Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 6/27/2014


“Lake Superior Lighthouse,” Kourtney Hammerschmidt (BLOMKEST)
2014 Congressional Art Competition

Dear Friends,

As heavy rains and flood damage continue to affect communities and homeowners, I traveled across the 7th District to see firsthand all the response and recovery work that is ongoing.

This week, I supported a bill on the House Floor to reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. I met with Kristin Zeidler to hear about her family's struggle to bring home their four-year-old adopted girl from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I also welcomed our district’s winner of the 2014 Congressional Art Competition to Washington, DC.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

MN Flood Assessment

Sibley, Redwood, and Murray Counties

On Saturday I flew into Pipestone and was able to assess the damage in Pipestone and Murray counties by helicopter and see the damage with my own eyes. I landed in the Edgerton City Park and talked to local officials about their concerns. Governor Dayton has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist the state in conducting Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDA) to public infrastructure damages in 49 counties beginning next week. We continue to assess the situation across the district as more heavy rain and winds are expected this weekend.

House Passes CFTC Reauthorization

Delivering a Floor Statement

On Tuesday, the House passed H.R. 4413, the Customer Protection and End-User Relief Act. This is bipartisan, reasonable legislation to reauthorize the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission that I believe strikes the necessary balance to actually become law.

The bill protects farmers and ranchers who use the futures markets because it cements several new regulatory protections into law, makes basic changes and reforms to the CFTC to make it more effective and further clarifies Congressional intent that end-users who did not cause the financial collapse can continue to use derivatives to hedge against risk.

This bill is supported by a large number of agriculture and energy organizations including: the Minnesota Farm Bureau, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, the Minnesota Grain and Feed Association, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and the American Public Power Association.

I spoke in support of the bill on the House floor and you can read and see video of my remarks here:

DRC Adoption Legislation

Kristin Zeidler, mother of adopted child in DRC (MONTEVIDEO)

On Wednesday I met with Kristin Zeidler (MONTEVIDEO) who contacted my office two months ago to share her family's struggle to bring home their four-year-old adopted girl from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The problem is that in September 2013, the Congolese government stopped issuing exit permits to adopted Congolese children seeking to depart the country with their adoptive parents.

I introduced legislation, H.Res. 588, to help the Zeidler family and the hundreds of other American families who are caught in the middle of this unfortunate development in DRC adoptions. Already it has seen strong support on both sides of the aisle. On Thursday, the bill was marked up in the House Foreign Affairs Committee and passed unanimously. Now the legislation awaits action on the House Floor, and I am hopeful that House Leadership will decide to schedule it for a vote.

It was good to meet with Kristin this week and hear the story of her daughter firsthand. The Zeidler family legally her adopted in December 2012 but they are still unable to bring her home. Kristin was joined by other families who are trying to bring home their adopted children from the DRC, and we discussed the importance of finding a resolution. Families who've gone through this adoption process shouldn't have to keep waiting to bring these children home.

Biodiesel Volume Letter

I took action and led a bipartisan letter signed by 51 other House members to President Obama expressing concern over reports that the Administration is considering issuing a final 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) of 1.28 billion gallons for biodiesel, which would effectively cut the industry’s production by at least one-third from last year’s demonstrated volume. The letter stresses the fact that biodiesel producers around the nation have the ability to produce nearly two billion gallons a year of the only EPA-approved and commercially available advanced biofuel. I’m concerned about the negative impact this could have on the biodiesel industry, particularly small producers. You can read the letter in the attachment at the end of the newsletter.

Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation

Jeff Crane (President, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation)

This week I met with Jeff Crane, the President of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, an organization that connects sportsmen with lawmakers to advance conservation, hunting, and fishing related legislation. Jeff stopped by to award me this year’s “Top Gun-Member Of Congress” award from the 2014 Congressional Shootout- an event which allows Members of Congress and members of the sportsmen’s industry to compete in Trap, Skeet, and Sporting Clays. Throughout my tenure in Congress, sportsmen’s issues have always been a priority, between my time as a member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus as a chair of the Caucus, and my work in the Agriculture Committee to advance conservation measures. I look forward to continuing to work with sportsmen to advance the needs of the hunting and fishing communities, and the wildlife we all rely on.

Citizens Climate Lobby

Ron Moore (St. Paul), Patty Bracey (BRANDON), Jeanne Johnson (ALEXANDRIA), Jerry Sattinger (Minneapolis), and Judith Rose (ALEXANDRIA)

I met with Minnesota members of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) to hear an update on a new report that discusses impacts of a fee-and-dividend carbon tax designed to give revenue back to the public.  The group was in Washington for the 5th Annual Citizens’ Climate Lobby/Citizens’ Climate Education Corp International Conference.  According to its website, CCL advocates for a stable climate and aims to empower individuals to realize their personal and political power.

MN Association of Secondary School Principals

Mike Finco (President elect, MASSP), Trish Perry (MASSP State Coordinator/Principal, NEW LONDON-SPICER Middle School)

This week I met with Mike Finco, the President Elect of the MN Association of Secondary School Principals and Principal of Hibbing High School, and Trish Perry, Principal of New London-Spicer Middle School, to discuss the state of education in Minnesota and the work that needs to be done to enable the lasting improvements that teachers and principals like these have implemented to continue to change the lives of our children. One topic that continues to come up during the education dialogue is E-rate and technology funding, to make sure our children are learning using the most up to date resources we have available. This funding has become vital to rural school districts and continues to be a tool to keep every school on the same page. I commend the hard work our teachers and administrators, like Mike and Trish, continually put in towards bettering the lives of our children in Minnesota and across the country.

Congressional Art Competition

Kourtney, Joe, Darla, Kaylee, and Kendra Hammerschmidt (BLOMKEST)

This week I welcomed Kourtney Hammerschmidt and her family to Washington, DC to celebrate her winning entry in the 2014 Congressional Art Competition. Each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school competition to encourage and promote artistic endeavors in each of the nation’s 435 Congressional districts. Since 1982, the competition has received over 650,000 visual art submissions. This year’s winning entry for the 7th district, Kourtney’s “Lake Superior Lighthouse,” is now displayed in the tunnel connecting the Cannon House Office Building to the Capitol.

County Courthouse Spotlight

Redwood County Courthouse 1970s, 2010s

The Redwood County Courthouse, built in 1892, has served the county for over 100 years. The Romanesque Revival-Style structure was designed by E. P. Bassford (St. Paul) and built out of Granite from a quarry in north Redwood and bricks from the New UIm brickyard. At the time of construction, live trials and hearings were a popular form of spectator sport.  Many improvements have since been made to the building, including remodeling, expansion, and wiring for electrical needs such as telephones and air conditioning.

This Week in American History

Alexander Ramsey, the first territorial governor of Minnesota, arrived in Saint Paul with his wife and son on June 25, 1849. Originally from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Ramsey also served as the second governor of Minnesota after statehood in 1858, and is credited with being the first Union governor to commit troops during the Civil War. Today, the Minnesota Historical Society preserves his house as a museum, and the Alexander Ramsey Park in Redwood Falls is the largest municipal park in the state.

Visitors from the 7th

David, Angie, and Taylor Homann (PIPESTONE)

Darla, Joe, Kendra, Kourtney, Kaylee Hammerschmidt (BLOMKEST), Laura Olson (HUTCHINSON), Beth, Cy, Jacob, Gus, Cole Flick (DASSEL)

Lauren Wubben (CLARA CITY)
2014 Congressional Art Competition