Collin Peterson

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Collin Peterson

Collin Peterson is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 7th district of Minnesota.

Blue Dog Coalition

In Congress, Collin Peterson is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition.

Trip to Cuba

From May 27 to June 1 2007, Rosa DeLauro travelled in Havana, Cuba, with the purpose: "to examine the transition that is occurring in Cuba and the impact of that transition on U.S. policy, as well as to examine agriculture and trade with the island." The cost of the trip, $1,906.50 was paid by the Center for Democracy in the Americas. Her trip was approved by Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Chairwoman of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. Also invited on the trip were: Marion Berry, Bob Etheridge, Rodney Alexander, Collin Peterson, Stephanie Herseth, Jack Kingston, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Ray LaHood and Zach Wamp.[1]

Trade with Cuba

In 2010, Minnesota Democrat Collin Peterson was "lending his heft" as House Agriculture Committee chairman to end the travel ban to Cuba.

The decades-old Cuban trade embargo – which effectively bans travel as well – had long been unpopular with Midwestern farm interests looking for new export markets.

Peterson introduced legislation in February that not only would end all travel restrictions, but also make it easier to sell food to Cuba by cutting the red tape and allowing direct payments by the Cubans to U.S. banks.

The bill was endorsed by ag groups like the American Soybean Association, which said the U.S. exported $134 million worth of soy products to Cuba in 2008, and could easily do more.

The bill, with 33 co-sponsors, reignited normalization efforts in Congress that had been largely moribund since 2003, after a particularly harsh crackdown on dissidents in Cuba.[2]

The Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act (HR 4645), bi-partisan legislation introduced by Representatives Collin Peterson (MN) and Jerry Moran (KS) with sixty-five House cosponsors.

This legislation would end the travel ban for all Americans and remove barriers to increasing our agricultural exports to Cuba.

The Peterson-Moran bill was introduced on February 23, 2010. Just a few weeks later, the full House Agriculture Committee held a hearing on the legislation, and it was endorsed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union, leading commodity groups, Human Rights Watch, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops among many others.

In his statement at the hearing, Congressman Peterson said:

“The restrictions on agricultural trade with Cuba have failed to achieve their stated goal, and instead they have hand-delivered an export market in our own backyard to the Brazilians, the Europeans, and our other competitors around the world….It’s time we ask ourselves why we have in place policies that simply do not work and that only harm U.S. interests.” [3]

Communist Party connections

Opposing CAFTA

Bob Vivatson, Jim Horvath and Mark Froemke have weathered massive floods in the Red River Valley, changes in national agricultural policy and a recent fire at the East Grand Forks plant that produces sugar for American Crystal Sugar Co. But what has really brought this farmer, company CEO and union leader together is a new trade agreement that threatens the very future of the sugar beet industry.

A major provision of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which could go before Congress this spring, would open the United States to a flood of cheap imported sugar, which U.S. producers say is unfairly subsidized by foreign governments. The result, they say, would be the death of the U.S. sugar beet industry and, with it, the economy of the Red River Valley.

This dire forecast brought union, corporate and farm leaders together Jan. 8, 2004, for an unusual meeting at the Minnesota AFL-CIO headquarters. Sugar industry representatives included Vivatson, a farmer and chairman of the board for American Crystal Sugar; Horvath, the company's CEO; and Froemke, a leader of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers union, which represents about 1,500 workers at five processing plants sprinkled along the Minnesota-North Dakota border.

Also present were Congressman Collin Peterson and representatives of many other unions, including the Steelworkers, Education Minnesota, AFSCME and the Building Trades.

Peterson, whose 7th District includes all of the Red River Valley, said CAFTA in and of itself will not destroy the sugar industry. But if it is a template for future agreements, it will.[4]

Anti-CAFTA rally

Thousands of people in the Red River Valley want to send a message to federal lawmakers and trade negotiators ? they don?t want the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

More than 25,000 people have signed petitions opposing the trade deal that is being promoted by the Bush administration. Residents along the Minnesota-North Dakota border say CAFTA could wipe out the sugar beet industry and many communities along with it.

CAFTA is the first step toward destroying the U.S. sugar program, U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said at a news conference Sept. 16, 2004, where he and other elected officials accepted the petitions. It would undermine beet growers in our region and throughout the country, and will export tens of thousands of U.S. jobs.

Most of the signatures on the anti-CAFTA petitions were gathered by farmers and workers employed in the sugar industry, said Mark Froemke, a leader of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco & Grain Millers, the union representing workers at the sugar processing plants in North Dakota and Minnesota.

In addition to Dorgan and Froemke, the Moorhead news conference was attended by Congressman Collin Peterson, D-Minn.; Congressman Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D.; U.S. Senator Kent Conrad, D-N.D.; and representatives of sugar beet growers and cooperatives. Froemke said opponents plan to hold other events in Minnesota to highlight the threats posed by CAFTA.[5]

Nominated by communist Mark Froemke?

Former Minnesota Communist Party USA member and Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party official Alan Maki has alleged that Collin Peterson was nominated by Communist Party USA and Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party member and labor unionist Mark Froemke - even though Froemke was officially registered to vote in neighboring North Dakota.[6]

According to blog The Minnesota Problem;

Collin Peterson was nominated to run for the United States Congress from Congressional District 7 at one of your much ballyhooed "nominating conventions" by one of the most important and prominent leaders of the AFL-CIO--- Mr. Mark Froemke-
The problem is, Mr. Froemke was registered to vote in Grand Forks, North Dakota at the time he crossed the border into Minnesota to participate in a nominating convention that you say requires being a registered voter to participate![7]

Lobbied by communist Mark Froemke

Minnesotans were well-represented at the June 25, 2009 Washington DC rally for health care reform. Among the union members urging Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Rep. Tim Walz and Rep. Collin Peterson to support health care reform that will "offer quality affordable health care to America now" were: Linda Slattengren, president of MNA, Laura Askelin, president of SE MN ALC, Mark Froemke, president of the Western Minnesota ALC and Tim Lovaasen, president of the CWA State Council.[8]

Award from communist Mark Froemke

Sharon Josephson, Mark Froemke

In October 2009, the importance of political action was highlighted in the awards given by the Fair Trade Coalition. Congressman Collin Peterson, who represents the 7th District covering the western part of Minnesota, received the “Congressional Leadership Award.”

Peterson “has been a champion for fair trade that supports working people,” the coalition said. In 1993, he was one of Minnesota’s most outspoken critics of NAFTA and helped to form the Congressional Anti-NAFTA Caucus. He also is an original co-sponsor of the TRADE Act.

Because Congressman Collin Peterson was at work in Washington, assistant Sharon Josephson (above left) accepted the award on his behalf. Communist Party USA member Mark Froemke of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco and Grain Millers union made the presentation.[9]

Constituent Meeting in the 7th

In August 2013 Petterson met with "a group of folks including educators, farmers, faith leaders, and labor leaders for a wide-ranging discussion on the Farm Bill, immigration, education, and other topics".

The group included Mark Froemke, Ken Pazdernik, Sister Anna Marie, Jeff Offut, Larry Jacobson, Patrick Lunemann, Dave Davidson, Amber Hanson, Kim Davidson, Jim Meyer, John Keller, and Brad Lehto.[10]

Grand Forks Labor Memorial

April 2015, Collin Peterson's Staff Aide Allison Myhre attended an observance of Workers Memorial Day held at Bringewatt Park in Grand Forks. Northern Valley Labor Council President Mark Froemke spoke about workplace safety and recognized the women and men in Minnesota and North Dakota who lost their lives in workplace accidents over the past year.[11]

Birthday Bash


Mark Froemke attended Rep. Peterson's June 28, 2016 "Birthday Bash" at Detroit Mountain.

Lon Engberg from Detroit Lakes visited with Mark Froemke who resides in Crookston. Lon is treasurer for three DFL Units--Becker County, Senate District 2, and the 7th CD. Mark is AFL-CIO President for the area trade council and serves as our area representative on the MN State AFL-CIO Board.

ARA endorsement

Oct 14, 2014) – U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson has been endorsed by the Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA).

“I’m honored by the ARA endorsement and will continue to work for retired and older Americans in Congress,” Peterson said. “I am committed to keep working to in a bipartisan way to strengthen and improve Medicare and Social Security for generations to come.”

The ARA represents more than 4.3 million retirees, older Americans and community activists, including more than 84,000 members in Minnesota.

In a letter to Congressman Peterson, the ARA stated, “Your positions demonstrate a strong commitment to improve the quality of life for older Americans. Your leadership on issues such as preserving and protecting Social Security and Medicare from privatization and benefit cuts ensures these programs will be around for current and future generations.

“In addition, our members support your candidacy because of your belief in the need to provide more affordable health care for older Americans, as well as the need for stronger retirement and pension security, and quality long term care.”[12]

ARA PAF endorsement, 2014

The Alliance for Retired Americans Political Action Fund endorsed Collin Peterson in 2014, also 2012.[13]

2015 Cuba visit

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi traveled with a congressional congregation to Cuba mid February 2015.

The trip is the first official House delegation to travel to the island nation since President Barack Obama announced late last year an easing of trade restrictions with the Castro regime.

“This delegation travels to Cuba in friendship and to build upon the announcement of U.S. normalization of relations and other initiatives announced by President Obama,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) said. “This delegation will work to advance the U.S.-Cuba relationship and build on the work done by many in the Congress over the years, especially with respect to agriculture and trade.”

The delegation includes Democratic Reps. Eliot Engel of New York, Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, Anna Eshoo of California, Nydia Velazquez of New York, Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, Steve Israel of New York and David Cicilline of Rhode Island. Engel is the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The lawmakers will meet with Cuban government officials, Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino and local community leaders.[14]

Pelosi and Israel met with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, in Havana February 18, 2015.[15]

The delegates also met Cuban Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, marking the first time Cuba's heir apparent to power has received an official American delegation.

Nancy Pelosi and the eight other House Democrats concluded their two-day visit by meeting Diaz-Canel, 54, who is first in line to the seat of power held by brothers Fidel Castro and Raul Castro since 1959.

The nine Democrats, all supporters of U.S. President Barack Obama's policy change on the Communist-led island, were due to be escorted directly to the airport after the meeting.

Diaz-Canel and the Americans talked about Cuba's market-style economic reforms, bilateral relations and prospects of the U.S. Congress lifting the country's 53-year-old trade embargo of Cuba, official Cuban media reported.[16]

NFU 2008 convention

March 2008, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson told more than 600 Farmers Union members he is optimistic a farm bill funding agreement will be reached in the coming week and a bill signed into law by mid-April. Peterson, speaking from Washington, D.C., gave the keynote address during opening night of National Farmers Union's 106th annual convention in Las Vegas. With the March 15 deadline fast-approaching, he told attendees he had been meeting with other agriculture leaders throughout the weekend. “We're moving slowly ahead, at least not backwards and we're close to getting a final resolution,” Peterson said. “COOL, interstate shipment of meat, permanent disaster, all will get done,” [17]

NFU 2011 convention

National Farmers Union held its 110th anniversary convention March 4-7 2011, in Omaha with remarks from Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Howard G. Buffett. NFU President Roger Johnson delivered his annual “State of the Farmers Union” address. More than 500 Farmers Union members from across the country met at the LaVista Conference Center in Nebraska for the four-day event.

Rep. Peterson also addressed Farmers Union members and discussed what he believed would happen this year with the farm bill and dairy policy. He described a new dairy policy that would take the volatility out of the dairy market and provide a safety net for small dairies.[18]

NFU Farm Bill rally

September 12, 2012 U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Representative Collin Peterson joined the National Farmers Union and the American Farm Bureau at a rally calling on the House of Representatives to swiftly pass a 5-year Farm Bill; the current Farm Bill expires on September 30. Senator Klobuchar is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and worked to craft the 5-year, 2012 Farm Bill which passed the Senate in June with bipartisan support. Representative Peterson is the Ranking Member on the House Agriculture Committee, which passed a bipartisan farm bill in July that has yet to receive a vote in the House.

“This critical legislation will help preserve and strengthen the farm safety net and includes vital livestock disaster programs to support producers during drought,” Klobuchar said.“It is time for the House to take action and pass this 5-year Farm Bill so our farmers and ranchers can have the continuity they need to thrive and succeed.”

“I simply can’t understand why the Republican Leaders in the House won’t take yes for an answer. House Leaders are choosing to play politics rather than bringing the bipartisan five-year farm bill to the floor before September 30,”Peterson said. “The farm economy is one part of the economy that’s actually doing well and has been solid through the past few tough years due, in part I believe, to the strong 2008 Farm Bill. We should not jeopardize one of our nation’s economic bright spots. Everyone - farmers and consumers - needs to call their Representatives and urge passage of a five-year farm bill.”

"Farmers Union thanks Sen. Klobuchar for her work in ensuring the Senate did its part to get the farm bill passed and Rep. Peterson for his work in the House. It is a critical piece of legislation to Minnesota farmers and consumers,"said Doug Peterson, President of the Minnesota Farmers Union.[19]

NFU lobbying

Dustin Lusting, Doug Peterson (President, Minnesota Farmers Union), Gary Wertish (Vice-President, Minnesota Farmers Union), and Thom Petersen from the National Farmers Union visited Peterson's office to talk about Country of Origin Labeling, or COOL, and next steps following the WTO’s ruling and Congressional attempts to repeal this important law, May 2015.[20]

Goule connection

Chandler Goule Senior Vice President of Programs at National Farmers Union Washington D.C. Previously worked for National Farmers Union, United States House Agriculture Committee, Congressman Collin Peterson.[21]

COOL vote

August 2015, National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson called the recent vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) a “disappointing, knee-jerk overreaction” and urged the U.S. Senate to continue its thoughtful handling of the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute. Johnson also noted that NFU will work with Congress on a clear path forward that will both resolve the WTO dispute and continue to provide consumers with accurate information about the origin of their food. “The House leadership is not interested in any reasonable solutions and blocked all amendments.” Johnson noted that in past disputes, WTO members found ways to work together to arrive at a resolution that worked for all parties. “Unfortunately, today’s action by the U.S. House of Representatives does not work towards a resolution that maintains the integrity of COOL and satisfies WTO obligations. “We call upon the U.S. Senate to avoid the rush to judgment demonstrated by the House today and work with COOL supporters on a viable alternative that will finally bring this long process to closure,” he said. Johnson said family farmers and ranchers across the country appreciated the work of: Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota; Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut; Jim McGovern, D-Massachusetts; Chellie Pingree, D-Maine; Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio; Rick Nolan, D-Minnesota; Thomas Massie, R-Kentucky; Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon; Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas; and others who stood strong for COOL and the right to know the origin of our food. “We greatly appreciate their continued willingness to stand up for America’s consumers and farm families,” said Johnson.[22]

NFU endorsement


September 2015, the Minnesota Farmers Union and National Farmers Union presented Representative Collin Peterson with the Golden Triangle Award, the dual organization’s highest legislative honor. This award is presented to members of Congress who have demonstrated leadership in agricultural policies and support the policies that benefit America’s family farmers, ranchers, fisherman and rural communities. This year’s Golden Triangle recipients were selected for their leadership on a variety of issues, including votes on labeling and trade issues. The awards were presented at a reception during National Farmers Union’s 2015 Legislative Fly-In this September in Washington D.C. “We believe that Representative Collin Peterson has been a strong, supporting advocate for family farmers and ranchers in Minnesota,” said MFU President Doug Peterson, “Collin has a 100 percent voting record with the policies that we support here in Minnesota Farmers Union and National Farmers Union, and we appreciate his work and his voice on the behalf of Minnesota farmers on the Hill.”[23]


As at April 18, 2011, the following had worked as staff members for Collin Peterson:[24]

External links


  1. Legistorm: Rosa DeLauro (accessed on August 30, 2010)
  2. [ Star tribune, Collin Peterson says Si to Cuba travel By Kevin Diaz FEBRUARY 24, 2010]
  3. CDA, Ending the travel ban
  4. [ WorkDay Minnesota, Business, labor coalition comes together to oppose CAFTA January 22, 2004]
  5. [, Workday Minnesota, Grain Millers gather thousands of signatures opposing CAFTA September 19, 2004]
  6. Red Finn Blog, Alan Maki, November 21, 2010 Congressman Collin Peterson votes to fund these dirty wars… ships Minnesota jobs to China and then votes against extending benefits to the long-term unemployed who he robbed of jobs.
  7. [ 21, 2009 Politics in Minnesota just heated up a couple notches]
  8. Minnesota AFL-CIO blog, Minnesota Labor Leaders Lobby for Health Care Reform, Submitted by jhayssen on June 30, 2009
  9. Workday Minnesota, Fair trade coalition touts positive vision for global economy, By Barb Kucera, Workday editor, 18 October 2009
  10. [ Collin Peterson, Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 8/23 Aug 23, 2013 ]
  11. [ Collin Petterson 5/1/2015 May 1, 2015]
  12. ARA press releasePress release: Rep. Peterson endorsed by the Alliance for Retired Americans(Oct 14, 2014
  13. PAF
  14. Politico, Nancy Pelosi leads House delegation to Cuba By Lauren French 2/17/15
  15. Getty images
  16., Reuters Feb 19, 2015 9:56pm EST Related: POLITICS, CUBA Congressional delegation meets Cuba's heir apparent HAVANA | BY DANIEL TROTTA]
  17. American News, Peterson talks Farm Bill at National Farmers Union Convention March 07, 2008
  18. North Dakota FU, Highlights from National Farmers Union Convention
  20. Peterson's Newsletter 5/22/2015May 22, 2015
  21. Goule LinkedIn, accessed October 2015
  22. Minnesota farmers Union, Legislative Notes from the MN Farmers Union 8-18-15
  23. Crookston Times, By Times Report Posted Sep. 23, 2015 ]
  24. Legistorm: Collin Peterson (accessed on April 18, 2011)