Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 9/29/2017
Thief River Falls
As Congress begins discussions on the upcoming budget, I continue to visit with Minnesotans about the programs and tax provisions that impact their lives the most. As a CPA, I appreciate the importance of making our system easier, and the possibility to strengthen the economy if tax reform is done right. The impact of tax reform came up a number of times this week as I met with groups on healthcare, education, agriculture, and small business. A few of these groups included the Minnesota Department of Human Resources, the Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, and the National Farmers Union.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Minnesota Department of Human Resources
Emily Piper (Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Human Services)
Minnesota Department of Human Resources (DHS) Commissioner Emily Piper visited my office Thursday to discuss the recent approval of Minnesota’s waiver application to establish a state-based reinsurance program. While I am happy that progress is being made to help stabilize the state’s individual health insurance market, I am concerned by the recent development that funding for MinnesotaCare will significantly decrease as a result. I will work closely with Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Delegation to preserve these critical funds while implementing needed changes to our healthcare system.
Minnesota Rural Electric Association
On Tuesday, I met with a group of Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA) members who represent electric cooperatives across the state. The cooperatives provide affordable and reliable electricity, oftentimes to hard-to-reach customers. MREA dedicates significant transmission line infrastructure in rural Minnesota which provides farmers and businesses with access to much-needed power. I support the efforts of MREA and will continue to find ways to represent their needs in Congress.
Minnesota Credit Union Network
Credit unions play an important role in providing the credit rural communities need to thrive. The Minnesota Credit Union Network visited my office and shared their concerns with the cost of complying with regulations which were supposed to target the large banks following financial collapse, and also their concerns about the impact tax reform could have on their operations. With data security in the news, they shared how the cost of a data breach anywhere in the retail sector can impact lenders and their members. We are only as secure as our weakest link, and that is why credit unions favor strong data protection and consumer notification laws for everyone.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
This week, I met with the St. Paul District Army Corps of Engineers for an update on projects in the district. We talked about next steps for Fargo-Moorhead flood protection and the process that will be needed to bring in all stakeholders for a real conversation about solutions. With the injunction in place, I believe that trying to resolve this issue through the courts will waste time and divert resources away from the concrete actions that can bring flood protection to Fargo. I am confident that at the end of the day, everyone is going to have to give a little, but that the entire region will benefit from bringing flood protection to Fargo. As drainage water management and retention projects in the valley move forward, I will continue to work with federal officials to ensure that the flood benefits of these efforts are appropriately considered as a part of the region’s flood control strategy.
National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association
Minnesotan representatives of the National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association were in Washington this week to share their perspective on infrastructure development and tax reform. As the association works to develop rural communities, it is increasingly important that we improve the roads and bridges that connect them to the rest of the country.
Tri-Valley Opportunity Council
Members of the Tri-Valley Opportunity Council visited my office this week to advocate for the Head Start Program. The education and nutrition services that Head Start provides to children in the 7th District also allows their parents to work, contributing to a strong rural economy. I will continue to support this program in the future.
National Farmers Union
Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, came by my office on Wednesday to discuss his organization's priories for the farm bill. We discussed the importance of farm programs that appropriately help farmers in difficult times and how we can improve those policies. I look forward to working with Roger and the rest of Farmers Union to build support for the next farm bill.
National Association of Wheat Growers
On Tuesday, several representatives from the National Association of Wheat Growers, including their president, David Schemm Kansas, met with me to outline their top issues for the farm bill. We agreed that farm programs should reflect the costs farmers incur when growing their crops and that reference prices need to be equitable for all commodities.
CFTC Commissioner Behnam
I met with Russ Benham who was sworn in as a new Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) earlier this month. We discussed his role on the commission, the upcoming agenda for the year, and how the Commission's policies impact farmers.
Minnesota Prairie Line Railroad 15 Year Anniversary
Last Friday, I celebrated with the Minnesota Prairie Line Railroad at their 15-year Anniversary hosted in Franklin. They have a lot to celebrate as their hard work and investments in the railroad over the years have supported shippers and rural communities with many new economic opportunities. I appreciate what they have done for rural agriculture and look forward to their continued success.
Consul General of Canada
I welcomed Consul General Khawar Nasim to my office on Tuesday to discuss important interplay between Minnesota and our neighbors to the North, particularly as Congress continues discussions on trade reform. The US - Canada economic relationship affects Minnesota in many ways, including tourism in the Northwest Angle and our manufacturing and agriculture communities - especially regarding Canada's supply management system in its dairy and poultry sectors. I look forward to continuing these conversations with General Nasim.
FDA Duchenne Hearing
Cheri, Jacob, and Jon Gunvalson (Gonvick)
This week, my staff delivered remarks at an FDA advisory committee hearing in support of the accelerated approval of a drug to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy. One of my constituents, Jacob Gunvalson, also attended the event to share his experience with the disease and emphasize the urgent need for therapies within the Duchenne community. During my time in Congress, I have consistently supported efforts to ensure that others can benefit from life-saving therapies the way that Jacob has.
Ag and Animal Science Conference (AASC)
On Tuesday my staff attended the Agriculture and Animal Science Conference in Willmar. The one day conference brought together many of the region’s agriculture and animal science stakeholders to listen to local start-ups about their businesses along with industry issues such as marketing, pressures related to GMO and non-GMO labeling, changes in generational labor force, and addressing consumer opinions. The conference brought in engaging speakers and prompted dynamic discussions amongst stakeholders.
Minnewaska Community Health Services
On Thursday morning my staff attended the groundbreaking ceremony for Hoffman’s new assisted living and memory care facility. A great crowd was on hand to celebrate the momentous occasion. In addition to Hoffman’s new building Minnewaska Community Health Services facilities in Starbuck will undergo several renovations. Along with generous donations and community support, these projects will use funding from USDA’s Community Facilities program. Minnewaska Community Health Services has come a long way in developing a regional care network, and I commend the hard work that made it all possible.
On Tuesday, local volunteers from the Humane Society of the United States visited my Detroit Lakes office to share their priorities for Congress. A few of the issues they addressed with my staff were the Horse Soring – Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 1847, the Pets and Domestic Violence – Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, H.R. 909, and the Dog/Cat Meat Trade – Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act, H.R. 1406.
National Science Foundation Grant
Northland Community and Technical College (NCTC) received the National Foundation, Advanced Technology Education (ATE) grant award for $600,000 in partnership with St. Cloud State University (SCSU) for the advancement of geospatial information technology and unmanned aircraft systems education and training. The three year project will focus on developing new capabilities in geographic information science at both institutions while creating educational pathways through dual credit enrollment and 2 +2 articulation agreements for Northland students. NCTC has the only accredited UAS maintenance program in the nation and the first two-year Associate of Arts degree program in Geospatial Intelligence Analysis.
Highway 2 West Manufacturers Association
The Highway 2 West Manufactures Association held a meeting on Thursday to meet with business leaders of northern Minnesota and eastern North Dakota. The meeting focused on sharing business experience, learning more about solutions in today’s pressing work force, as well as other business issues. The meeting was supported by Anderson Fabrics of Blackduck, which was toured after the meeting. Sam Gould (Enterprise) keynoted the event and discussed employee engagement as an important part of any company’s success. I will continue to support our local businesses that play such a pivotal role in keeping our economy strong.
Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs 2017 Leadership Conference
My staff member Meg Louwagie participated in the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs 2017 Leadership Conference this week held at Camp Rickey Training Center. The Conference brought together numerous groups that work together to support and facilitate programs for our Minnesota Veterans.
Fall Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Company Seminar
My staff attended the Fall Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Company Seminar held by Prudential Financial. This Seminar brought Yellow Ribbon Companies and Key Support Partners together to discuss best practices for recruiting, hiring and retaining military connected employees and military community support.
Grand Forks Air Base
Grand Forks Air Force Base Commander COL. Benjamin Spencer met with my military staff aide to discuss the latest development at the Air base. Col. Spencer is the newly appointed commander of the base. As commander, he serves as the senior officer responsible for providing base operating and direct operations support to wing personnel, 2 tenant units and 11 geographically separated units. The wing trains, deploys and redeploys over 1,400 Airmen in support of Air Expeditionary Force and combatant commander requirements. It also provides facilities and equipment support for the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection. The wing is also only one of two locations worldwide operating the High Frequency Global Communications System, providing operational support of senior leader communications for all Department of Defense agencies, including the President of the United States. In addition, the Base provides logistics, civil engineer, contracting, communications, medical, security and force support functions as well as facilities and equipment valued at $2.2 billion and executes a budget of $48 million.
Remembering Jamie Alan Hyatt
On January 7th, 2016, Jamie Alan Hyatt of Wood Lake, Minnesota died attempting to rescue David D. Syring from suffocation in Granite Falls, Minn. I’m honored to share that the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission has given the late Jamie Hyatt the Posthumous Carnegie Hero award. Hyatt’s heroic and selfless act will always be remembered.
This Week in American History
On September 28, 1935, Joan Growe was born in Minneapolis. After serving in the Minnesota House of Representatives, she would become Minnesota's secretary of state from 1975 to 1998, making her the first woman elected to statewide office without first having been appointed. A member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, she championed voter and election reform, including such programs as vote by mail and motor voter registration. She held one of the longest tenures for any secretary of state in Minnesota’s history.
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 was built in 1883 and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1985…
Congratulations to two of our subscribers, Sherwood Peterson Jr. of Rochester and Roland Rauenhorst of Olivia, who tied for being the first to correctly identify our last location as the water tower in Arlington!
Share your guess on our website – http://collinpeterson.house.gov/contact-me/spotted-seventh
Emily Tjaden (HAWLEY)