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Editorial: Peterson should be returned to DC

Some voters in southwest Minnesota will have the opportunity, thanks to redistricting, to color the oval next to Collin Peterson's name for the first time.

Doing so would be a wise choice, indeed.

Peterson, a Democrat who has served primarily the northwest portion of the state for the past 22 years, is seeking his 12th two-year term. His opponent is the same as it was in 2010 -- Lee Byberg, whom he defeated by a 55-38 percent margin despite it being a very strong election year for Republicans.

How did Peterson buck this election trend? Simple: he's one of the House's last remaining "blue dogs," a group of moderate Democrats that -- believe it or not -- find it prudent to work diligently with, and garner respect from, their GOP colleagues. Considering the makeup of his congressional district, this should be considered unsurprising.

Peterson, as many rural Minnesotans probably already know -- even if they've yet to have the chance to vote for him -- has long been a key component of the House Agriculture Committee, serving in the past as chair and currently as its senior Democrat. Peterson successfully negotiated a new Farm Bill to committee passage this year (if only he had the power to bring it to a vote), and has been involved with such work for numerous years.

His experience with ag issues is just one of a host of critical reasons why district voters -- even if some do not know him well yet -- should welcome Peterson's service with open arms.