Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 8/1/2014

Canola Field, Wannaska MN

Dear Friends,

Before returning home to travel the state and meet with Minnesotans over August, Congress approved legislation to improve care for veterans as well as provide funds for transportation projects. This week, I met with Missouri River Energy Services to ensure that reliable energy sources will continue to power rural Minnesota communities, and with the Minnesota Retailers Association to continue our efforts toward marketplace fairness. I also welcomed “Champions of Change for the Future of American Agriculture” from the 7th to my office, and congratulated Polaris Industries on 60 years of success with their celebrated business. Also included in this newsletter is information regarding broadband development programs, and a bill that will help protect farmers and foresters from costly and unnecessary regulations.                                                                                                 



Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Polaris Industries

J.R. Burke (Government Relations, Polaris) and Rep. Dan Fabian (MN-1A), Todd Peterson (Roseau Community Development Director)

On Sunday I traveled to Roseau as the community celebrated the 60th Anniversary of Polaris Industries. The company was founded in Roseau in 1954 by David Johnson, Edgar Hetteen, and Allen Hetteen, and has grown from a snowmobile manufacturer to include all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles and electric vehicles. The Roseau factory employs 1,600 people in the community of 2,600. With headquarters now in Medina, the company also has engineering, manufacturing and distribution facilities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and South Dakota - and is growing internationally. Congratulations to Polaris and its employees on 60 years of success!

Minnesota Retailers Association

Ruthena Fink (Grand Jete Inc., St. Paul), Bruce Nustad (President, St. Paul)

Ruthena Fink and Bruce Nustad of the Minnesota Retailers Association stopped by this week to discuss the landscape of the retail industry and the problems traditional retail business models face in a growing online shopping culture. The MN Retailers Association represents traditional retail shops, many of which are the heart of rural towns and big cities alike. I was honored to receive the National Retail Federation’s “Hero of Main Street” award which recognized my support of marketplace fairness. These individuals recognize the importance of true brick and mortar retails stores across America.

Missouri River Energy Services

John Perino (ALEXANDRIA), Mayor Sara Carlson (ALEXANDRIA), Shelby Kuntz (Owatonna), Corinne Stefanson (MOORHEAD), Mayor Tom Kuntz (Owatonna), Larry Buboltz (DETROIT LAKES), Bill Schwandt (MOORHEAD), Al Crowser (ALEXANDRIA), Deb Birgen (Sioux Falls)

I met with representatives from Missouri River Energy Services (MRES) on Tuesday to talk about important issues including EPA rules and tax policy that impact the 61 municipal owned electric distribution systems that make up this non-for-profit. I will continue to work with MRES to ensure that Minnesotans have a reliable and affordable source of energy.

Champions of Change

Ryan and Tiffany Batalden (LAMBERTON)

On Tuesday, I met Ryan and Tiffany Batalden, fifth generation beginning farmers from Lamberton, who were honored at the White House as Champions of Change for the Future of American Agriculture. The White House hosted the Agriculture Champions of Change event to recognize local agriculture leaders who are working in innovative ways to support the next generation of farmers and ranchers.  Ryan and Tiffany grow certified organic corn, oilseeds and small grains on 340 acres of land in Cottonwood County while also raising a small herd of livestock.  In addition, they have a direct market popcorn business called Patriot Pops.  Ryan and Tiffany are involved with the Land Stewardship Project and, as part of their efforts to promote sustainable agriculture, are enrolled in the USDA’s Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).  The Bataldens have three young children – Finn, Lilly, and Stella.  I was proud to support their nomination by the Land Stewardship Project for this honor.  Congratulations to the Bataldens on their outstanding work in agriculture!

Southwestern Center for Independent Living

Representatives from the Southwestern Center for Independent Living, a group dedicated to serving the needs of persons with disabilities in Southwestern Minnesota, visited Washington this week. Based in Marshall, they offer a wide array of independent living services to assist people with disabilities in order to maintain self-control over their lives and increase their quality of living. From in-home services and referrals to assistance with the Department of Veterans Affairs, they are a great resource to Southwestern Minnesotans in need of direction when faced with a disability. I commend the Southwestern Center for Independent Living for all they do to assist our disabled family and friends while ensuring a greater quality of life.

Agriculture Subcommittee Hearing on Broadband

This week the Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit held a hearing to discuss the importance of broadband infrastructure in rural America. Reliable and affordable broadband internet service is a vital tool for job creation, business innovation, education, and health care. I will continue to work towards targeting funds for broadband development programs in communities across the Seventh.

Redwood/Renville Regional Materials Recovery Facility Groundbreaking

Redwood/Renville Co-Officials/Artist rendering of completed facility

On Friday, the Redwood/Renville Regional Solid Waste Authority (RRRSWA) and residents of Redwood and Renville Counties broke ground for their new, state of the art solid waste transfer and recycling facility. This project is a good example of how government should work. The cooperation and planning of two counties, with financial assistance from the State of Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, will provide efficient, economical processing of municipal solid waste, make household recycling easier by allowing co-mingling of recyclable items, and grow the local economy by creating about 20 new jobs. I am proud to represent Redwood and Renville Counties which have taken leadership on such an exciting project, and I look forward to visiting the new solid waste facility in the near future.

Anheuser-Busch Beverage Company Open House

Judd Carlson with Clydesdale (Malt Plant Manager, MOORHEAD)

This week, the Anheuser-Busch Beverage Company held an open house event at their Malt House in Moorhead, Minnesota. Attendees were able to tour the Malt House, the mobile Budweiser Brewmaster Unit, and see the Clydesdales for a special attendance hitch visit. The company employs 42 people at its Moorhead plant and purchases barley for malting from farmers across the region.

* Legislative Update

The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act

I spoke on the House Floor this week supporting H.R. 935, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act. This legislation will amend the Clean Water Act and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIRFA). This bill will help protect farmers and foresters from a potentially costly regulatory burden. It passed the House by a vote of 267 to 161, and was supported by a broad range of agriculture organizations.

August in Minnesota

Before adjourning for the August recess, allowing me to travel around the 7th and meet with Minnesotans, Congress approved bipartisan agreements to improve care for veterans and support the Highway Trust Fund. Whether it is the Farm Bill, care for veterans or transportation policy, Congress works best when members from differing viewpoints come together in a bipartisan spirit to address challenges confronting our nation. I will continue to be a voice for bipartisan and pragmatic solutions as Congress considers legislation important to Minnesotans.


Red River Valley Water Storage and Retention Project

The US Department of Agriculture has selected the Red River Retention Authority to present a full proposal to participate in the USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCCP). Participation in this program will help address water issues in the Red River Valley by reducing flooding, improving water quality, and increasing wildlife habitat.

Major Disaster Declaration Expansion

After successfully urging the President to issue a Major disaster Declaration last month to assist Minnesotans impacted by floods and severe weather, the Administration has extended the Declaration to include 26 additional Minnesota communities. For the full press release and a list of added communities, click here.

County Courthouse Tour

Clay County Courthouse 1954/Present

Clay County’s first courthouse, built in 1879, was a one-story brick building with a single-arched roof and arched windows and doorways. A Romanesque-style brick structure replaced the original in 1883, with a room-sized corner tower and a steep pyramidal roof, but was subsequently demolished in 1954 when the courts moved into their current three-story rectangular block building in the county seat of Moorhead. Clay County is named in honor of American statesman Henry Clay, who served as Speaker of the House from 1823 to 1825 and Secretary of State from 1825 to 1829. 

This Week in American History

John S. Pillsbury, Pillsbury A-Mill (Minneapolis)

Upon arrival in Minnesota from Sutton, New Hampshire in 1855, John S. Pillsbury found success in the flour-milling trade. Pillsbury co-founded C.A. Pillsbury and Company with his nephew Charles Anthony (after whom the company is named) in Saint Anthony, where he built what was for 40 years the largest flour mill in the world, along with five operational mills along the Mississippi River. Pillsbury’s grain was processed with steel rollers, the first of their kind in the United States, and required transportation, prompting the Pillsburys to provide funding for many of Minnesota’s early railroad development initiatives. Pillsbury also served as Minnesota’s eighth governor from 1876 to 1882. In 2001, the Pillsbury Company merged with long-time rival General Mills Inc., and sold the rest of their brands to the J.M. Smucker Company.

Visitors from the 7th

Aidan, Mark, and Annie Hunter (ROOSEVELT), Lois, K. Wendell, and Tanya Kelm (FERGUS FALLS), Tina and Jalen Baldwin (MADISON)

Mike and Laura Gonshorowski, Su Botner (MOORHEAD), Eberle Family (DETROIT LAKES)

Evan, Cael, Josh, Lauren, and Kris Benson (APPLETON), Brianna, Brogan, Brian, Brenda, and Brett Harguth (MAYNARD), Statue: Statue of Freedom Replica, Capitol Visitors Center

Kyla Athman (LITCHFIELD)
2014 Congressional Art Competition