Peters talks housing, farming in US House campaign

Photos by Deb Gau AJ Peters, at right, talks with area residents at Toni’s Depot in Marshall on Saturday afternoon. Peters is the DFL-endorsed candidate running in Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District.

MARSHALL — Housing, farming and support for senior citizens are among the topics AJ Peters said he hopes to address if elected to Congress this fall. Peters, the DFL candidate running in Minnesota’s Congressional District 7, stopped to talk to southwest Minnesota voters at a pair of meet-and-greet events Saturday.

Peters, a Browerville resident, made stops in Madison and at Toni’s Depot in Marshall.

For now, Peters faces two Republican opponents in CD7. This spring, U.S. Rep. Michelle Fischbach failed to win her party’s endorsement at the Republican 7th District convention. Fischbach and Republican challenger Steve Boyd are headed for a primary election in August.

Peters said at this point, he doesn’t know enough about both his Republican opponents to run against them specifically.

“Michelle Fischbach has a record that I can work against. As far as the record, I really don’t know what (Boyd’s) issues are, other than Christianity,” Peters said. Peters said one way he knew he differed from Boyd was, “I believe that there should be a firm wall between the church and the state, just like Thomas Jefferson said.”

“It’s an interesting thing. I don’t know enough yet,” Peters said of his Republican opponents. “For me, I’m just going to work on farming policy, health policy, senior policy and housing policy. I’m just going to talk about my view, mostly.”

As he campaigns, Peters said he’s heard concerns about a variety of issues, including a lack of housing and senior housing in western Minnesota.

“A lot of people, especially seniors, on both sides of the fence, are worried about housing,” he said.

It’s an issue that also intersects with labor shortages.

“We have a shortage of workforce housing, so therefore we can’t get the people in to do the jobs. And not only that, the companies won’t want to move in until we have people … All groups are worried about housing, and how they deal with this,” he said.

Peters said there were ways to address needs for more housing and more senior housing in Minnesota.

“At the federal level, we need to make sure that we have ways to help the people that build the houses, build the houses so they don’t go broke, and to sell (housing) or rent it so a person can afford to move in,” Peters said.

He said the U.S. also needed to address the problem of inflation in key areas, like the cost of food, gas, and rent.

“Part of that is making sure that we have the infrastructure to move things around, and get the supply chain working again.”

Peters said that as he campaigns, he hopes to be able to talk with voters on both sides of the aisle on issues like the environment.

“Everybody that’s willing to talk, we can talk and exchange ideas,” he said.

In order to solve problems, Peters said, “We need to work together with the moderates … that’s where I’m at.”

“One thing that has been accepted in the fact that I want to work a lot with the farmers,” Peters said.

He said all the farmers he’s talked to want to take care of their land, but they also worry about being able to transfer their farms to future generations.

“We need to get the new farmers in there, and we need to get a way to get them to afford getting into farming, because it’s tough,” Peters said.

He said he didn’t have the solutions, but possible ideas to help young people get into farming might include ways to help make equipment more affordable for new farmers, or training programs for beginning farmers.

“Both the Farmers Union and the Farm Bureau have youth programs, where they’re training kids to get into the business of farming,” Peters said.


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