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When it comes to federal aid, Peterson is king; Gov. touting government in Latin America

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When it comes to federal aid, Peterson is king; Gov. touting government in Latin America
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

ST. PAUL -- A respected nonpartisan blog reports Collin Peterson gets more pork than Jim Oberstar when it comes to the battle of Minnesota's two powerful U.S. House chairmen.


The University of Minnesota's Smart Politics blog, written by Eric Ostermeier, studied who brought home the most federal aid and discovered that in 2008 the 35 counties Peterson serves in the 7th Congressional District, most of western Minnesota, received almost $5 million, compared to $4.8 million in the 8th Congressional District's 17 counties that Oberstar serves.

That means Peterson brings home $8.15 per person, while Oberstar sends back $7.46.

The third congressman with a mostly rural area, the 1st Congressional District's Tim Walz, managed to send his southern Minnesota district $4.3 million in federal aid, for $6.88 per resident. Walz, like Peterson and Oberstar, is a Democrat. But he is not a committee chairman, which brings with it lots of perks.

Political lessons

It seems that Gov. Tim Pawlenty looked at more than the possibility of businesses expanding during his week-long South American trip that ended this weekend.

In a conference call from Chile with Minnesota reporters, it sounded like he also was looking at the political situation.

"They have an incredible commitment to fiscal discipline," the Republican governor and potential presidential candidate said, adding that there is no government debt in Chile.

He specifically mentioned public-private partnerships on projects such as roads and airports, a concept Pawlenty likes to promote, especially as he moves more onto the national scene.

Obama suggestion

An organization that promotes President Obama's political initiatives suggests that Minnesota supporters send holiday cards to U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken.

But instead of telling senators what the family did all year, the message should be simple: Pass health reform.

"With the Senate deep in final negotiations -- and a compromise just introduced that increases choice and drives costs down -- your senators need to understand how urgent reform really is," wrote Mitch Stewart of Organizing for America.

Cutting carps

Klobuchar is co-sponsoring legislation to stop the advance of Asian carp, those fish that videos show flying through the air.

The Minnesota Democrat said the bill will add the fish to a list of "injurious species that are prohibited from being shipped or imported into the United States."

The fish are causing problems in the lower Mississippi and Missouri rivers and it has been seen in Minnesota and in threatening to enter the Great Lakes.

The fish that can weigh 100 pounds reproduces rapidly and its eating habits are destructive.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.