Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 9/1/2017

Sep 6, 2017 Issues: Energy, Health

“Traditional Broomsman”
Chautauqua Festival in Huot

Dear Friends,

This week, my thoughts go out to residents, first responders, and volunteers in Houston as they seek safety and shelter from the historic rains caused by Hurricane Harvey. For those who want to support the response efforts, there is information below provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency with recommendations on how you can help. Last week, I visited the Minnesota Alliance of Rural Addiction Treatment Programs conference to learn more about opioid addiction from practitioners across the state. This week, I met locally with farmers near Barrett, and traveled to Decatur, Illinois to host a farm bill listening session with the Secretary of Agriculture, Chairman of the Agriculture Committee, and other members of Congress.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Minnesota Alliance of Rural Addiction Treatment Programs

Marti Paulson, Director of Health and Intake Services

Last Wednesday, I attended the Minnesota Alliance of Rural Addiction Treatment Programs Legislative Dinner in Willmar with several Minnesota legislators. Practitioners from all over the state were attending their first annual conference. I was pleased to share that I have signed on to a letter led by Representatives Bill Foster and Evan Jenkins urging President Trump to follow the recommendation of his opioid commission to grant states waivers from the Institutes for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion. I am also a co-sponsor of H.R. 2687, the Medicaid CARE Act, to eliminate the exclusion all together. These changes would help make it easier for those between the ages of 22-64 to receive treatment and for providers to receive reimbursement for the services they provide.

One Town – One Story

Minnesota State Representative Dave Baker (District 17B) released a video this week to bring awareness to drug addiction. Having established a state prescription drug monitoring program and introduced the Opioid Reform Act of 2017, Representative Baker is one of the leading opioid legislators in Minnesota. In addition to his legislative efforts to combat addiction, Representative Baker founded the Dan Baker Foundation to honor the passing of his son, Dan, due to overdose. Each day, the Foundation helps support addiction centers, sober homes, and drug courts throughout the state.

Farm Bill Listening Session

On Wednesday, I traveled down to Decatur, Illinois with Chairman Conaway (R-TX) of the House Agriculture Committee to host a farm bill listening session at the Farm Progress Show. This is a continuation of the Committee’s efforts to hear directly from varied stakeholders across all regions of the country that are impacted by the farm bill. The information will be gathered and taken to Washington as we write a new farm bill that addresses current challenges in farm country.

AgriTalk Radio

On Thursday, I went on AgriTalk to discuss what I learned at the farm listening session in Decatur, IL. Click here to listen to the interview with my remarks beginning at 35:40.

Land Stewardship Project

This week, I met with Land Stewardship Project members near Barrett. The diverse group of young and old farmers and small businesses shared their hopes of how the 2018 Farm Bill could help them achieve their goals. We talked about a number of conservation ideas. The principles of sustainable farming practices are good for all farmers and rural communities. It was encouraging to see young children say they want to be farmers. Many of the problems we face in agriculture are complex, but I am committed to preserving our land and water and rural communities for current and future generations of farmers.

Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission

The Minnesota Legislature established the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission in 2013 to undertake system planning for parks and trails of regional significance. The Commission also provides recommendations to the legislature for grants funded by the Legacy Parks and Trails Fund to counties and cities outside the seven-county metropolitan area. Joe Czapiewski, System Plan Coordinator, held a meeting in McIntosh to explain the program and assess interest in future trails and park development. The 7th District has an important role in the recreational industry with ATV and snowmobile manufacturers providing thousands of jobs. There is also great opportunity in northwest Minnesota to attract tourism with more trails and parks. I support these efforts and look forward to helping this happen.

Chautauqua Festival

The 36th annual Chautauqua Festival took place at Old Crossing on the Red Lake River and Treaty Park in Huot. Each year this festival grows larger due in part to a committed group of people who strive to preserve and appreciate the French impact on this region. It also has strong leadership in Virgil Benoit, the founding president of the Association of the French of the North. 

The artists and performers attracted a large crowd, and the Canadian Broadcasting network (CBC) will air the event soon in Canada and online. I appreciate the important cultural contributions the French brought to northwest Minnesota.

Opportunities to help the survivors of Hurricane Harvey

We in the seventh district know all too well the impacts a flood can do to our communities. This past week, the people of Texas suffered a devastating blow to theirs from Hurricane Harvey. Many families are in need of a helping hand, and at the national level there are many voluntary, faith- and community-based organizations already supporting survivors on the ground.

It is individuals, non-profits, faith- and community-based organizations, private sector partners, and governmental agencies working together that will most effectively help survivors cope from the events of Hurricane Harvey. In addition, Governor Dayton has approved 11 soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard’s 34th Combat Aviation Brigade to support response efforts for Hurricane Harvey.

If you are willing and able to volunteer in relief efforts you can register with many national voluntary or charitable organizations. If you are unable to volunteer, you may support disaster survivors in their recovery by donating money to these charitable organizations.

To find a vetted and trustworthy volunteer organization please visit the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster website or the Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster website.

E15 Available Earlier

E15 will be available Minnesota motorists two weeks earlier than usual. Yesterday, the EPA invoked the “extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstance” provision in the Clean Air Act in response to the fuel supply disruptions in the Gulf Coast and announced that it will issue a waiver of the federal Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) requirement through September 15th, 2017 in Minnesota.

More information on the announcement can be found here. This waiver will be in effect until the end of the high ozone season and allows retailers to offer E15 effective today.

This Week in American History

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall near New Orleans as a Category 4 hurricane. The storm brought sustained winds of 145 miles per hour, cutting transmission lines and destroying homes and businesses. The water surges overwhelmed the six-feet-below-sea-level levees meant to protect New Orleans. Estimates show that 80% of the city was flooded up to the roof tops.

With this lesson in mind, I hope Houston finds relief from the overwhelming floods so the city and its residents can begin rebuilding their homes, businesses, and way of life.

Spotted in the Seventh

Can YOU guess what was 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 should be packed with fans in only six weeks…

Congratulations to Laura Daak of Willmar for being the first to correctly identify our last location as the Forest City Stockade in Litchfield!

Share your guess on our website –

Shaylee Brown (FERGUS FALLS)