Come January, American farmers will have at least one less ally in Washington.
Rep. Collin Peterson, a Minnesota Democrat who has been on the House Ag Committee since coming to Congress in 1991, lost his re-election bid last week to former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach.
It’s a loss for farmers and ranchers.
Since 2005 he has served as either the ranking minority member or the chairman of the committee.
He grew up on a farm in Minnesota and worked as an accountant before he began serving in Congress.
Peterson represents a relatively conservative district covering most of the western half of Minnesota. It’s largely a rural district that has voted for the Republican in the last six presidential elections. It’s home to wheat, sugar beet, dairy and livestock operations.
Peterson has been against excessive environmental regulations because they hurt farmers. As an example, he supported legislation to take the gray wolf off the Endangered Species List. He opposed the expansion of the definition of “waters of the United States” by the EPA and the Corps of Engineers under the Obama administration.
Peterson has been a proponent for providing farmers with a strong safety net. He supported elimination of the federal estate tax and tort reform.
When not much seemed to work in Congress, Peterson’s committee was a model of efficiency and decorum. In an age of growing hyper-partisanship, Peterson remained reasonable and pragmatic.
That hyper-partisanship was his undoing.
Minnesota’s 7th District has been growing more conservative over the years. Though Peterson is a pro-life, pro-gun, pro-hunting Democrat who voted against Obamacare, flag desecration and President Trump’s impeachment, his opponent successfully tied him to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other left-wing House members.
Ag interests have heavily supported Peterson’s campaigns because he was on their side. They’ll have to find a new champion now.