Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 8/15/2014

Garden at USDA

Dear Friends,

As August reaches its mid-point, I continue to travel the 7th attending fairs and meeting with families, including a young constituent who reminds us of the importance of addressing healthcare needs. I also met with farmers, landowners, and other leaders from Minnesota agriculture organizations at the Cover Crop Field Day and Agriculture Leadership Conference. Finally, my tour of the Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County showcased the dedication of Western Minnesotans to helping lower income families find, build, and finance homes.     



Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Brenna Drevlow

Drevlow Family Visit

Joe and Jodi Drevlow recently reached out to me and shared the story of their six-year-old daughter, Brenna, who has Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. This condition occurs when the body's immune system attacks its own cells and tissues, and it causes persistent joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. I was honored to meet Brenna and hear her and her family's story. I am a member of the Bicameral Congressional Arthritis Caucus, a bipartisan forum that addresses the issues that arthritis sufferers face. I am also a cosponsor of H.R. 460, Patients' Access to Treatments Act of 2013. Right now some health insurers are moving vital medications into "specialty tiers" that require patients to pay a percent of the actual cost of these drugs, rather than a fixed and flat dollar amount. These specialty tiers make medications for kids like Brenna very difficult to afford. This legislation would fix that by establishing cost-sharing limits so families like the Drevlows don't have to suffer financially to get the medication their daughter Brenna needs.

Minnesota Agriculture Leadership Conference

John Mages (BELGRADE) Board Member, MN Corn Growers

This week I met with leaders from Minnesota agriculture organizations at the Agriculture Leadership Conference. The Conference featured speakers that discussed the 2014 Farm Bill as well as everything from crop insurance and conservation programs, to the Renewable Fuel Standard and beginning farmers. The event was hosted by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.

Thief River Falls Airport

Kurt Wiseth, Darryl Tveitbakk, Ryan Walseth, Joe Hedrick (Airport Manager)

The suspension in service to Thief River Falls Airport continues to have a negative impact on the community. At this time, there is still no word from Great Lakes Aviation about when or if they can resume air service to the airport. I met with the Thief River Falls Airport Advisory Group to discuss strategies for returning an air carrier to service the community. We discussed my meeting with Doug Voss, Chairman and President of Great Lakes Aviation, when I expressed my serious concern about this disruption in service and made clear to him that we need to resolve this issue. We are working together to find a way to resolve this issue and bring service back to Thief River.

Habitat for Humanity

ReStore Volunteers, Dian Lopez (Board Member), Lori Anderson (Executive Director), Irene Vagle (Board President), and Robert Voltz (ReStore Manager), Lornette Ledum (First AmeriCorps VISTA/ Office Coordinator), Tristan Richards (AmeriCorps VISTA), Randy Hansen (Construction Manager), and Allan Cowles (USDA Rural Development)

Yesterday, I visited the Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County in Alexandria to tour their office, the ReStore, a furnishing and home improvement donation store, and a recent Habitat build. Habitat for Humanity is a Christian housing ministry which assists in helping lower income families find, build, and finance homes. Recently, Rural Development of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been partnering with Habitat for Humanity to provide low interest rate direct loans for individuals to finance the construction of their Habitat homes, creating a valuable opportunity for government and community organizations to work together for the greater good. I commend Habitat for Humanity for helping create permanent and successful homeowners with the skills to maintain both their finances and their homes themselves. Organizations like Habitat create healthier communities across our country, and their work has not gone unnoticed, by me, Minnesotans across the state, and certainly the families they have helped.

Swift County Fair

Brett Petersen (MURDOCK)

Levi and Brittany Berge (SUNBURG)

You may remember seeing Levi and Brittany Berge in last week's newsletter when I visited their family farm in SUNBURG - on Wednesday we caught up at the Swift County Fair in the livestock barn.  

Farm Water Management and Cover Crop Field Day

Karlen Nelson (Nicollet), Stu Frazeur (CANBY), Mary Homan and Trudy Hastad (Lac Qui Parle Watershed)

On Wednesday I attended the Farm Water Management and Cover Crop Field Day at the Lloyd and Wendy Schrunk Farm where I met with farmers and land owners about the latest in water management, cover crops, pollinators, and the future of agriculture drainage. Clean and abundant water is a defining feature of Minnesota, and this event was an opportunity for farmers to learn more about how to manage this resource and increase crop yields with sub-irrigation and cover crops. At the forum, I also talked about my concerns with the EPA’s proposed Clean Water Act and the impact it would have on our agriculture economy.

Richard Bolstad

Richard Bolstad, Minnesota son and Vietnam War POW, was buried with full military honors at Arlington Cemetery on Wednesday. Dick enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserve in 1948 and served in Korea with Fox Company of the 7th Marine Regiment of the 1st Marine Division until he returned to the US in 1951. After receiving an honorable discharge in April 1953 and reenlisting in July of the same year, he volunteered for duty in Vietnam in 1964 where he flew an A-IE, a propeller-driven late-WWII vintage aircraft. During a support mission, Dick was forced to bail over North Vietnam on November 6th, 1965. After spending 2,656 days in captivity, the cease-fire of January 1973 helped return him home during Operation Homecoming the next month. He is survived by his wife “Sissy” and his daughter Liz, who worked in my office in Washington, DC. 

No One Left Behind

More than 83,000 Americans are missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and the 1991 Gulf War. The Department of Defense Prisoner of War and Missing Personnel Office dedicates itself to the recovery of those who became missing while serving our nation.


Lyon County to Receive Disaster Aid

This week the Disaster Declaration in effect for Minnesota was expanded to include Lyon County. Up to 75 percent of the County’s emergency work, infrastructure repair, and mitigation project costs will be covered by this newly available federal disaster assistance.

Minnesota Housing Finance Agency

On July 21st, a Major Disaster Declaration was issued for Minnesota communities impacted by severe weather. This declaration provided federal assistance for public entities such as counties, cities, and townships. The Declaration did not, however, make assistance available to individuals, as Minnesota did not meet the threshold set by FEMA to qualify. In order to assist residents affected by the recent disaster, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency will provide loans of up to $70,000 for homes or rental properties damaged by floods. More information about these loans is available on the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency’s website.

County Courthouse Tour

Lyon County Courthouse 1910/Present

Kiel’s Hotel, Lyon County’s “first courthouse,” began conducting County business in Marshall for much of 1873. Shortly thereafter, Marshall became the county seat and began to construct a small brick-frame courthouse which burned one week prior to its dedication in 1891. Lyon County then built the structure that comprises the central section of the present courthouse in 1892. The Victorian Romanesque building has been altered considerably over the years, but retains its original courtroom on the second level.

This Week in American History

August 14th marks the 79th anniversary of the enactment of the Social Security program. Signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935, Social Security has proven a reliable source of income for the millions of seniors and families that depend on it. The combined purchasing power of Social Security recipients, nearly $775 billion a year, also supports state economies and local businesses. In the 38 counties that make up Minnesota's Seventh District, we have more than 148,000 residents receiving benefits. The monthly monetary benefits from Social Security for the district are over $163 million. Social Security remains an important social and economic engine in the United States, and an enduring agreement between generations to safeguard the nation’s elderly.

Visitors from the 7th

Chris, Curtis, Sylvan, and Dennis Tauer (SPRINGFIELD)

Rachel Halber (Litchfield)
Rachel Halber (LITCHFIELD)
2014 Congressional Art Competition