Peterson talks primary objectives [UPDATED]Published 11:12am Thursday, October 18, 2012 Updated 11:19am Thursday, October 18, 2012
Holding down Minnesota’s Seventh District for 21 years, DFL Congressman Collin Peterson is running for another term with his focus on the farm bill and responsible government spending.
Peterson is once again running against Republican businessman Lee Byberg, who lost the 2010 election, receiving 37.6 percent of votes to Peterson’s 52.5 percent.
The farm bill will undoubtedly be a hot topic in the race as the 32,000 square mile Seventh District is the fourth largest agricultural district in the country, Peterson said.
“My number one priority is to get the farm bill done,” he said. “That has been my focus and will continue to be my focus until it’s done.”
One of the major changes in the new farm bill is the elimination of the direct payment program. The 1996 farm bill created the program that has provided farmers with direct payments based on acreage regardless of production.
Peterson said he wants to “reduce spending, and move to a more market oriented, risk-based safety net.”
Reducing government spending is a theme in Peterson’s campaign. He said his second priority is to address the nation’s debt problem.
With the U.S. debt topping $16 trillion, some may think the country is in a hole it will never get out of. Peterson said while it will not happen overnight, if the U.S. can work on a bipartisan basis and become more fiscally responsible, the country’s debt problem can be resolved.
“We will need to do something different to get us back on track,” he said. “We need to find people on both sides of the aisle to get on a path to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and get the deficit under control.”
Peterson said he isn’t tied too tightly to his party, and he sees that as a positive.
“I’m a practical guy,” he said. “I will vote with Republicans if I think what they’re doing is right. I don’t get too hung up with ‘what is Republican’ and ‘what is Democrat.’”