Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer and Democratic U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson are hosting a joint town hall meeting to discuss agriculture and dairy programs.

The event is noon Thursday in Melrose in Stearns County, which is split between their two congressional districts.

The bipartisan town hall comes at a time when some of the events have become testy and confrontational, packed with activists from both sides.

Peterson is the new chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and Emmer enthusiastically supported passage of the last farm bill.

The two have worked together on other issues, like securing money for rail projects that affect rural areas. Voters in the two districts have a lot in common, like voting overwhelmingly for President Donald Trump.

That’s why Republicans in Congress have for years targeted Peterson’s seat, believing it should easily be in their column.

Now Emmer, who represents the Sixth District, is chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP’s political arm.

Among their newly released list of top targets for the 2020 election is Peterson’s Seventh District seat. He is among 55 Democrats whose districts have a strong Republican lean.

Peterson is probably not too worried, having won re-election by comfortable margins in recent elections.

Staff report