About A. John Peters
Get to Know A. John Peters
Legislate Based Upon Facts, Not Partisanship
I am here to listen to you.
I am seeking to be elected as your Democratic Farm Labor Senator for Senate District 5 (SD5). My plan is to bring open, honest discussion about current problems in our state and work to the best of my ability to find solutions to those problems -- some of which are the costs of rural healthcare, the Covid pandemic/recovery, land stewardship, availability of employment with livable wages, and the impact farmers are facing with potential loss of family farms.
I have been listening. By working together we can help solve these problems. I am listening. Problems are not exclusive to one party or the other. With that being said, I will do my best to work with all legislators to pave the way to a better future for all of us.
I was born in Shelby, Iowa, a town of 533 people. I started mowing lawns for neighbors and delivering newspapers at age 10. At 13, I started baling hay, shelling corn and weeding soybean fields. At 14 I dug graves by hand for the local cemetery association. I am used to hard work.
My mom and dad ran a grocery store in Shelby. I got my personal values from them. One value I learned was that people come first. My dad used to float the farmers' bills from spring to harvest with no interest. When they paid, each child in the family got a full sized candy bar. That is putting people first and being concerned about the community. I plan to keep that tradition.
I have lived in the Browerville area for thirty years. I run a small computer repair and training center in Long Prairie. In January, 2020 I became became a board member of Hands of Hope Resource Center (support for victims of domestic abuse and crime). I am now the chair of the board. I am also a member of the Todd County Broadband Coalition, working to bring fiber broadband to every home and business in Todd County. I was also a board member of the National Bipolar Foundation located in Memphis, TN.
My career began as an intern for the first moon landing. Following that, I worked as a high school teacher and coach for a short time. Opportunity knocked and I worked for twenty years at Honeywell doing research in computer science. Part of my research was on the Patriot Missile, the space shuttle and the space station.I finally managing a large group (more than 100) technical personnel. I have also taught college computer science, statistics, and mathematics. This science and management based work experience taught me how to work with others to find solutions that are practical and cost efficient.
As your senator, I will utilize these management, teaching, and technical skills, I’m a willing listener who will be able to respond to you, and work with you and others on solutions to problems we may have in our communities. I hope to meet with you soon so we can get to know each other on ways to improve all of our lives.
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I grew up in Shelby Iowa., a town of 533 people surrounded by corn soybean and hay fields. I started delivering newspapers and mowing lawn at 10 years old and was required to start a bank account and save half of my money for college. When I was thirteen, I started baling hay, shelling corn and weeding soybeans. I also dug graves by hand for the local cemetery association..
My parents ran a small grocery store (Peters Store, “We Strive to Please”). My two sisters and I had to work in the store on weekends. We hand wrote all items purchased and tallied by hand. I remember getting upset when a ½ gallon of milk went from fifty cents to fifty four cents. When I turned 16, I packaged and delivered groceries to senior citizens. By doing this, I got to use the store car to go out in the evening. Dad let the farmers keep credit until harvest and pay when they sold their crops. I understand how tough farming is. When people paid their bill, he always threw in a candy bar for each child in the family. The people running small businesses in Shelby knew their customers and we joined together to help each other out.
I went to college on a combination academic, football and drama scholarship. People could go to college affordably then, even without scholarships. Most could earn enough money in the summer to pay for tuition. My academic career was not stellar, majoring in football, girls, and beer. I completed a BS degree with a major in math and a minor in coaching. I was 3 hours short of a minor in physics and 2 hours short in a minor in philosophy.
I had dreams of being a pro football player, so I played semi pro football for the Omaha Mustangs while working on a degree in education. This is where I had my first egregious case of white privilege. When leaving the practice field at Boys Town, both Simmsy and I ( do not remember his real first name) were pulled over for rolling stops at the stop sign. Simmsy was the most quiet spoken, polite black person I had ever met. The officer spoke to me politely and gave me a warning. For Simmsy he came up to his car and starting yelling right away. As I watched, I could not believe the difference in attitude. Simmsy got a ticket for failing to stop and reckless driving.
When I got my degree in education, I started teaching and coaching at Omaha Technical High School. Omaha in those days had an unofficial segregation policy. There, I was a strong member of the National Education Association (NEA). It had 2 open high schools where anyone could register. It just “happened” that one was 90%+ black and the other was 90%+ white. I was easy to pick me out on the field because of my white face. My mother was easy to pick out in the stands because not only her color but because there was a cadre of students making sure no one hassled her.
Tech was the second place I saw blatant discrimination. I was the freshman wrestling coach. Our team was scheduled to wrestle in the city tournament. Because of a scheduling mix up, we arrived 3 hours early. At first everything was fine and we settled down in an unused hallway. We heard that the varsity was going to practice in an adjoining gym. One of my wrestlers politely asked the assistant coach if we could watch their practice. He went ballistic calling my team scum and that they always had trouble with Tech students. I am ashamed to this day that is did not have the guts to get back in his face and defend my polite innocent students.
That will never happen again.
After teaching and coaching, I got a job as an actuarial programmer. Here I learned to calculate cost benefits and risk versus reward.
I next moved to Honeywell research. I worked on projects like the Patriot missile and the Space Shuttle. Besides working on technical details, I had to make presentations to Federal and State Officials explaining our work. I learned the skill to communicate to all levels of expertise and get agreement on the way forward.
I later became a technical manager for over 100 pre and post sales technical support for Major Accounts division. Our accounts include GE, GM, Ford 3M, S. C. Johnson and others. This taught me how to manage teams, get groups to come to a consensus on strategy and tactics and listen to customer needs.
I started my business in 1989 and made a residence in Browerville in 1990. I had major health problems in the late 90s. I went from comfortably well off to be $200,000 in debt and could not get insurance. I had to get a job in the cities teaching college computer science so I could get health insurance. For two years I drove every day and then got a room, spending the week there and the weekends home. I retired from the college and started my business in Long Prairie. I repair computers and teach computer classes. I have had success teaching senior citizens and making them comfortable with their computer and phones.
I am currently a member of the Todd County DFL board and work on their technology. I have been a delegate to the last two (2) state conventions. I am a member of the Hands of Hope Resource Center and a member of the Long Prairie Chamber of Commerce. I support fair wages for all workers, affordable health care, small businesses, family farms. I also believe that immigration is necessary for continued economic growth. My priorities will be: improved infrastructure (both roads and internet) and increased public school funding.
- The Economy (Small Business, Family Farms, Workers)
- Public Safety
- Infrastructure (Roads and Internet)
I believe that people need to be safe. We do not need to reduce the number of law enforcement officials but increase them and give proper support from other agencies. Incarceration does not reduce crime but provides a training ground for young offenders. We must prevent crime before it starts.
I believe that people have to peacefully organize and protest injustice. Violence is not the answer. When given no option to peacefully protest, people have to break the law without resorting to violence. In the case of Black Lives Matter, peaceful non-aggressive protests have been shut down. When a football player knelt during the National Anthem he was shunned and lost his profession. When people met and prayed, teargas was shot at them to break up the crowd. These actions accelerated events to where there is violence.
I believe that people have the right to affordable healthcare. Having nearly gone bankrupt because of surgeries and hospitalization, I have felt the crush of our health system. I feel that we should plot a course that brings full health care, first by negotiating drug coverage and expansion of Medicare and Medicaid. This should be followed by careful examination of the results and then expanded.
I believe that every person has the right to a livable wage.
I believe parents should be able to take care of a sick child without fear of losing their income.
I believe that workers have the right and the responsibility to organize and negotiate working conditions and salary. I extend this to where each corporation should have a Union Representative on their board of directors.
I believe that government workers should have the right to organize and strike. I also believe that outsourcing jobs to the private sector is not cost efficient. The purpose of a business is to make money. The purpose of the government is to serve people.
I believe Social Security should be maintained and enhanced. By stopping employer donations at the current rate and have personal income rate not be limited, Social Security would be funded well past this century.
I believe in public education. It should be fully funded. The Senate in the last session reduced the amount of state aid to schools by several factors.
I believe in maintenance and improvement of our physical infrastructure.
I believe that every household in the state should have access to affordable High-Speed Internet so they can comfortably do distance learning, remote work and communication with family. The Senate reduced the proposed amount to just half-hearted measure.
I believe that family farms are key to rural development. They keep our small towns alive and feed into local businesses.
I believe that proper regulation of land use is necessary to keep our agricultural and outdoor recreation viable.
I believe that climate change is real, and man-made. • I believe that all children be given the resources to be healthy, grow and become productive.
I believe the best way to reduce abortions is to provide education, healthy environment, and a strong infrastructure to support families.