Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 7/8/2016
Independence Day in D.C. 2016
Happy 4th of July and what an honor it is to be an American. I am grateful every day to live and serve in this country, and I hope you all took the time to celebrate our nation this week. In our Capital, I have been busy working on issues to take care of our veterans, visiting with Colonel Ahlness of the Minnesota National Guard, learning more about the Patriot Assistance Training Program, and attending an Agriculture Committee hearing on the relationship between agriculture and national security with testimony from former military leaders. Additionally, I’m happy to share information on an upcoming Veterans Legal Assistance clinic taking place next Wednesday. Finally, I was pleased to welcome Minnesota business leaders to my office to talk about issues important to our state’s economy.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
I met with a group of Minnesota 4-Hers who were in Washington to participate in the Citizenship Washington Focus program. This week-long program helps young people strengthen important leadership and communications skills as they strive to become better citizens. I talked about my own positive experience as a 4-H member, we also discussed a variety of topics, including conservation, gun issues, and opioid abuse. This was a great group and I look forward to seeing these young leaders continue to engage in their local communities and beyond.
Col. Ahlness came to D.C. this week to serve as testify before the House Agriculture Committee on national security issues. Col. Ahlness is retired from the Minnesota Army National Guard, a native of Windom and commanded the Red Bull Agribusiness Development Team in Afghanistan from 2011-2012. We are proud of the Red Bulls and the many missions they have served around the world, but particularly for their role in helping to redevelop the agriculture economy in Afghanistan. Having worked closely with Eric during his time with the 34th Infantry Division, I can attest to his devotion to his fellow service members and this country.
Employee-Owned S Corporations of America (ESCA)
This week, employee-owned S Corporations of America held its annual national conference and lobby day to champion S Corporations employee stock ownership plans (S ESOPs) as a critical vehicle for American's financial future. When I had my accounting business I used to help set-up and encourage businesses to form employee owned S Corporations. I am cosponsoring legislation to encourage and incentivize owners of S Corporations to sell their stock to an ESOP.
Enbridge Energy Company
Vice President John Swanson and Senior Manager Bill Burlew
Pipelines provide an avenue to relief from railroad and truck congestion due to transporting oil out of the Bakken Formation. John Swanson and Bill Burlew from Enbridge stopped by my office on Wednesday to discuss the latest updates on the proposed Sandpiper Pipeline project, an oil pipeline that would run from Tioga, N.D. to refineries near Duluth.
Patriot Assistance Training Program
“Chance” and his volunteer trainer Lowell Deede visited my Detroit Lakes office as part of the Patriot Assistance Training Program this week. Patriot Assistance Training Dogs fill a specific demonstrated need created by the veteran's disabilities, such as reminding veterans to take medication, interrupting panic attacks and PTSD symptoms, and getting help in an emergency. The PAT Program places these much needed dogs with veterans without charge. I’m happy to support such an important program.
Agriculture Committee Update
The House Agriculture Committee met Wednesday to continue our review of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). At a hearing to “evaluate error rates and anti-fraud measures to enhance program integrity,” I expressed my concerns with the current system where states set the rules but the federal government pays the bill. It doesn’t make sense to me. We’ve made significant progress in eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in SNAP but it’s important, especially with all the flexibility given to the states, that the Committee continue its oversight.
The Committee also held a hearing on Thursday, “Agriculture and National Security: On-the-Ground Experiences of Former Military Leaders.” I don’t think a lot of people understand the important role agriculture can play when it comes to our country’s national security interests – a strong agriculture sector and stable food supply are critical to national security. I was pleased to welcome testimony from Colonel Eric Ahlness, retired from the Minnesota Army National Guard, whom you can find more information on above. I am thankful for his continued service to our nation.
Airport Infrastructure Improvements
The Department of Transportation awarded grants to the Glencoe, Hector, and Winsted Municipal Airports this week, helping to improve the safety and infrastructure of the facilities. Our regional airports must remain in good operating condition in order to meet the region’s growing air transportation needs and strengthen the local economy.
Legal Assistance for Low-Income Vets in Fargo
The Minnesota Assistance Counsel for Veterans and the Fargo VA Health Care System will host its third annual daylong drop-in legal advice clinic for veterans on Wednesday. Services provided are free for low-income veterans. Fredrikson attorneys, along with MACV staff, county veterans service officers, child support officers and lawyers from Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota will be available throughout the day to assist veterans with questions, legal forms and counsel. Popular areas of assistance include: housing, employment, benefits, expungement, wills, debt collection and family law including child support.
The clinic will be at the Fargo Veteran Affairs Health Care System, Third Floor Auditorium, 2101 North Elm St., Fargo, ND from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, contact: Vetlaw Program – MACV 651-200-4750.
This Week in American History
The 4th of July has been a American holiday since 1941, but even before that Americans were celebrating Independence Day. In June 1776, representatives from the original 13 colonies joined together to declare themselves separate from Great Britain. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence. From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence.
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 landmark often announces the hour through its 6 bells…
Congratulations to Vincent Babler of Borup for being the first to correctly identify last week’s location as the Sorlie Memorial Bridge between East Grand Forks and Grand Forks!
Share your guess on our website – https://collinpeterson.house.gov/contact-me/spotted-seventh
Visitors from the 7th
Kimberly, Michael, Jane, and Robert DeAustin (SAUK RAPIDS)
Abigail Mooney (RICHMOND), Danielle Ferrell (Brainerd), Sidney Paulson (MORRIS), Emily Drummond (MOORHEAD), Renee Fast (MOORHEAD), Cody Shaffer (MORRIS), Paige Specken (Hopkins)
Cameron Van Der Puy (PRINSBURG)