Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 6/30/2017

Lac Qui Parle County

Dear Friends,

As the House of Representatives begins to consider tax reform, I am reminded of the importance of certainty in the tax code to promote growth for our communities as a whole. This week, I met with several groups advocating for fair tax policies, including 3M and American Crystal Sugar. Continuing my work on the Lake of the Woods Pilot Program, I welcomed officials from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to my office to discuss the progress being made to make it easier for tourists and resorts to explore the Boundary Wilderness. Finally, I’d like to wish everyone a happy 4th of July as we celebrate what a privilege it is to be an American.

Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District


Jed Larkin, VP of Tax and Real Estate; Tom Geier, Head of Federal Affairs; Kristine Orbell, Sr. Manager of Global Income Tax Accounting and US Governance; Omar Vargas, Global Head of Gov Affairs

Representatives from 3M stopped by the office to discuss tax reform. Like me, they would like to see legislation passed this year to allow their company leadership to plan for the future. Businesses need certainty above all else, whether they are a large manufacturing facility or a small mom-pop local business. 3M employs over 2,100 people across the 7th district, in Alexandria, Hutchinson, and Staples.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol

Chris White, Rose Marie Davis, and Colleen Manaher

Three U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials responsible for overseeing implementation of new border check technology in the Lake of the Woods region came to my office to provide an update on their progress. Tourism plays a crucial role in the Lake of the Woods’ economy, and this technology will make it easier for visitors and fishermen to enjoy pristine fishing conditions along the Minnesota-Canada border. I look forward to the pilot program getting underway as soon as possible.

2017 Congressional Art Competition

I welcomed Meghan Listerud and her mother Amy to the Capitol in recognition of her artwork Minnesota Chicken, which won this year’s Congressional Art Competition (CAC) for the 7th District! The CAC is a wonderful opportunity to promote young artists throughout our county, and I am proud to display such terrific talent all the way from Prinsburg. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!

Minnesota 4H

Meeting with 4-Hers this week; a newspaper clip from 1959, the year I won Grand Champion over All Breeds in the 4-H divisio

I met with a group of Minnesota 4-Hers who were in Washington for the Citizenship Washington Focus program. This is an outstanding week-long citizenship and leadership development program for 4-Hers ages 14 to 19. This year, the group told me one of their discussion topics was about young farmers. I told them about my own experience as a 4-Her and young farmer and answered their questions about being a Member of Congress. As I told the 4-Hers, what I find particularly rewarding about being a Member of Congress is getting to help people who are having trouble with the government and, in my leadership role on the Agriculture Committee, being able to make the farm bill better for people. I enjoyed the chance to meet with these 4-Hers and wish them all the best in their future leadership roles!

Beltrami Island State Forest Trails

A huge crowd packed the DNR Forestry Office in Warroad for a trails discussion regarding Beltrami Island State Forest. The heavy rain did not deter the standing-room-only crowd. DNR officials presented the Phase 2 proposal for changes to the current trails in the forest. Many area sportsmen and women, mainly representing Lake of the Woods-Roseau Sportsmen’s Club and the Grygla-Foretown Sportsmen's Club, wanted to discuss a 7/10 tenth of a mile washed-out connection between two trails. 

I recently met with DNR Commissioner Landwehr about this project and he committed in that meeting to working with stakeholders to make it happen. I also have been in contact with the Fish and Wildlife Service about the need for them to get on board with this common sense restoration project. I will continue to fight until it gets built, and see the bureaucratic objections to this project as a prime example of how the federal government is not doing a good job of managing the land it owns in a way that is benefiting the people.

As a lifelong sportsman, I am in favor of restoring the trail connection that was damaged and ultimately closed as a result of flooding in 2002. Without restoration, ATV riders experience an eight mile detour. DNR officials appreciated the new input including some historical details. Additional input will be accepted for the next 30 days, but recreational users requested that this section of trail be included in the DNR Commissioner’s Order. 

Comments on the trail proposal can be sent to:”” until July 28th, 2017.

American Crystal Sugar

On Tuesday, I met with a group from American Crystal Sugar who was in Washington to do some leadership training. It was the first visit to Washington for several in the group, who were accompanied by American Crystal board leadership, and I enjoyed visiting with them on a number of topics.

Regional Airline Association

This week, I met with members of the Regional Airline Association to discuss the Essential Air Service Program (EAS) program. EAS provides subsidized flights to many rural airports in the 7th District, helping connect and strengthen economies across greater Minnesota. I recently signed an appropriation letter that would fund EAS in FY18 and sent another to the Department of Transportation explaining its benefit to the state.

Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen

David Brown, Minnesota State Chairman of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), visited my office this week to discuss rail safety. I look forward to working with David to ensure that the 7th District’s rail operations continue to be safe and effective.

Pheasants Forever

This week I met with Dave Nomsen from Pheasants Forever to continue discussing farm bill conservation programs, especially the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Wildlife habitat is one of the important benefits of CRP along with other environmental, rural economy, and water quality benefits. In the lead up to the next farm bill, I believe we must work towards simplifying and reforming CRP to make it easier for farmers to participate and allow more acres into the program.

NAMI Minnesota

Members of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota met with my staff this week to express concern over Republican proposals to reduce funding and coverage for mental health services. Particularly in rural areas, it is more important than ever for Congress to work toward expanding, not eliminating, access to mental health services.

Minnesota Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Donna Gjesvold, Brenda Schwerdt, Jana L. Dengel, Rebekah Solem, Laura Perdue

My staff aide Rebekah Solem met with the Minnesota Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on Monday to talk about the importance of funding federal programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). They also discussed the importance of maintaining the Prevention and Public Health Fund, noting that research has shown significant savings for preventing health issues rather than treating them down the road.

AgriGrowth Regional Workforce Session

A member of my staff was able to attend one of the four Regional Workforce Sessions hosted by the Minnesota AgriGrowth Council. The purpose of these sessions is to educate agricultural and manufacturing employers in finding solutions for attracting, recruiting, and retaining a labor force. Industry leaders in attendance were able to provide best practice strategies. I will continue to work on finding ways to retaining and expanding our local workforce.

Broadband Taskforce

This week my staff attended the Governor’s Broadband Taskforce meeting where projects were highlighted in southwest Minnesota. It’s great to hear to benefits communities and businesses are seeing from broadband investments. One of the projects highlighted came from an implement dealer that explained how increased access and bandwidth has enhanced farm equipment and helped farmers to improve their business operations with greater accuracy, productivity and efficiency. These encouraging stories only validate the need for broadband everywhere, and I will continue to support expanded broadband access throughout the district.

Rural Economic Development

My staff attended a Rural Economic Development (RED) this week where they focused intra-dependence in rural areas. Professionals from all over come together to discuss how rural works with rural. One of the quotes reflected on at the meeting was Lila Watson’s “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” These are wise words that prompt us to be more thoughtful about the work we are doing, how we do it and who we are engaging in the work. As your Congressman I will continue to work with you as we move forward on new opportunities and seek solutions to overcome challenges.

Legislative Update

Agriculture Committee Update

The House Agriculture Committee on Tuesday held a hearing, “Clearing the Next Crisis: Resilience, Recovery and Resolution of Derivative Clearinghouses.” Central clearing is the backbone of the futures industry. When we wrote Title Seven of Dodd Frank we anticipated that clearing could also become a central component of the swaps industry. Now, nearly 10 years after the financial crisis, that change is taking place. I think we can all agree that making our markets safer is a good thing. The hearing was an opportunity to discuss current policies that are in place to manage a potential future crisis, and how clearinghouses are prepared if we find ourselves in a crisis situation again.


Health Care Forum in Detroit Lakes

I will be a featured panelist alongside Peter Jacobson of Essentia Health and Katie Lundmark of Ecumen. The forum will take place on July 6th at the Holiday Inn in Detroit Lakes, and will go from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.

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.

Spotted in the Seventh

Can YOU guess what was 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 landmark is a state park famous for its Sioux quartzite cliffs and expansive views; from the right vantage you can see Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota...

Congratulations to Mark Rice of Moorhead for being the first to correctly identify our last location as the Wind and Solar Community Farm in Moorhead!

Share your guess on our website –

“Bountiful Harvest”
Courtney Wolf (CLARA CITY)