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Washington D.C. is a place I always enjoy visiting and always enjoy leaving. For all the wonderful sights and history to enjoy, the toxic political climate soon takes over and spoils the experience. However I recently enjoyed a breath of fresh air in a city of partisan hot air. I always look forward to my interviews with Collin Peterson, the ranking member of the House Agriculture committee because of his willingness to reach across the political aisle and work for the common good. My last conversation with him was both enjoyable and surprising even for him. Congressman Peterson was especially forthcoming as he told me he believed some in Washington were carrying out a "make it hurt" campaign with sequestration and that the administration was overplaying its hand trying to get higher taxes. He emphatically predicted that the House would not go for any higher taxes and that what was needed instead were cuts in spending. Of course he is not the only member of Congress saying that but he is one of the few Democrats taking that position. He went on to say that what is really needed is for House and Senate leaders to agree on a budget figure for agriculture and then let the ag committees craft a farm bill without the political games that stopped it last year. He also said that without major dairy reform he didn’t think a farm bill would pass (a task that may be harder now with a new CBO score). Peterson is a throwback to the days of Charlie Stenholm and the blue dog democrats and an era of bipartisanship that is hard to find today. It doesn’t make him a traitor to his party (i.e. he’s very critical of the House Republican budget proposal) but rather makes him a statesman willing to put principle before politics. I just wish more of his colleagues would do the same.
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