Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 8/30

Aug 30, 2013 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Energy, Health

Local harvest in Red Lake Falls

Dear Friends,

I toured two manufacturing companies in the 7th District including Watkins Aircraft Support Products (WASP) in Glenwood and SJE-Rhombus in Detroit Lakes. Both companies operate under an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) and I was very impressed by the employees, the technology, and the products they produce. I also appeared on Valley News Live's 6:30 Point of View show to talk about the farm bill and many other issues. I met with Frazee city officials and was interviewed by Mayor Hank Ludtke about economic development concerns in the area. Later in the week I had the opportunity to meet and present a flag and certificate to Candace Rix. Eight families from the district who represent the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation stopped by the Detroit Lakes office on Wednesday.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Watkins Aircraft Support Products Tour

Eric Kolstoe, CEO Dane Anderson, Jeanne Kramer, John Hoeper, Teresa Jergenson, Mike Kalina, Dan Forbrook (GLENWOOD)

I visited two highly successful manufacturing companies in the 7th District that are ESOPs, Employee Stock Ownership Plans, which are entirely owned and operated by the employees. 

Watkins Aircraft Support Products (WASP) in Glenwood is a manufacturer of aircraft ground support products such as baggage handling equipment and conveyors. They have been in business since 1979 and became an ESOP in 1997. Today they employ 360 people. They took me on an informative tour with CEO Dane Anderson and his staff to see the exciting new products they are developing and selling in over 60 countries worldwide.

SJE-Rhombus Visit

Mark Ostlie, CEO Dave Thomas, Armand Mayoue, and Taunia Suckert (DETROIT LAKES)

I was also able to tour SJE-Rhombus in Detroit Lakes with their staff and new CEO Dave Thomas. SJE-Rhombus was started by Steve Johnson in 1975 when he developed a way to warn residents when their septic system holding tanks needed pumping. Over 35 years later, SJE-Rhombus has grown into a leading manufacturer of trouble-free liquid level controls for the sewage industry throughout the globe. They employ approximately 400 people and became 100% employee owned in 1998.

Visiting Frazee

Frazee Mayor Hank Ludtke

On Tuesday I stopped by Frazee and met with Mayor Hank Ludtke at Little Turkey Park to discuss local development issues facing the city. Following the interview we had a meeting with other city officials and local community leaders to talk about economic development projects for the region.

Wild Rice Electric Co-op

Diane Christianson, Larry Sollie, Vice Chair Russ Okeson, and Roger Winter (MAHNOMEN)

On Tuesday morning I met with the board of directors of the Wild Rice Electric Cooperative located in Mahnomen. The member-owned Cooperative provides electric services to 13,500 customers across Minnesota. We talked about issues facing the electric industry, including updates on the Farm Bill and rural electric programs.

Valley News Live

On Thursday I appeared on Valley News Live's 6:30 Point of View show to talk about the Farm Bill, water retention and the Fargo/Moorhead diversion project, and to answer questions from viewers. You can watch the show by clicking here.

Flag for Candace Rix

Candace Rix (MOORHEAD)

I met with Candace Rix, a courageous girl from Moorhead who is overcoming adverse health issues. I presented her with a certificate and a flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol in her honor. The certificate reads: “This flag was flown for Candace Elizabeth Rix, to honor a brave little girl who faces challenges with a smile.”

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

The Young Family (MOORHEAD), Danielson Family (AUDUBON), Nelmark Family (FRAZEE), Mickelson Family (FRAZEE), Stanford Family (BARNESVILLE), Ames Family (HAWLEY), Meyer Family (Fargo), Olson Family (FRAZEE)

On Wednesday eight families representing the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) stopped by the Detroit Lakes office. These parents show remarkable strength and diligence in caring for their children with diabetes. They shared their experiences with pre-existing conditions and school nutrition programs. Being able to access research, health care, and nutritional information have been real hurdles to overcome for these families.  

Princess Kay of the Milky Way

Princess Kay of the Milky Way MarJenna McWilliam (WINGER)

MarJenna McWilliam from the town of Winger in Polk County was crowned the 60th Princess Kay of the Milky Way at this year’s Minnesota State Fair. Candidates were judged on their knowledge of the dairy industry, enthusiasm to be Princess Kay, and communication skills. Her first official duty as Princess Kay was to sit inside a cooled room in the Dairy Building for six hours so an artist could complete a butter sculpture of her likeness. MarJenna will serve as an ambassador for nearly 4,000 dairy farmers to connect consumers with dairy producers. The important tradition of serving as Princess Kay of the Milky Way helps to educate folks about dairy, one of Minnesota’s largest agricultural products.  

This Week in American History

On August 25th, 1937, Congress established Minnesota’s first national monument in Pipestone County. The quarries in Pipestone are famous in southwest Minnesota for catlinite, a malleable brownish-red rock clay. Native Americans use it to make calumets, which are ceremonial smoking pipes. The calumet pictured above is displayed in my Washington, D.C. office and the stone catlinite section on the right was quarried from Pipestone.

Tasia Wickham (FERGUS FALLS)
2013 Congressional Art Competition