Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 9/9/2016
High water on 220 and Polk City 21
North of East Grand Forks
The House of Representatives returned to work this week and I’m happy to return to Washington, D.C. and work on issues that are important to Minnesotans. I met with representatives from the crop insurance industry to discuss strengthening the rural economy. I was proud to be selected as a conferee for the Energy Policy Modernization Act, which was discussed at a full Conference Committee meeting Thursday to resolve legislative differences. Finally, this Sunday is a moment to honor the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001; may we never forget.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Federal Crop Insurance Program
On Thursday, I met with representatives from Rural Community Insurance Services (RCIS), an Anoka-based crop insurance company. Kevin Berg (left), Mike Day (right) and I discussed the challenging financial situation many farmers currently face and how risk management tools can be strengthened to address their needs. We also talked about what changes could be made in the next farm bill in light of lower commodity prices facing producers today.
SBA Lenders Conference
Mel Boser, Tom Saehr, Nadene Kruize, Nancy Libersky
On Thursday, my staff aide, Toni Merdan attended the 4th Annual Minnesota SBA Lenders Conference in the Twin Cities. Lenders and others from across the state attended to learn how SBA secured loans are a proven tool to help start-up and existing small business owners’ access capital. Participants were able to attend a wide variety of workshops, visit exhibits and network with their peers. They also held a luncheon and awards presentation where Minnesota Business Finance Corporation (www.mbfc.org) was recognized as one of the top SBA 504 Lenders in the state. SBA recently announced that the SBA 504 Loan Program is now able to offer debt refinancing at competitive long-term fixed rates.
The National Biodiesel Board held an event in Washington this week to showcase the benefits of biodiesel through french fries. The oil used to cook the fries was recycled to make clean burning biodiesel. I have always been a strong supporter of renewable fuels and will continue to support biodiesel and our soybean growers.
Energy Policy Modernization Act Conference
I was selected as a conferee for the Energy Policy Modernization Act. As a conferee, I will play a role in resolving the differences between the energy bills passed by the House and Senate. I am particularly interested in fixing the way we fund our wildfire response and forest management policy. House and Senate conferees met this Thursday to begin discussions to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the energy bill.
15th Anniversary of 9/11
Today, the House of Representatives held a Remembrance Ceremony in honor of the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. We will always be grateful to the American heroes and emergency responders who rushed into danger that day to keep others safe. I hope everyone will take the time to keep their loved ones close this weekend in remembrance of those who lost their lives that fateful day.
Capitol Rotunda Restoration
Restoration in progress / the completed rotunda
The Capitol Rotunda opened this week after being closed throughout the summer as part of the Dome Restoration Project. The project, which has been ongoing since July 2015, aims to repair the extensive damage throughout the Capitol structure. Due to the exterior Capitol Dome damage, water had leaked through more than 1,000 cracks into the Rotunda. Thanks to the efforts of the Architect of the Capitol, you can now see the beautiful interior restoration. The project is set to be completed prior to the Presidential Inauguration in January 2017.
- Representatives of Polaris Defense Industries came in to give a brief update to my aide Chris Iacaruso.
- On Wednesday, staff aide Meg Louwagie attended the United Veterans Legislative Council of Minnesota.
- My staff met with members of Ducks Unlimited to discuss water management drainage issues and ways we can build consensus on this issue to bring additional flood mitigation tools to our region.
- Staff aides Allison Myhre and LeRoy Stumpf met with Roseau Mayor Jeff Pelowski and Community Development Director Todd Peterson as they try to work through FEMA issues related to the city's flood map revisions.
Drug-Free Communities Support Program
This week, the Office of National Drug Control Policy announced $85.9 million in grants for Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Programs across the country. DFC Support Programs provide local communities and organizations with funding to prevent youth substance use. A number of the grantees operate in the 7th District, including coalitions in Warren, Olivia, Ada, Roseau, Willmar, Baudette, Long Prairie and Glenwood
MSP-Tokyo Air Service
Following efforts from the Minnesota Congressional Delegation, the Department of Transportation finalized its decision to grant non-stop air service between Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP). This decision will directly connect more than 100 Midwestern communities with these markets and provide new opportunities for growth in Minnesota.
Direct Scheduling for Veterans Routine Appointments
Veterans receiving care at Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Medical Centers will now be able to schedule routine ear and eye appointments at local VA Audiology and Optometry clinics without a primary care referral – a move that eliminates multiple steps and gets veterans into appointments quicker. This Direct Scheduling Initiative is expected to be fully operational within all VA Medical Centers by the end of 2016.
This Week in American History
The first Minnesota State fair / in 2016
The Minnesota State Fair opened for the first time in its current location this week in 1885, on September 7. Located on what had previously been the Ramsey County poor farm, more than 200 acres of land were donated as a permanent fairground in St. Paul. Since then, the fair has grown every year, with a record 1,943,719 attendees this year!
Spotted in the Seventh
Can YOU guess what we 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 is shown by the painting above that hangs in my official office in Washington, D.C. It is a nice reminder of home…
Congratulations to Stephen Nelsen of Hutchinson for being the first to correctly identify our last location as the Darwin Twine Ball in Darwin!
Share your guess on our website – https://collinpeterson.house.gov/contact-me/spotted-seventh
Meghan Listerud (PRINSBURG)