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Editorial: Peterson should be re-elected in 7th Dist.

Voters in the 7th District have a choice of DFL incumbent Collin Peterson from Detroit Lakes or Republican-endorsed Glen Menze of Starbuck.

Peterson is the best candidate. We believe he should be re-elected to the U.S. House.

The 7th District is Minnesota's largest with 35 counties -- stretching from Willmar to the South Dakota border and from Redwood County north to the Canadian border. This district is rural Minnesota, stretching from the prairie and rivers in the south to the lakes and trees in the north.

Peterson has done a good job serving this district. He understands the economy, the demographics and the culture of this diverse district. He is one of the original fiscally conservative "Blue Dogs" of the House. He is a candidate whose appeal crosses party lines, being re-elected in 2006 with 70 percent of vote.

Menze is an accountant and business owner from Pope County. He has been involved in civic affairs -- from the Starbuck School Board to Jaycees to Head Start. His campaign has not generated much interest in the district.

Peterson's biggest plus is he now is chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. Agriculture is the 7th District's primary industry -- from turkeys and dairy to sugar beets and soybeans to corn and cattle. And renewable energy -- from ethanol to wind power -- are growing industries in the district.

Recognized as one of Congress' experts on farm and rural policy, Peterson played a major role in the passage and veto override of the 2008 farm bill. He faced significant opposition from the Bush administration but built bipartisan support to make the 2008 farm bill a reality.

The challenger Menze cannot come close to matching Peterson on agriculture. The 7th District would be foolish to give up Peterson's expertise and his chairmanship, which benefits agriculture significantly throughout Minnesota.

Peterson will and should be re-elected to represent the 7th District in Congress.