barrett Care Center

Betty DeClercq, Jeanine Junker, Colleen Landkamer, Les Junker, Kent Hedstrom, Barrett Mayor Les Alvstad, and Karen Alvstad

Also for recognition of Homeownership Month, Toni Merdan accompanied Colleen Landkamer on a tour of the Barrett Care Center in Barrett, Minnesota.  The Barrett Care Center and the Rolling Hills Residence, the Assisted Living Community is a privately owned and operated community dedicated to the care of the elderly.  They received a Rural Energy for America grant from USDA Rural Development for energy efficient lighting.  Also, Runestone Telephone Cooperative received a Rural Economic Development Grant from USDA Rural Development to start a revolving loan fund and their first loan went to the Barrett Care Center for their expansion project which was just completed this spring.

MMCDC Partnership with USDA


Colleen Landkamer presented Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation (MMCDC) with an award to recognize their partnership with USDA Rural Development in both the Single Family Housing Guaranteed and Direct programs. They are also one of Minnesota's top 10 producers for the Guaranteed program.  The group toured a new home in Detroit Lakes that was just completed. Update

There was a lot of activity this week on the House Floor as members of Congress demanded the ability to vote on bills related to guns. This led to a late night of votes for a few bills that had previously been on the schedule.

I voted in opposition to a resolution which attempted to override the Presidential veto of a partisan measure to strip protections for people investing in the market. When people work hard and invest their retirement savings in the market, they should be confident that the investment advice they get puts their needs first. My vote will help do just that.

I also voted in support of the conference report which combines a funding bill for the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs accounts for fiscal year 2017 with emergency funding to address the Zika health emergency. Although I supported the measure, the decision to not allow any debate on the bill from Democrats could make it more difficult to pass future appropriations bills and other measures.

Past, Present, and Future of SNAP: Evaluating Effectiveness and Outcomes in Nutrition Education

The Agriculture Committee held a full Committee hearing Wednesday, continuing the Committee’s review of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). “Past, Present, and Future of SNAP: Evaluating Effectiveness and Outcomes in Nutrition Education” was an opportunity for members to hear more on SNAP education efforts. SNAP education and outreach continues to serve an important role and I think there are a lot of lessons that can be learned from some of the efforts states have undertaken. I am hopeful that the information we gained can be combined with the information from past hearings and we can focus on developing good policy. You can watch a video of the hearing here

Big Data and Agriculture: Innovation in the Air

The Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management held a hearing on Thursday to educate members about innovations in agricultural imagery and technology. The subcommittee heard from a variety of stakeholders about using satellites, manned airplanes, and Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones) as a way to collect imagery that farmers can leverage to make better business and conservation decisions for their farms. You can watch a video of the hearing here


This Week in American History

On June 21st, 1973 the United States Hockey Hall of Fame opened in Evelth, MN, known as the “American Hockey Capitol”. Aimed at preserving the history of and increasing participation in ice hockey, the Hall of Fame has over 150 enshrined members, including 48 Minnesotans.  

Spotted in the Seventh

Can YOU guess what we 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 clue guards the gravesites of more than 1,000 servicemen and women…

Congratulations to Max Kahlhamer of Thief River Falls for being the first to correctly identify last week’s location as the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Thief River Falls!

Share your guess on our website –

Visitors from the 7th

Jim, Jody, Mark, and Julie Paulson (STEPHEN/PERHAM)

John, Claire, Lydia, and Molly Flaspohler (MOORHEAD)

Debra Hagman, Malique and Devante Delbrune (MOORHEAD)

“Grand Marais Sunset (Self-Portrait)”
Jade Bedel (CLARA CITY)