Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 7/24/2015
This week, the House Agriculture Committee welcomed testimony from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack at a hearing on department oversight. Oversight is an important responsibility of the committee, helping to ensure that the agency is operating effectively and efficiently for constituents. Additionally, the House passed the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 this week, establishing uniform labeling standards for genetically engineered food products. Finally, I was happy to serve as honorary host of the annual Congressional Hot Dog Luncheon.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
National Pork Producers
Don Buhl, a pork producer from Tyler, stopped by my office this week. He was visiting Washington as a trade representative of the National Pork Producers. We discussed a range of issues, including Country of Origin Labeling and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
Hot Dog Luncheon
Jeffrey Grev (Director of Legislative Affairs, Hormel)
This week, I was an honorary host of the annual Hot Dog Lunch. Together with the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), a national trade association that represents companies responsible for 95 percent of red meat and 70 percent of turkey processing in the United States, we welcomed representatives of the meat industry to Capitol Hill and enjoyed hot dogs in the Rayburn courtyard.
Minnesota FFA Association
On Thursday, my staff aide Rebekah Solem met with Minnesota FFA Association State President PJ Aarsvold (Altura) and State Vice President Morgan Krause (Buffalo), along with Sarah Dornink, the Executive Director of the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council. The group was in Washington for the National FFA Organization’s State Presidents’ Conference, where two officers from each state participate in a week of leadership training. They focus on the importance of advocating for agriculture and also discuss issues that will come up at the National Convention. PJ and Morgan shared their stories about being involved in FFA and the need for ag education in schools.
On Monday, my staff aide Allison Myhre met with Glenwood resident Judy Eggleston who serves as the Alzheimer’s Association Ambassador for the 7th District. I have met with Judy many times during her travels to Washington for the Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum. I appreciate the work that she and others are doing to advance research to end Alzheimer's and dementia while enhancing care for those living with the disease.
USDA Oversight Hearing
On Wednesday, the Agriculture Committee welcomed USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to testify on department oversight. Having an open dialogue with USDA is important to ensure the Department is operating in the best interests of our constituents and implementing programs as Congress intended. During the hearing I asked the Secretary for an update on the Department’s work to address the avian influenza outbreak that has impacted many in the Seventh District.
Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015
The House on Thursday approved the bipartisan Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 (H.R. 1599). The bipartisan bill establishes a voluntary, nationwide, USDA-administered certification program for labeling genetically engineered food products. The legislation prevents the unworkable scenario of state-by-state, county-by-county or even city-by-city mandatory labeling laws. Importantly, the bill changes the current review process to ensure that every new genetically engineered plant destined to enter the market goes through an FDA safety review. The bill also sets a national, uniform standard to define genetically engineered products. Food producers and processors choosing to market their products as non-GE will be able to do so with a USDA-backed label.
Americans with Disabilities Act: 25 Years
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), enacted by Congress on July 26, 1990, prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. For 25 years, ADA has helped ensure equal opportunity, full participation, integration, and economic self-sufficiency for disabled Americans.
Discovering the 7th
Hopperstead Stave Church Replica
Moorhead’s Heritage Hjemkomst Interpretive Center helps to preserve and display the history and culture of Clay County. Home to the Hjemkomst Viking ship and a replica of Norway’s Hopperstead Stave Church, the center offers visitors access to unique museum exhibits and county archives. The Red River Valley exhibit also preserves the geologic history of the valley and its settlers.
This Week in American History
Robert Asp / Hjemkomst in the New York Harbor
On July 19, 1982, Moorhead Junior High School guidance counselor Robert Asp docked in Norway after a successful trans-Atlantic voyage aboard his handmade Viking replica ship Hjemkomst. More than 11,000 feet of lumber were logged in the ship’s construction, primarily from the countryside in East Grand Forks. After numerous weeks at sea, the ship was displayed in Bergen, Norway for one year before being donated to the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead.
Visitors from the District
Kevin and Annie Wulf (MORRIS), Chaydon and Zavyr Metzger (IA), Meikey and Heidi Roeland (MORRIS)
Yang Family (WALNUT GROVE)
Gabrielle Splonskowki (FRAZEE)
2015 Congressional Art Competition