Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 8/22/2014

Jewett Lake, Ottertail County

 Dear Friends,

I was honored to be welcomed by several businesses and organizations in the 7th this week, including Foltz Trucking, District 9 Township, and US Bank Equipment Finance and Leasing Division. My visit with the Rice Regional Dental Clinic demonstrated the benefits of cooperative efforts between educational institutions and rural communities, and I was pleased to see that the new Action TrackChair facility will continue to assist our veterans. Lastly, the completion of a commercial installation will help a District ethanol plant produce a new renewable fuel for the future.



Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Rice Regional Dental Clinic

Front Row: Deb Otte (RRDC Business Manager), Shelli Sanderson (RRDC Dental Assistant), Vicky Skotterud (RRDC Dental Assistant), Rebecca Peterson (Dental Student), Ann Ree (RRDC Dental Assistant), Renee Johnson (RRDC Dental Hygiene Instructor), Kim Moline (RRDC Dental Assistant), Back Row: Mike Schramm (RMH CEO), Nick Bussa (Dental Student), Dr. Linda Jackson (RRDC Director), Wendy Ulferts (RMH Chief Nursing Officer),  Kaitlin Gebhart (Dental Therapy Student)

I visited Rice Regional Dental Clinic in Willmar this week. Access to care is one of the biggest challenges in rural health care, and I am glad to see Rice Memorial and the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry work together to ensure that folks in our communities receive quality dental services. This collaborative effort provides much-needed care to underserved rural patients and allows dental and dental hygiene students an opportunity to practice. The Dental Clinic is open to anyone (regardless of insurance status), with a sliding fee scale used for uninsured patients. To read more about my visit in the West Central Tribune, click here.

Minnesota Trucking Association

Clem Foltz, Tom Foltz, Kathryn Foltz (Foltz Trucking), Ruth Lerud (R&R Transportation), Ken Foltz, Frank Foltz (Foltz Trucking), Fred Daggett (Daggett Truckline), Curt Cossett (LodeStar Transport Services), Nick Kuehl (UPS), John Hausladen (MTA)

I met with members of the Minnesota Trucking Association (MTA) at Foltz Trucking in Detroit Lakes this Thursday. Foltz Trucking began serving grain elevators in the Dakotas and Minnesota in 1958 under Clem Foltz, and today six siblings are involved in management of the company with President Frank Foltz at the helm. I joined Minnesota Trucking Association members as we toured the Foltz Trucking facility and discussed issues specific to their industry and the federal highway bill. Unfortunately the trucking industry is often targeted unfairly by federal agencies that often overlook the impact these new rules, like hours of service, will have on our local businesses.

Minnesota Bankers Association

Steve Daggett (President, Midwest Bank-DETROIT LAKES, MN Bankers Association), Eric Gandrud (President, Eagle Bank-GLENWOOD), Charles Cavanagh (President, United Community Bank-PERHAM)

Members of the Minnesota Bankers Association and I met this week to discuss regulatory relief to the banking industry.   

Butamax / Highwater Ethanol Partnership

Paul Beckwith (CEO, Butamax), Brian Kletscher (CEO, Highwater Ethanol)

On Wednesday I was in Lamberton to celebrate the completion and startup of Butamax’s first commercial installation in partnership with Highwater Ethanol. This first phase, separating corn oil for livestock feed and biofuel feedstock will eventually evolve into production of biobutanol as a new motor fuel.  Biobutanol is easier to blend with gasoline than ethanol and will provide new opportunities in the biofuel industry. Once again, Minnesota is at the forefront of developing new biofuels to grow our economy and produce more clean fuel sources. For further news coverage and my interview with KEYC TV Mankato, click here.

US Bank

Kevin Reese (Group Product Manager), Bradley Winkelman (Operations Group Manager), David Verkinderen (Executive Vice President, Equipment Finance and Leasing)

This week I toured US Bank’s office in Marshall, which houses their Equipment Finance and Leasing Division. They allow small businesses and operations to finance their capital intensive operations, eliminating barriers to entry in many industries. This is a fine example of the availability of credit spurring innovation and production in rural Minnesota. Their division in Marshall employs over 500 from around the area, many of whom are actively involved in the local community through volunteer work and charitable giving. We need to work in Congress to ensure fair markets and the availability of credit so small businesses can be the thriving backbone of Minnesota.

Action TrackChair

I met with Tim Swenson of Action TrackChair for a tour of their new facility under construction in Marshall. After 30 years of being in the recreational motor sports business, Tim Swenson decided to help people have the freedom of getting off the normal path. He started developing this all terrain wheelchair in 2008. Since my meeting with Tim when he last came to Washington, DC in July of 2010, Action TrackChair has decided to move from a 48 hundred square foot space to 24 thousand square foot space which will allow them to increase production. Action TrackChair has built over 500 chairs for disabled Veterans in the last 15 months.

Homeland Security Emergency Management

Bruce Hasbargen (BELTRAMI County Hwy. Dept), Larry Barley (MAPLE RIDGE Township), Ray Berger (WASKISH Township), Garry Ecklunch (Blackduck), Morris Frenzel (Quiring Township), Christopher Muller (BELTRAMI EMA), Terry Frenzel (Langor Township)

Homeland Security Emergency Management (HSEM), working hand in hand with FEMA, held meetings throughout the district this past month to conduct applicant briefings and inform county and township officials of the Public Assistance Program. Each applicant has 30 days to apply for the aid with HSEM and these meetings were held to discuss the programs and start taking action. The applicants completed their forms and gave them to the officials.  They now wait for a Project Specialist to call them and start their plan.  

Kandiyohi Farm Bureau

On Tuesday I met with Kandiyohi County Farm Bureau members in Willmar. At the meeting we discussed Farm Bill implementation issues and also the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the U.S. proposed rule (WOTUS). I’ve spoken with a lot of farmers that have concerns with the impact this proposed rule could have on their operations, and I will continue to fight to get the EPA to pull this ill-conceived rule. Minnesota already has some of the strongest wetland protections in the country, and we don’t need the EPA to introduce more confusion and red tape into what is already a very complicated area.

District 9 Township Meeting

Last evening, I attended the District 9 Township meeting in Fergus Falls. The meeting was led by Loren Ingebretsen, the National Association of Towns and Townships (NATaT) District 9 Representative. At the meeting I shared my concerns about the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. proposed rule, and also discussed some of the opportunities communities have in the Farm Bill to reduce flooding through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. I was glad that people were also discussing ideas on what we can do to make sure we have enough propane this winter. With the prospect of a record corn crop, and the potential for another cold winter, we need to continue to take steps to expand propane storage capacity and also find better ways to bring more propane into the state.

Back to School

The Library of Congress Teacher’s Page, hosted by the Educational Outreach Division, assists educators by providing classroom materials and professional development tools to assist in effective use of the Library’s digital collections. The Teacher’s Page features over 85 teacher-created lesson plans and provides materials by national or state standards, topic, era, or title.

National Book Festival

The Library of Congress will sponsor the 14th annual National Book Festival on August 30th in Washington, DC to celebrate the joy of reading. Honoring more than 100 selected authors, illustrators, and poets, the festival features a Pavilion of States, introducing attendees to the literary traditions of each state including Minnesota. This year’s festival theme, Stay Up with a Good Book, includes interactive, family-centered activities promoting literacy and cultural preservation. A complete schedule of the festival’s events is available here.

County Courthouse Tour

Kandiyohi County Courthouse 1908/Present

Voters of Kandiyohi and Monongalia Counties voted to consolidate the two counties, into Kandiyohi County, in 1870. Intending to become county seat, the village of Kandiyohi boasted its ability to house both county officials and public records. Another interested party, the neighboring township of Willmar, voted to issue bonds that would help construct a courthouse. Not long after, the large, white frame building secured Willmar as county seat. In 1890, county commissioners decided to construct a new Victorian Romanesque building with a peaked clock tower. As county government grew, however, it became apparent that a new complex of buildings, including a new courthouse, would be necessary. The renovated complex and current courthouse were completed in 1966.

This Week in American History

Joseph R. Brown, Brown House Remains (SACRED HEART)

Soldier, explorer, farmer, lumberman, legislator, and Indian agent Joseph R. Brown arrived in Minnesota, then part of Michigan Territory, in 1820. After a tenured career in the Wisconsin Territorial House of Representatives and Minnesota Territorial Council where he helped draft the state constitution, Brown arrived at the site of Henderson on August 23, 1852. Brown would name the site in honor of his mother’s family, and was buried in the town’s cemetery (Brown Cemetery) in 1870. The granite remains of Brown’s house are displayed at the Joseph R. Brown State Wayside Rest-stop on Renville County Highway 15.

Visitors from the 7th

Joshua, Jacob, Michelle, and Jessica Anderson (OTTERTAIL)

Angela Hanson (Rosemount), Wanda Garry and Jon Braton (BARNESVILLE)

Jay Oberg (WARREN)

2014 Congressional Art Competition