Congressman Collin Peterson spoke in Alexandria today at the Alexandria Technical and Community College. Peterson accepted the Spirit of Enterprise Award, an annual legislative award to recognize him for his voting record. The award was presented by the Midwest Region of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Alexandria Technical and Community College students were also in the room as Congressman Peterson accepted the award and he made his remarks.
“I appreciate the recognition, I have worked with the Chamber of Commerce and a lot of the business organizations out in Washington for many, many years,” said Peterson, “I guess I can also mention that I’m also awarded every year from the NFIB…I think I’m one of the few Democrats that gets this every year.” Peterson continued, “In these small communities, [Chambers of Commerce] that’s one of the mainstays of the communities. It’s one of the places where people get engaged, do volunteer work, promotion for the community, and so we like to support that whenever we can.”
Peterson went on to discuss many topics, including agriculture. “We just finished in December the 2018 Farm Bill, we do these every five years. It was difficult. As it always is. It gets harder every time we do it. But we worked through it and kept the Farm Bill from becoming partisan. It’s one of the few bills in congress we’ve been able to keep out of the partisan situation. It’s not easy.” Peterson continued, “I make both sides of the isle mad about half the time. So, I figure I’m doing something right.”
On gun control: “At the time I came to congress, there were 65 Democrats against gun control, they were pretty much 100% supporters of the Second Amendment. I’m the only one left. I was the only Democrat left that did not vote for this gun control bill. The main reason is that they put things in there that I told them not to put in, like you’d have to go through a licensed dealer to give a gun to your son. It’s crazy. We don’t need that. When you’re giving it to someone you know… but these folks, a lot of them just hate guns. If they had their way, there wouldn’t be any guns. In this district, them’s fightin’ words.”
On Trade: “This trade stuff has been challenging. These tariffs are a big challenge for agriculture, but also – and this gets missed a lot – they are a huge challenge for manufacturing. And we have a big manufacturing base in this district, which many people don’t realize. It’s one of the biggest employers that we have in the district, and they’re getting clobbered by these tariffs. A lot of them have Chinese stuff in their supply chain. And we’ve been trying to get them exemptions, like Polaris – 15% of their machines are made in Roseau, the parts are sourced out of China. And these tariffs have significantly increased the price of their snowmobiles and ATVs. We’re trying to get an exemption for them because the people who are not buying from China, who are not manufacturing in the United States – like Polaris is – they are manufacturing in Canada – or in Mexico – or some other place. They don’t have these tariffs, so it’s put them [Polaris] at a disadvantage.”
Peterson also spoke on healthcare, bipartisanship, gerrymandering, and the current state of politics in the United States.
A follow up question on Gerrymandering:
A follow up question on Minnesota Farming in 2019: