Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 9/15/2017

Sep 20, 2017 Issues: Energy, Foreign Affairs, Health, Veterans

Red Lake County

Dear Friends,

With a packed legislative agenda expected this fall, I joined several of my colleagues from across the aisle for a meeting with President Trump at the White House. Bipartisan meetings like this, as well as dozens more, are happening in the Capitol to find areas to work together on farm policy, disaster assistance, and stabilizing our healthcare system. This week, I welcomed a dozen Minnesotan groups to my office to talk about issues from the farm bill to healthcare, including the Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Farm Bureau, the Minnesota Hospital Association, Minnesota Veterans of Foreign Wars, and many others. Finally, as we remember the 16th anniversary of 9/11 this week, I encourage everyone to remember the sacrifice and bravery of so many on that fateful day. I remain committed to ensuring the health and well-being of all in our nation who serve and protect, and was glad to support the Firefighters Cancer Registry Act which passed this week.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Bipartisan White House Meeting

photo credit: Win McNamee (getty images)

This week, I joined a bipartisan group of Members of Congress for a meeting with President Trump at the White House. The meeting lasted for over an hour and covered a wide range of issues from tax reform and healthcare to infrastructure and immigration. When the subject of the Farm Bill, nutrition assistance programs, and work requirements came up, I shared with the President that I was part of a group of Blue Dog Members of Congress that met in that very same room with then President Bill Clinton in 1996 to ensure that work requirements were included in the welfare reform bill which remain in law today. I will continue to fight to keep the reauthorization of farm and nutrition assistance programs moving together, and oppose ideological attacks which would jeopardize this critical safety net for rural communities. Although it is too soon to know how the fall legislative session will play out, I firmly believe that Minnesotans and all Americans are better served when discussions like this take place.   

Minnesota Farmers Union

On Tuesday, I met with a large group of Minnesota Farmers Union members. President Gary Wertish presented me with their Golden Triangle Award, the organization’s highest legislative honor given to those who have shown strong leadership and support at the federal level for family farmers and rural communities. I was honored to receive this prestigious award once again. During our meeting, we discussed tax reform and the upcoming Farm Bill.

Growth Energy

General Wesley Clark

On Wednesday, I was presented the 2017 Fueling Growth Award by General Wesley Clark and Growth Energy for my continuous efforts to keep the Renewable Fuel Standard strong. Without the RFS, corn prices would be even lower than they are today and our fuel economy would be far too dependent on foreign oil. I am also the Co-Chair of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus, which educates members on the importance of the RFS policy.

Minnesota Hospital Association/Minnesota HomeCare

I met with representatives of the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) this week to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing rural facilities. According to MHA data, approximately one-third of the state’s hospitals are located in the 7th District, including more than half of its Critical Access Hospitals. We were also joined by the Minnesota HomeCare Association, who shared updates about the important work being done to improve and expand home care services to Minnesotans.

American Cancer Society

Minnesotans from the Cancer Action Network visited my office this week to thank me for my support of legislation to expand cancer research and treatment services. As Congress discusses funding levels for FY2018, I will work to ensure that that the development of new cancer treatment therapies remains a top priority.

Minnesota Pork Producers

On Thursday, I sat down with the Minnesota Pork Producers to talk about issues of importance to the pork industry such as trade. Markets like South Korea are critical to pork producers as well as the farms that grow the feed they use. The group was in town for their national legislative action conference. We also discussed immigration, EPA regulations, and the group’s Farm Bill priorities. I look forward to continuing to work together on these issues.

Seneca Foods

Kraig Kayser with Seneca Foods came by my Washington, D.C. office to give me an update on the sweet corn crop that will be frozen and canned in Seneca's Glencoe plant this season.

American Frozen Food Institute

Nickolas George Jr. with Midwest Food Products Assoc, Inc and Jeffery Varcoe, PhD with Schwan’s

I met with representatives of the Frozen Food Institute, including Schwan’s, this week. They raised concerns about FDA policies and asked that they work with food companies in a way that focuses on food safety. They continue to be focused on increasing access of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables to kids. They also pointed out how frozen food can be a solution to food waste. I look forward to working with these companies to address these concerns.

Conservation Corps

The Conservation Corps in Minnesota provides the important connection between community projects and hard-working young people. Selected applicants work on year-round conservation, natural resource projects, and emergency response work. Following the Hurricane Harvey disaster, the Conservation Corps made it possible for the deployment of 49 AmeriCorps members from Minnesota and Iowa to help with clean up efforts. To learn more, please click here.

Custom Products of Litchfield

Randy Reinke, President and CEO of Custom Products of Litchfield, Inc. was in town to attend the annual fall conference of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. He stopped by the office to discuss tax reform, infrastructure investment, and trade. Equipment Manufactures employ 40,000 Minnesotans. Congress's role is to assist these U.S. based manufactures in expanding their businesses and increase trading markets world-wide.


The National Association of Forest Owners (NAFO) visited with Congressman Peterson this past week to stress the importance of tax issues. With talk about potential tax reform, NAFO wants to ensure important tax provisions for private forests owners are protected including capital gains treatment, deduction for growing, real estate investment trusts, and deduction and amortization of replanting.


This past week Dan Skogen from Hewitt stopped in to talk to Congressman Peterson about the important work that the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) is doing in Minnesota and with neighboring states. Mr. Skogen specifically wanted to talk about looking at funding opportunities to do more cross-border research in the Upper-Midwest.

Central Boiler

Dennis, Terry, and Olivia Brazier

Dennis Brazier founded Central Boiler in Greenbush in 1984. The company now manufactures outdoor furnaces which many rural Minnesotans depend on to keep their homes heated during winter. The EPA decided to over-regulate the wood heating business, so I introduced H.R. 453 to provide relief to the industry, including Central Boiler. Dennis was in town with his family to advocate for my bill.

Minnesota Veterans of Foreign Wars

Tom McLaughlin, Member of the National Legislative Committee, visited the office to give me an update on the VFW's legislative initiatives and positions. 

Fourtown-Grgyla ATV Trail

Jack Nelson, President of the Fourtown-Grgyla Sportsman’s Club; Russ Walker, Roseau County Commissioner; Myself; Roger Falk, Roseau County Commissioner; and Myles Hogenson, President of the Roseau-Lakes of the Woods Sportsman’s Club

Last Saturday, I attended an event hosted by the Grygla-Fourtown Sportsman’s Club and the Roseau-Lake of the Woods Club. The event focused on building a connection between the Elkwood/Mary’s Road trail and the Morehouse trail which are used by ATV riders. I have been pushing the Minnesota DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to come to an agreement that will make the project a reality. We now have a path forward so that the DNR can manage the land needed to build the project.

Hurricane Harvey Benefit

The Second Amendments

On Tuesday night, my band called the Second Amendments played at a benefit led by Wil Gravatt for a food bank in Houston following the Hurricane Harvey disaster. Speaker Paul Ryan made an appearance to advocate for the benefit, and it was an honor to lend a helping hand to those in need.

Dining Away Duchenne

This week, I served on the Honorary Host Committee for the 17th annual “Dining Away Duchenne” event in Washington. The fundraiser, sponsored by the Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne, helps raise money to research, treat, and eventually cure the rare form of muscular dystrophy. As the author of the Muscular Dystrophy Community Assistance, Research, and Education (MD-CARE) Act, I understand the urgent need for research and treatment in the Duchenne community.

Minnesota Farm Bureau

Members of Minnesota Farm Bureau were in town to discuss the outlook for tax reform this fall, the status of current trade negotiations and Administration actions, and the next farm bill.

Farm Managers & Rural Appraisers

Tyler Erickson (Marshall), Darwin Thune (Willmar), and Rachel Daberkow (Okabena) were in town for the American Society of Farm Managers & Rural Appraisers’ Leadership Institute. In addition to their Capitol Hill and agency visits, they received training on communications and advocacy. During their visit to my office they discussed the outlook for the farm bill, crop insurance, status of the Conservation Reserve Program, and the Minnesota buffer law. It was great to have Rachel stop by since she interned on the House Ag Committee staff in 2008 while she was a student at the University of Minnesota.

Tri-Valley Opportunity Council

On Thursday, my staff traveled to Crookston to meet with Tri-Valley Opportunity Council staff and also with local leaders from the community. Representatives from the Food Shelf, the Developmental Achievement Center, and other organizations shared their stories and asked questions about what's happening in Washington DC on matters related to the federal budget and health care.

The Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. (TVOC) was incorporated on June 8, 1965 as a local Community Action Agency with the expressed purpose of eliminating the cause and effects of poverty.  With its headquarters located in Crookston, MN, the corporation engaged this Mission in the service area of west Marshall, west Polk, and Norman counties.


My staff aide Rebekah Solem met with Minnesota members of AmericanHort, which represents all aspects of the horticultural industry. They discussed critical issues for those in horticulture, such as research and innovation, tax reform, and workforce issues. In particular, AmericanHort members talked about how many of their businesses rely on seasonal workers and stressed the need for an updated look at the H2B visa process.  

Legislative Update

H.R. 453 - Wood Heaters Relief Bill

On Wednesday, the Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on the Environment held a hearing on a Bill I sponsored, H.R. 453, and the Relief from New Source Performance Standards Act of 2017. The Bill would delay the Step 2 air emissions regulation on wood stoves and hydronic heaters for three years to give businesses the time needed to comply. Without this delay, wood heater manufacturers in my district will go out of business, and this is simply unacceptable as hundreds of Minnesotans depend on these jobs.

H.R. 424 - Gray Wolves Delisting Bill

The Natural Resources Committee scheduled a markup on my bill to delist gray wolves from federal protections in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The State of Minnesota can monitor the population numbers of wolves and provide ranchers with a legal avenue to protect their livestock from wolf attacks. I will continue to fight for this legislative fix.

Firefighter Cancer Registry Act

The House passed the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act this week to establish a national cancer registry for firefighters. Particularly as we remember their sacrifice on 9/11, I was proud to co-sponsor the bill and vote for its passage to ensure that health outcomes improve among firefighters.


National POW/MIA Recognition Day

The third Friday of September is designated as POW-MIA Recognition Day, a day established by Congress when we remember Americans who were captured and held as prisoners of war or are missing in action as a result of combat operations. Thirty-three Minnesotans are still missing, all from the Vietnam War. According to Defense Prisoner Of War and Missing Personnel Office (DPMO), the official count of personnel unaccounted for as of September 9th, 2014 includes 73,536 (not including 6,299 who were buried at sea) from World War II, 7,880 from Korea, 126 from the Cold War, 1,641 from Vietnam, and 6 from the Global War on Terrorism.

Congressional Gold Medal Awarded to Sen. Dole

The House has given final congressional approval to a bill awarding former Senator Bob Dole the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor provided by Congress. The Gold Medal measure, which now goes to the White House for President Trump’s signature, cites the former senator and presidential nominee “for his service to the nation as a soldier, legislator, and statesmen.” 

Minnesota National Guard to help with Hurricane Relief

This past weekend the Minnesota Air National Guard sent 41 Airmen to support response efforts for Hurricane Irma. These soldiers are currently station in Texas, Florida, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands. I am grateful to all of our dedicated service members as they help our country rebuild from these violent storms.

September is Suicide Prevention Month

September is suicide prevention month, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is marking Suicide Prevention Month with the Be There campaign. Many people don’t know what they can to do support a Veteran in their life who’s going through a difficult time. The #BeThere campaign emphasizes that small actions- like calling up an old friend, checking in on a neighbor, or inviting a colleague to go for a walk- are thoughtful ways to show someone you care. You can also visit BeThere for Veterans and Service members to find additional campaign materials, resources, and information on how you can help spread the word that Suicide Prevention is everyone’s business.

This Week in American History

This week in 1888, the University of Minnesota opened its Law School with thirty-two students and one faculty member, Dean William S. Pattee. Today, the school consistently rates among the nation’s top law programs and boasts a student body of more than 600!

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 highlights one of the highest points in Minnesota and could be said to “divide” land masses…

Congratulations to Grant Kaste of Fertile for being the first to correctly identify our last location as the Glendalough State Park in Battle Lake!

Share your guess on our website –

Visitors from the Seventh

Sharon Josephson and Sophie Polley-Fisanich

“Kellin Quinn”
Devyn Shemon (FERGUS FALLS)