Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 8/19/2016

August 19, 2016

The Minnesota State Seal
on display in my D.C. office

Dear Friends,

I continued my visits around the district this week, joining Senator Klobuchar on her “Minnesota Workforce” tour in the 7th. The tour visited many local business and organizations, including the Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation, Twin Valley Living Center, and Far North Spirits. My staff also visited with several agriculture groups this week, discussing ways to help our farming communities with the Minnesota Corn Growers and Youth Farm. Finally, I was happy to join Gov. Dayton in Detroit Lakes to collaborate on the upcoming water treatment facilities plans for improvements.

Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Meeting with Governor Dayton

On Thursday, I joined Governor Dayton in Detroit Lakes to discuss the $34 million in upgrades planned for the city’s wastewater treatment facilities. These new treatment plans will reduce Detroit Lake’s phosphorus runoff by 94 percent, meeting the recently updated standards set by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. I will continue to fight for funding programs that make water treatment systems more affordable for rural communities. You can read more about the developing project here.


Kevin Shipley, President of Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Brian Holmer, Mayor of Thief River Falls

I accompanied Sen. Amy Klobuchar on part of her "Minnesota Works" Workforce Development tour of Northwest Minnesota this week. On Tuesday we met with community leaders, business representatives, the Midwest Community Development Corporation (MMCDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development to learn about continuing housing needs in the community. Earlier this spring the Minnesota Community Development Corporation earned the 2016 Outstanding Housing Partner Award from USDA Rural Development for their work in the state. There are currently two housing developments underway in the area to help alleviate the shortage of workforce housing in the community. We were able to tour one of their newly constructed homes. For more information on MMCDC, please visit  

Twin Valley Living Center

Representative Paul Marquardt; Peggy Kennedy, President of Minnesota State Community and Technical College; Janet Green, Executive Director of Ecumen Detroit Lakes, and State Sen. Kent Eken

My staff assistant, Toni Merdan, joined Sen. Klobuchar on her "Minnesota Works" Workforce Development tour at the Twin Valley Living Center in Twin Valley on Tuesday. She was joined with representatives from the Minnesota State Community and Technical College who is leading the charge to fill the area’s nursing shortage  by offering a Licensed Practical Nursing training program. This allows nursing assistants to continue working while attending college.

Far North Spirits

Michael Swanson, Founding Partner and Owner of Farm North Spirits

Continuing on Sen. Klobuchar's "Minnesota Works" Workforce Development Tour, Toni Merdan joined Klobuchar in Hallock at Far North Spirits. Far North Spirits is the northern most distillery in the United States and is one of a handful of authentic field-to-glass estate producers of small batch, craft distilled spirits. They mill, mash, ferment, distill and bottle all spirits from start to finish. I was happy to cosponsor H.R. 2903, the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act which will help promote job creation and would reduce excise taxes, compliance burdens and outdated regulations in the growing craft beverage, cider, wine and distillery industries. This will help distilleries across the country to operate and expand in their local communities. For more information on Far North Spirits, visit

Youth Farm

My staff aide Rebekah Solem visited Youth Farm in St. Paul to see firsthand the good work the organization is doing in Minnesota communities. Started in 1995, Youth Farm is service-oriented and seeks to grow young leaders through farming. Youth Farm's goals include promoting healthy minds and bodies while creating community. Many students come back year after year to learn how to grow and cook food, engage with other area youth in sports and crafts, and put on a community Harvest Festival. It is inspiring to hear about how farming has contributed to these students' confidence and leadership skills. I wish them continued success and look forward to hearing more about the positive impact that farming has on the lives of Minnesota youth.


Airport Infrastructure

This week, the municipal airports in Wadena and Willmar became the latest to receive infrastructure improvement grants from the Department of Transportation. These grants will help make the airports more accessible by rehabilitating their runways and funding new vertical/visual guidance systems for pilots.

2016 Veterans’ Voices Awardees

The Minnesota Humanities Center announced their 2016 Veterans’ Voices Awardees this week and I am proud to say that Mike Mills from Freeport has received the “Legacy” award. Minnesotans from across the state nominated veterans who have honorably served and have shown exemplary community service. From a host of nominees, 13 “On the Rise” Veterans and 12 “Legacy” Veterans were selected by a panel of their peers to receive the Veterans’ Voices Award. Awards will be presented at the Veterans’ Voices Award Ceremony on September 11, 2016 at the University of St. Thomas Anderson Student Center in St. Paul. To read more about Mike and the other awardees, visit the Minnesota Humanities Center website.

The Land Stewardship Project Award

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new investment of $17.8 million for 37 projects to help educate, mentor and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers. The investment is made through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). These grants support educational programs to assist beginner farmers and ranchers who have less than 10 years of experience in the industry, including veterans and socially disadvantaged farmers. The program supports workshops, educational teams, training and technical assistance throughout the United States. I’m happy to announce that the Land Stewardship Project will receive almost $400,000 to continue with its efforts to assist developing sustainable farms throughout Minnesota.

Additional information about USDA support for new farmers and ranchers is available at

This Week in American History

A march for women’s equal rights; celebrating the ratification of the 19th Amendment

On August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote, otherwise known as woman suffrage. This movement for equal rights was founded in Seneca Falls, N.Y., through the first women’s rights convention organized by abolitionists Elizabeth Stanton and Lucretia Mott. Suffragettes fought for more than 70 years to earn the right to vote.

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 is full of more than 50 hidden items that represent Minnesota…

Congratulations to Deborah DeGroat of Detroit Lakes for being the first to correctly identify our last location as the Prospect House in Battle Lake!

Share your guess on our website –

Marley Skye Lofthus (GUTHRIE)