Meet the HR3 Ten: Collin Peterson, An Original Blue Dog

Sarah Jaffe

Peterson voted against Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal and supported the Federal Marriage Amendment. He was one of the original 19 who threatened to tank health care reform over abortion, as well as part of the crew that helped kill the public option

Ten Democrats cosponsored H.R.3, even with language redefining rape; four of those ten also apparently don’t care if pregnant women die. Sarah Jaffe takes a closer look at all ten, find all posted to date here.

Meet Collin Peterson. He’s from the great state of Minnesota, the one that brought you such great progressives as Paul Wellstone and currently boasts Keith Ellison, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken in its Congressional delegation. Of course, it also has Michele Bachmann.

Collin Peterson is a co-sponsor of H.R. 3 and voted to defund Planned Parenthood and other Title X healthcare providers. 

Peterson’s 7th district is next to Bachmann’s, in the northwestern part of the state, and covers a lot of ground–right up to the Canadian border.  It’s Minnesota’s most rural district, and Peterson’s support reflects that. His support has come largely from the agriculture industries–$804,597 from crop production & processing companies and $489,664 from agricultural services or products. 

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Proudly prochoice senator Amy Klobuchar carried Peterson’s district in 2006, though it went mostly to Republican Norm Coleman in 2008. So it’s certainly possible for those voters to support a prochoice candidate, and one would assume that a concern for women’s rights isn’t a completely terrible thing in that part of the state. 

Peterson’s been in Congress since 1991, and was one of the seven original Blue Dogs. Gee, thanks. But fiscal conservatism has its limits–Peterson voted for George W. Bush’s original tax cut package back in 2001, and he’s helped himself (and, mostly, Minnesotans) to $50,921,225 in earmarks over the years. 

He was one of the original 19 who threatened to tank health care reform over abortion, as well as part of the crew that helped kill the public option, and he voted against the bill, saying:

However, this legislation avoided making the critical reforms we need in order to strengthen our rural health care system. It punts these problems into the future, when it’s likely that they’ll be even more difficult and more expensive to solve.

Peterson forgot to mention that the public option he was massively opposed to would’ve been the best way to drive down costs. 

He didn’t vote for repeal of the bill, though, and he did vote for SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance). 

According to the nifty rankings system at the National Journal, Peterson is the 190th most conservative member of the House. On social issues, the Journal says he is more conservative than Heath Shuler and Dan Boren, though less so than Mike McIntyre. He’s voted with his party 60 percent of the time in the most recent Congress. 

Peterson is the ranking member of the House Committee on Agriculture, and has defended the reforms put on derivatives and commodities trading in the Dodd-Frank financial services reform bill (I apologize for the wonkiness–basically, the bill regulates the ability of speculators to shuffle agricultural commodities around). He’s also managed to bring home chunks of farming subsidies to his district–from 2003-2005, $874 million in subsidies from the farm bill went to Peterson’s farming constituents. (He also voted against the FDA food safety modernization act.)

He’s also co-chair of the Military Veterans Caucus. He voted for war in Iraq and has voted to extend the PATRIOT Act provisions, FISA and military commissions. He did support the resolution to withdraw troops from Iraq, as well as a disapproval resolution of Bush’s troop surge, but before that had voted against his party and to keep funding the wars without benchmarks for progress. 

Peterson voted against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal and supported the Federal Marriage Amendment (which would define marriage as “between a man and a woman”). As a rural Democrat, it’s unsurprising that he’s very much against gun control of any kind. 

He’s opposed most “free” trade agreements, as well as No Child Left Behind. But he does think we need a border fence–along the border with Mexico. No word on whether he’s concerned with all those Canadians leering at him from just over the border in Ontario and Manitoba. 

You can email Collin Peterson at his website and ask him why fiscal conservatism means cutting Planned Parenthood’s money but building a border fence, giving tax cuts to the rich, and doling out $50,000,000 in earmarks. Or you can contact him here: 

2211 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
phone: (202) 225-2165
fax: (202) 225-1593

And as usual, you can ask the DCCC why it likes antichoice Dems like Mike Ross better than it likes women.

430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003
Main Phone Number: (202) 863-1500

While you’re at it, you can ask them why they’re only asking for $100,000 for “the DCCC’s Women’s Health Rapid Response Fund.”  Antichoice Dems are worth $3.4 million and women’s health is worth $100,000?

Meet the rest of the HR3 Ten here. Meet Daniel Lipinski next! 

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