Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 7/31/2015
Becker County Fair
Before returning to Minnesota for the August district work period, I took part in the Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture hearing to examine the avian influenza outbreak that has impacted many of Minnesota’s poultry growers. I also helped introduce the Regulation Sensibility Through Oversight Restoration (RESTORE) Resolution. This resolution would establish a joint select committee to study federal regulations and ensure that they serve constituents as efficiently as possible. Finally, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, I offered my support to a resolution that will help protect funding for both programs and secure their accessibility to millions of Americans.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Missouri River Energy Services
Deb Birgen, Vernell Roberts (DETROIT LAKES), Larry Buboltz (DETROIT LAKES), and Jody Peck
On Tuesday, I met with representatives of Missouri River Energy Services, a non-profit agency that helps municipalities operate their own electric and power systems. Western Minnesotans depend on affordable and stable rates to power their homes and businesses, and I will continue to support services that bring electricity to rural communities.
Glenn Stolt (Sleepy Eye), Mark Campbell (St. Joseph), Brian Foster (New Ulm)
I met with Glenn Stolt, CEO of pork producer Christensen Farms (Sleepy Eye), and Mark Campbell, CEO of pork processor Triumph Foods (St. Joseph, MO), on Tuesday. Christensen Farms is the largest producer-owner of Triumph Foods, which recently announced plans to build a new pork processing plant in Sioux City, Iowa. We talked about trade and GMO labeling, as well as the new facility.
I was a guest on Tuesday’s AgriTalk with Mike Adams. We discussed the GMO Labeling bill (H.R. 1599) which was recently passed by the House, efforts to repeal country of origin labeling, and the fight over dairy and trade agreements.
Minnesota Nurses Association
Kathy Winger (BEMIDJI)
This week, the Minnesota Nurses Association met with my office about the importance of Medicare. With this week marking the 50th anniversary of the program, it was great timing to discuss the ways Medicare has worked to improve the lives of countless Minnesotans during this time. I appreciate their advocacy of this program on behalf of the people that benefit from it, and I will continue to work to protect and strengthen this program so it is around for future generations.
Minnesota Retailers Association
On Wednesday, members of the Minnesota Retailers Association met with staff aide Adam Durand for an update on their legislative priorities for the year. The success of Minnesota retailers is tied to the overall economy. That is why they are interested in everything from finding ways to improve our transportation system to controlling health care costs. In today’s competitive business environment, the retailers are also focused on ways they can keep prices low for consumers by finding relief from new labeling laws and slowing down a number of regulatory changes being considered by the Administration.
Todd County Soil and Water Conservation District
On Wednesday, staff aide Allison Myhre attended the Todd County Soil & Water Conservation District 50th Anniversary open house in Long Prairie. A large crowd turned out to join current and past staff and celebrate the conservation efforts of Todd County residents. Early in 1965 after an intensive educational campaign by a steering committee of county commissioners and interested people, 170 petitioners circulated among Todd County landowners to petition the Minnesota Soil Conservation Commission to form a soil and water conservation district for Todd County. Over 1,200 signatures were obtained. The Todd Soil and Water Program was organized on March 29, 1965 by the Todd County Commissioners and certified by the Secretary of State on April 12, 1965. Leadership and governance is provided by the board of five locally-elected Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) supervisors.
Tru Shrimp Systems
This week, my staff aide Meg Louwagie attended a meeting at Ralco Nutrition, Inc. to hear about their Tru Shrimp Systems. Created to license and build large-scale shrimp production facilities in Minnesota, Tru Shrimps Systems strives to provide a safe and sustainable source of shrimp.
The Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture held a hearing Thursday to review the federal and state response to avian influenza. The Seventh District has been ground zero for the outbreak and I welcomed the witness testimony on what has been done thus far and what we can learn for the future.
Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act: 5 Years
The Agriculture Committee held a hearing Wednesday to recognize the fifth anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. As a result of the Committee’s work, the derivatives markets as a whole are now much safer. But, there is more work to be done.
On Thursday I joined my colleague Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Mich., to introduce the Regulation Sensibility Through Oversight Restoration, or RESTORE, Resolution (H.Con.Res.67). Overly burdensome regulations are wreaking havoc on our rural communities, farmers and ranchers, and small business owners. The resolution would bring together a Joint Committee to study federal regulations, make recommendations to reduce their burden on hardworking Americans, and analyze the feasibility and options for creating a review process in Congress. Establishing a new review process that allows for more input from those who will actually be impacted by new rules and regulations will help ensure that laws are implemented the way Congress intended.
Waters of the U.S.
This week I supported two additional measures in opposition to the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. or “WOTUS” rule. I co-sponsored a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act which would require the EPA to pull the rule. To be successful, and to overcome the anticipated veto from the Administration, this resolution would need a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate. I also signed onto a letter asking the Office of Inspector General to see whether the EPA violated any laws when they developed the WOTUS rule. While agencies are in the middle of a major rulemaking like the WOTUS rule, it is inappropriate to be using federal funds to lobby the public or prejudge the final result.
Highway Trust Fund
This week, the House passed another short term extension of the Highway Trust Fund. Although extending the highway funding was necessary to prevent states from running out of funds on July 31st, another short-term extension is irresponsible. I have heard from countless Minnesotans that they want and need a long-term extension, and I hope that the next time Congress addresses this issue in October we will do just that.
Discovering the 7th
The Pierre Bottineau Memorial, commissioned in 2000, stands in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Red Lake Falls. The memorial depicts the life of the famous surveyor, whose expeditions into U.S. territories helped bring frontier settlements and industry to Minnesota. In addition to founding Breckenridge and Red Lake Falls, Pierre Bottineau also served as an instrumental guide in the Transcontinental Railway survey of 1853.
This Week in American History
Signing the programs into law, 1965
President Johnson signed the Medicare and Medicaid programs into law on July 30, 1965. For more than 50 years, these initiatives have helped millions of Americans secure quality and affordable healthcare. This week, I offered my support to a resolution that calls upon Congress to protect funding for both programs. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will mark the anniversary by exploring their past and future contributions to the nation’s healthcare system.
Visitors from the District
Norm, Duane, Myrtiss, Calli, and Chelsea Riedger (WILLMAR), Connor and Rheagan Thompson (KS), Matthew, Nancy, David, and Amanda Bittman (ALEXANDRIA)
Skylar Borchardt (LITCHFIELD)
Skylar, a student at Drake University, is spending the summer as an intern for Senator Franken.
Madi Asche (RAYMOND)
2015 Congressional Art Competition