Archive

Archive for June, 2010

Tracking Jon Tester and Max Baucus in Media

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and U.S. Sen. Max Baucus

U.S. Sen. Max Baucus

Baucus, Tester statements on strengthening border security

May 27: Newsroom: U.S. Senator Tester: “We’ve got to make sure that all Montanans and Americans are safe and that can only happen when our borders are secure,” said Baucus. More…

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Hundreds pause on Memorial Day

Q2 KTVQ: “Our troops are some of the hardest working Americans I have ever seen,” said Sen. Baucus. More…

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Baucus Applauds Montana Conservation Successes

June 01: Newsroom: U.S. Senator Baucus: Baucus joined Ag. Sec. Tom Vilsack, Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, Sen. Tester, and Gov. Schweitzer for a public listening session.  They met with Montanans from communities around the Crown of the Continent to discuss local collaborative efforts at conservation. More…

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Obama admin. holds meetings on ‘Great Outdoors’

AP: Sen. Baucus and the Obama Administration said that monument declarations are not part of the “Crown of the Continent” agenda in Montana. “I am opposed to the administration creating monuments,” said Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. “This is bottom up, that was top down.” More…

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Senators Announce More Lease Retirements in Flathead Watershed

June 02: Newsroom: U.S. Senator Baucus: Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester today announced that Chevron is retiring its interest in over 11,000 acres of oil and gas leases to help protect recreation areas in the Flathead Valley. “I’d like to thank Chevron for their stewardship of this beautiful place,” Sen. Baucus said. More…

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The Investment Tax Is About Pay. Period

Wall Street Journal: “The hope of sponsors Sen. Max Baucus (D.-Mont.) and Rep. Sandy Levin (D.-Mich.) is to raise $17 billion during the next decade. The trade-off is potentially substantial. The industry says it’s going to stifle investment and job creation when the country needs it most.” More…

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USA – Global beef trading

Meat Trade News Daily: June 04: On Thursday, The Senate passed a resolution that urges China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mexico and Vietnam to follow international guidelines and provide full market access to all U.S. beef products. “We applaud the Senate for standing with us and with American ranchers and farmers in the fight to open markets for U.S. beef,” Sen. Baucus said. More…

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Farm groups urge Senate to disapprove EPA GHG regulation

Prairie Star: Montana Farm Bureau Federation: The American Farm Bureau Federation and 48 other farm groups have joined together in urging the Senate to adopt a resolution that would prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases without prior congressional approval. “We’re extremely disappointed that our two senators, Max Baucus and Jon Tester, have refused to stand up for Montana’s largest industry. The impact of the EPA ruling on agriculture will be devastating and starts Jan. 2, 2011,” MFBF Exec. VP Jake Cummins said. More…

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Financing education: Officials say new law won’t hurt local banks

Sidney Herald: Speaking of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, Sen. Max Baucus told the Herald: “This provision is truly wonderful news for every young person in Sidney who hopes to go to college. The bottom line is that every Montana kid deserves a world class education, from kindergarten all the way through college. Investing in higher education is an investment in the future of Montana.”More…

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Senators need to step forward

Daily Inter Lake: “It appears Montana’s two senators have joined a national trend in Democrats avoiding wide-open town hall meetings in recent months.” More…

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Medicare Rebate Checks are in the Mail

June 10: Newsroom: U.S. Senator Baucus: Sen. Baucus today told seniors who have fallen into Medicare’s “donut hole’ that their $250 rebate checks are in the mail. More…

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Lawmakers Vow To Target China’s Currency Practices

CQ Politics: Members of the Senate Finance Committee criticized the lack of progress that the Obama Administration’s has made regarding the trade and currency relations with China. “Different U.S. agencies are pursuing different, uncoordinated strategies. We can no longer approach our economic relationship in this piecemeal way,” Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus said. More…

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U.S. Sen. Jon Tester

Tester introduces bipartisan bills to create jobs, boost businesses by maximizing renewable energy

May 27: Newsroom: U.S. Senator Tester: “As Montana invests in our energy future, we need to make sure the necessary infrastructure is in place to get the energy we produce where it needs to go.  This legislation will provide folks in rural communities with the tools to create jobs and build that energy infrastructure,” Sen. Tester said. More…

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Baucus, Tester statements on strengthening border security

May 27: Newsroom: U.S. Senator Tester: “Every step we take to secure our borders—both southern, and northern—is a step toward ending illegal immigration and making our communities safer,” Sen. Tester said. More…

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Tester ‘disappointed’ on Rehberg stand against forest jobs

Clark Fork Chronicle: “I was disappointed in him classifying this as a far left socialist movement when there were plenty of Republicans in on the collaboration, and I mean, a lot of good people,” Sen. Tester said. More…

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Veterans History Project

KULR-8: Sen. Tester encourages participation in the Veterans History Project, which seeks to make a collection of the stories of American war veterans. “Our veterans are our heroes. That’s why their stories are so important. They’re part of our American history and we need to get them recorded and that’s why this project is so important,” Sen. Tester said. More…

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Hundreds pause on Memorial Day

Q2 KTVQ: “This is not a once in a year occasion, I know all of you join my wife Sharla and I and pray everyday for the safe return of the hundreds of Montanans that are in harm’s way as we gather here today,” said Sen. Jon Tester. More…

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Baucus Applauds Montana Conservation Successes

June 01: Newsroom: U.S. Senator Baucus: Baucus joined Ag. Sec. Tom Vilsack, Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, Sen. Tester, and Gov. Schweitzer for a public listening session.  They met with Montanans from communities around the Crown of the Continent to discuss local collaborative efforts at conservation. More…

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New book describes Tester’s pivotal role

Helena Independent Record: “The Upper House,” by Terence Samuel, captures the election of 2006 that gave Democrats control of the Senate. Samuel highlights Montana, especially Sen. Tester, in his book. More…

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Senators announce more lease retirements in Flathead watershed

June 02: Newsroom: U.S. Senator Tester: Senators Baucus and Tester today announced that Chevron is retiring its interest in over 11,000 acres of oil and gas leases in the Flathead Valley area. “The area next to Glacier National Park is one of them.  It’s good to have Chevron as one of our partners in our ongoing effort to protect this important landscape,” Sen. Tester said. More…

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Food sense

Great Falls Tribune: Mary Stein: “Tester’s proposed amendments support the important vision of allowing for increased access to fresh, healthy, locally produced food while ensuring the safety of our food supply. Tester’s proposed amendments make sense for Montana.” More…

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MSU receives $354,000 to help train weatherization workers across U.S.

MSU News Service: It will help create jobs, save energy and money and help educate people. “Weatherization means less dollars on your energy bill and more money in your billfold,” Tester said at Wednesday’s event. More…

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Tester’s Export Seminar offers tools to Montana businesses for new jobs, new markets

June 03: Newsroom: U.S. Senator Tester: Senator Jon Tester today hosted his Treasure State Export Seminar for Montana businesses to learn about opportunities to sell their products and services to customers overseas. “Opportunities to create more jobs—and boost Montana’s economy—by doing more business overseas,” Sen. Tester said. Seminar’s Video highlights. More…

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Forest bill backers rap panel’s changes

Great Falls Tribune: The Senate Committee charged with redrafting Sen. Tester’s “Forest Jobs and Recreation Act,” has removed mandated logging on National Forests-one of the more controversial provisions of the original bill. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee have developed a “discussion draft” version of the bill, and are encouraging Sen. Tester to make it available for public input. More…

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Forest bill draft cuts logging mandate, but Tester won’t support

Missoulian: “Make no mistake, if the timber mandates are not part of the deal, I’ll pull the plug on the whole thing,” Sen. Tester said. More…

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Tester backs financial reform bill

Bozeman Daily Chronicle: “It’s a good bill,” Tester said while visiting Bozeman High School. “It isn’t a perfect bill – none of them ever are.” More…

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Farm groups urge Senate to disapprove EPA GHG regulation

Prairie Star: Montana Farm Bureau Federation: The American Farm Bureau Federation and 48 other farm groups have joined together in urging the Senate to adopt a resolution that would prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases without prior congressional approval. “We’re extremely disappointed that our two senators, Max Baucus and Jon Tester, have refused to stand up for Montana’s largest industry. The impact of the EPA ruling on agriculture will be devastating and starts Jan. 2, 2011,” MFBF Exec. VP Jake Cummins said. More…

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Financing education: Officials say new law won’t hurt local banks

Sidney Herald: Speaking of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, Sen. Tester said in an e-mail to the Herald: “I supported and voted for this move because it saves $61 billion and makes the way we do business a lot more efficient. American taxpayers deserve nothing less.” More…

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Senators need to step forward

Daily Inter Lake: “It appears Montana’s two senators have joined a national trend in Democrats avoiding wide-open town hall meetings in recent months.” More…

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Tracking Earl Pomeroy and Kent Conrad in Media

Sen. Kent Conrad and Congressman Earl Pomeroy

Sen. Kent Conrad

Candidates release fundraising totals

Bismarck Tribune: In the Public Service Commission race, Democrat Brad Crabtree got $5,000 Sen. Kent Conrad’s PAC. Also, in the agriculture commissioner race, Democrat and current House Minority Leader Merle Boucher got $5,000 from Conrad’s PAC. More…

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In some ND races, campaign money about even

AP: Cynthia Kaldor, the Democratic opponent to the incumbent Tax Commissioner Cory Fong, got $5,000 Sen. Conrad’s PAC. More…

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Time we got our change back

Bismarck Tribune: Tim Zimmer: “Although Sen. Conrad has been part of the spending problem, he can now let the people of North Dakota know he is in favor of repealing the spending portion of the president’s “stimulus” package — saving $460 billion. He should be in favor of prohibiting the Treasury secretary from obligating further TARP funds, saving taxpayers $150 billion. And Conrad also should support requiring all repayments of TARP funds go exclusively to debt reduction, with no open-ended slush fund.” More…

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Conrad Honors North Dakota’s Fallen Heroes

June 01: Kent Conrad–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “On this solemn day, we remember those who bore the hardest burden of battle, those courageous men and women who served in the Armed Forces and gave everything for our country,” said Sen. Conrad. More…

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Conrad, MAFB Leadership Map Out START Strategy

June 01: Kent Conrad–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “The men and women of the United States Air Force — especially those at Minot Air Force Base — are working around the clock to safeguard our nation. The New START Treaty recognizes their hard work and the irreplaceable role of our nuclear forces in the national defense,” Senator Conrad said. More…

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Friends, colleagues remember former Gov. Arthur Link

Bismarck Tribune: “He provided tireless leadership and was a true statesman. He loved North Dakota and dedicated his life to protecting the rich heritage of our land,” Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said in a statement. More…

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Oil patch being shorted on roads

Bismarck Tribune: Darleen Hahn Tioga: “Because of eastern North Dakota’s bigger population, we have to share the oil money so we don’t get our fair share for roads. And as for the Republicans getting all the campaign money, I think you had best look at the Democratic candidates, Rep. Earl Pomeroy and Sens. Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan. Where has all the millions in their accounts come from? How about the sweetheart deals from Washington?” More…

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Conrad Examines Housing Needs in Oil Patch

June 01: Kent Conrad–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “We’re facing a unique challenge here in the oil patch. We have plenty of jobs, but not enough housing for the people who hold them. This challenge, if left unchecked, could stifle future growth in the region,” Senator Conrad said. More…

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Delegation Announces More Than $100,000 to Help Homeless Vets

June 01: Kent Conrad–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: The North Dakota Congressional delegation today announced that a $118,707 federal grant has been awarded to the Grand Forks Housing Authority to support housing programs for North Dakota veterans. “This funding will allow agencies in Grand Forks to help find safe, supportive housing for veterans. It’s the right thing to do,” the delegation said in a joint statement. More…

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Highway 85: Bloody, busy

Bismarck Tribune: Lauren Donovan: “Sen. Kent Conrad convened a Senate Budget Committee hearing in Watford City on Tuesday to gather information for the upcoming federal transportation bill. The senator asked for a show of support for turning two-lane U.S. Highway 85, which covers 186 miles between Bowman and Williston, into a four-lane road. He watched every hand in the room of about 70 people go up.” More…

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Conrad Launches Effort to Help Vets Heal from Mental and Emotional Wounds of War

June 02: Kent Conrad–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: Senator Conrad presented members of the North Dakota National Guard with a Senate resolution he is introducing to declare June 27 National PTSD Awareness Day. This campaign is all about awareness, assuring our troops — both past and present – that it’s okay to come forward and say they need help. They need to know that it’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to seek assistance,” Senator Conrad said. More…

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SOLDIER’S FUNERAL-LAWSUIT

AP: Sen. Kent Conrad says he and 44 of his colleagues are backing a lawsuit against protesters at the funeral of a Marine who was killed in Iraq. The Marine’s father filed the lawsuit against the pastor and the parishioners of Westboro Baptist Church. The group protested his 2006 funeral and said his death was God’s punishment for the tolerance of homosexuality in the United States. More…

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Delegation Helps Dedicate State-of-the-Art Energy Facility

June 03: Kent Conrad–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: The North Dakota Congressional delegation joined state and local leaders today to dedicate a new state-of-the-art DryFining facility at North Dakota’s largest power plant, Coal Creek Station. “Here at Coal Creek Station you can see real progress on finding cleaner ways to use coal,” Senator Conrad said. More…

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Looking for Rep. Pomeroy

Bismarck Tribune: Brent McCarthy: “Whenever they come up for election, the North Dakota media predictably endorses Byron Dorgan, Kent Conrad and Pomeroy while trying to convince us that they are moderates and practically conservatives. Dorgan, Conrad and Pomeroy endorsed Obama, the most radical president in American history. All three voted for Pelosi or Reid, the most radical leadership our Congress has ever seen. When Obama couldn’t pass socialized medicine without their votes, all three came through for him.” More…

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Ward Sworn In as New U.S. Marshal for North Dakota

June 04: Kent Conrad–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: The North Dakota Congressional delegation joined local leaders and law enforcement officials today for the swearing in ceremony for Paul Ward to be the new United States Marshal for North Dakota. “I am confident he will serve our state well in his new role as U.S. Marshal and look forward to working with him,” Senator Conrad said.  More…

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Bismarck commission OKs applying for grant

Bismarck Tribune: A Bismarck-based public bus service and the Bismarck School District may form a partnership. On Tuesday, the Bismarck City Commission approved Bis-Man Transit Director Robin Werre’s request to apply for $2 million in Federal Transit Administration funds to expand the bus garage and retrofit the building with a geo-thermal heating system. Werre said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., has agreed to write a letter of support. More…

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Conrad Named One of the Hardest Working Lawmakers

June 09: Kent Conrad–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: The Hill newspaper today named Senator Kent Conrad one of the “25 Hardest Working Lawmakers”. More…

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Change needed in Washington

Bismarck Tribune: Donna Bard: “Although the delegation has a collective history of more than 70 years in Washington, not once have I heard them take responsibility for what is happening to our country.  We need a change in Washington, and it can’t come too soon.” More…

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Statement from Senator Conrad on EPA Disapproval Resolution

June 10: Kent Conrad–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “I cannot support a resolution that overturns scientific findings that greenhouse gasses endanger public health. That is what the Murkowski resolution tries to do. But I also do not want EPA to make the decisions on regulating greenhouse gasses. That should be the responsibility of Congress,” Sen. Conrad said today after voting against the Senate Resolution. More…

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Congressman Earl Pomeroy

House votes to repeal ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy on gay service members

The Hill: Today, the U.S. House approved a compromise to repeal the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” law that bans openly gay people from serving in the military. Rep. Earl Pomeroy (N.D.) voted against the amendment to repeal the law. More…

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House Passes Bill That Includes Pomeroy Job Creation Provisions

May 28: Earl Pomeroy–U.S. Rep.: Newsroom: Pomeroy’s provisions will provide tax credits for production of biodiesel and help employers with their payments to their employees’ pension plans. More…

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House ponders just when to wind down unemployment benefits

The Hill: On Friday, the U.S. House passed a jobs bill that extends unemployment insurance through November, which adds approximately $40 billion to the deficit. “Support for this extension of unemployment compensation relief had a different level of support this time. There was a lot more discussion,” Rep. Pomeroy (D-N.D.) told The Hill. More…

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House Approves Pomeroy Amendment to Support Families of Deployed Guard, Reserve Soldiers

May 28: Earl Pomeroy–U.S. Rep.: Newsroom: The House has approved an amendment by Congressman Earl Pomeroy that will extend the Joint Family Support Assistance Program. Pomeroy’s amendment was added to the Defense Authorization Act. A final House vote on the full bill is expected this week. More…

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Pomeroy Honors American Veterans at Memorial Day Services

May 31: Earl Pomeroy–U.S. Rep.: Newsroom: “It would be impossible to fully repay our veterans for the sacrifices they have made, but today is a day to recognize them and reflect on what they have done for the United States and the world,” Congressman Pomeroy said. More…

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Oil patch being shorted on roads

Bismarck Tribune: Darleen Hahn Tioga: “Because of eastern North Dakota’s bigger population, we have to share the oil money so we don’t get our fair share for roads. And as for the Republicans getting all the campaign money, I think you had best look at the Democratic candidates, Rep. Earl Pomeroy and Sens. Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan. Where has all the millions in their accounts come from? How about the sweetheart deals from Washington?” More…

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Conrad Examines Housing Needs in Oil Patch

June 01: Kent Conrad–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “I believe we need to take action to ensure we have the housing to accommodate all of the new workers coming to the area. The information we’re gathering today will help find out how best to do that,” said Rep. Pomeroy, who also participated in the hearing. More…

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Friends, colleagues remember former Gov. Arthur Link

Bismarck Tribune: “He approached issues with a strong conscience and the kind of common sense that you get growing up on the prairie. He was interested in results, not the limelight,” Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., said in a statement. More…

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Delegation Announces More Than $100,000 to Help Homeless Vets

June 01: Kent Conrad–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: The North Dakota Congressional delegation today announced that an $118,707 federal grant has been awarded to the Grand Forks Housing Authority to support housing programs for North Dakota veterans. “This funding will allow agencies in Grand Forks to help find safe, supportive housing for veterans. It’s the right thing to do,” the delegation said in a joint statement. More…

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Delegation Helps Dedicate State-of-the-Art Energy Facility

June 3: Kent Conrad–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: The North Dakota Congressional delegation joined state and local leaders today to dedicate a new state-of-the-art DryFining facility at North Dakota’s largest power plant, Coal Creek Station. “Today is a big day for Great River Energy. This new technology will help burn our North Dakota coal more cleanly and efficiently, and that’s good for our energy industry and the jobs it supports,” Congressman Pomeroy said. More…

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Looking for Rep. Pomeroy

Bismarck Tribune: Brent McCarthy: “Most of North Dakota opposed President Barack Obama’s plan to nationalize the health care industry and wanted town hall meetings to tell our delegation how we wanted them to vote. There wasn’t a single Earl Pomeroy sighting. Pomeroy didn’t care to hear our objections to the tax hikes, unemployment, health care rationing or waiting lines that his vote will cause, or our objections to the bankrupt federal government borrowing more money in our children’s names.” More…

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Ward Sworn In as New U.S. Marshal for North Dakota

June 4: Kent Conrad–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: The North Dakota Congressional delegation joined local leaders and law enforcement officials today for the swearing in ceremony for Paul Ward to be the new United States Marshal for North Dakota. “Paul Ward has a long, distinguished career in law enforcement, and he will make and excellent U.S. Marshal,” Congressman Pomeroy said. “I was proud to recommend him, and I’m proud to stand by him as he takes over this important post.” More…

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Reasons for primary excitement

Bismarck Tribune: Rebecca Beitsch: “The primaries also could make for an interesting tool to judge the U.S. Senate race. Sure, we’ve had the polls, but comparing the number of people who vote in the House race with the number that vote in the Senate race could be an indicator of in-party support. Democratic candidate  and state Sen. Tracy Potter, D-Bismarck, pointed out that if his own vote totals drop significantly from Pomeroy’s, ‘I’ll have some work to do in shoring up support among my party.’” More…

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2010 Race of the Day: Forcing Pomeroy Into Retirement

Townhall: Brian Walsh: One of the most hotly contested races in the country lies in the northern plains: North Dakota’s At-large Congressional District. Rep. Earl Pomeroy, a vulnerable Democrat who has represented North Dakota since elected in 1992, faces his toughest challenge yet in the form of GOP nominee Rick Berg. More…

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N.D. GOP Voters Pick Rick Berg to Face Rep. Pomeroy

Wall Street Journal: Louise Radnofsky: “A word on North Dakota: Rick Berg secured the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Rep. Earl Pomeroy in November in the state’s sole congressional district. Berg is already touting a poll which puts him nine points ahead of Pomeroy.” More…

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Pomeroy Says BP Must Clean Up Before it Pays Out

June 08: Earl Pomeroy–U.S. Rep.: Newsroom: “It’s time this company started thinking less about its performance on Wall Street and more about its responsibility to the people whose livelihoods are being threatened by this catastrophe. That means getting down to business and cleaning up this spill, not spending billions of dollars paying shareholders and running ad campaigns.”More…

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Pomeroy Fights FCC Internet Plan That Would Shortchange Rural Communities

June 08: Earl Pomeroy–U.S. Rep.: Newsroom: “It would be wrongheaded to develop a National Broadband Plan that says we’re going to bring high-speed Internet connections to our cities while we allow substandard service in our rural communities. That’s not fair, it’s not good for our farmers and other rural businesses, and I believe we cannot let it stand.”More…

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Pomeroy Secures Commitment from USDA to Ensure Canola Biodiesel is Not Disadvantaged

June 09: Earl Pomeroy–U.S. Rep.: Newsroom: At a House Agriculture Committee hearing today, Cheryl Cook, USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development, assured Rep. Pomeroy that canola biodiesel plants will be allowed to take part in the Farm Bill program even while the EPA conducts its evaluation of canola biodiesel. More…

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Change needed in Washington

Bismarck Tribune: Donna Bard: “Although the delegation has a collective history of more than 70 years in Washington, not once have I heard them take responsibility for what is happening to our country.  We need a change in Washington, and it can’t come too soon.” More…

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Low voter turnout disappoints Jaeger

Bismarck Tribune: At 20 percent, Tuesday’s primary total voter turnout was below average. Furthermore, twice as many Republicans turned out at the polls than did Democrats. State Sen. Tracy Potter, D-Bismarck, said a significant drop between his numbers and those of Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., and might show that Pomeroy was losing support from the party’s base. Potter got more than 26,000 votes, while Rep. Pomeroy had more than 28,000. More…

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Thune’s Popularity Is About to Rise

Thune’s Popularity Is About to Rise

June 21, 2010
By David M. Drucker
Roll Call Staff
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The phone in Sen. John Thune’s office is about to start ringing – a lot.

The South Dakota Republican – who also leads the Senate GOP Policy Committee
and is widely viewed as a 2012 presidential contender -is up for re-election
this year. But no Democrat or Independent filed to run against him, leaving
him with plenty of time and money to help Republicans win seats this
November as the party seeks to regain a true sense of relevancy on Capitol
Hill.

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) said
Thursday he planned to meet with Thune soon to explore ways the
up-and-coming first-term Senator could help the NRSC and GOP candidates from
now until Election Day. Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) added that he fully
expects Thune to be a strong political asset over the next 135 days.

So, once the phone starts ringing in earnest, Thune is prepared to answer
it.

“I would like to be able to have a little bit more latitude and flexibility
- which hopefully I now will have not having an opponent filed in South
Dakota – to help Senate candidates, both incumbents who I’m close to and
that I agree with on a lot of issues and I want to see come back, and also
some of our challengers,” Thune said in an interview Thursday from his
office in the Russell Building.

“That will mean helping raise money,” Thune continued. “The big issue this
year because the playing field is so extended is really going to be a
resource issue. It’s going to be hard resourcing all these candidates, and
it’s going to take a lot to help them put the money in the bank that they
need to run their campaigns effectively.”

Kyl, who is personally close with Thune, said his colleague brings added
political value to the Conference. So far this cycle, Thune – who won the
title “giant killer” for defeating then-Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D) in
2004 – has headlined or attended more than 30 fundraisers for individual
Republican candidates and more than 25 events for the NRSC.

“He brings a lot of talent and a lot of energy, and I think increasingly he
is probably somebody that people want to see,” Kyl said.

Thune is currently huddling with his political team to lay out a strategy
for the midterm elections. On the agenda: How much of the $6.6 million
sitting in his campaign account he might part with, how he will be deployed
across the country to fundraise for incumbents and challengers, how to spend
the August recess and how much attention to devote to Republicans in South
Dakota.

Thune is reluctant to feed the notion that he is a fundraising draw for GOP
audiences. And, he noted that there are several races where a Republican
Senate Leader might be the last person a candidate wants help from, given
the anti-Washington fervor coloring this election cycle.

But the 49-year-old Thune recognizes that his strength is his ability to
motivate Republican donors to open their checkbooks, and he is ready to hit
the road on behalf of candidates and the NRSC, which is targeting 11
Democratic-held seats this cycle. The GOP needs to win 10 to take back the
Senate, a tall order even in a favorable political environment.

The Republican Conference, Thune said, “has lots of people who would
probably be more helpful and bigger draws than I would be. But, if I can be
helpful, we offer that up, and when asked we try and accommodate. Some
events I’m going to do for the NRSC, and then some events I’m actually going
to do for candidates even outside their state, in other places around the
country where candidates and their campaigns think I can be helpful.”

Thune will neither speculate on whether he might run for president in 2012
nor rule it out. Thune lost his first Senate bid narrowly – a hard-fought
challenge to Sen. Tim Johnson (D) in 2002 – before ousting Daschle in a very
expensive, bitter campaign.

“I think if you start thinking beyond 2010 you really put in jeopardy and
peril the opportunity that we have to do really well. And I think 2012 is
going to depend a lot on what happens in the 2010 elections and how we do in
picking up seats in the House and Senate, how the party performs, what kind
of a message we have, how that resonates with voters,” Thune said. “Right
now I’m really trying to focus on message, money and helping candidates in
’10 and have not looked beyond that.”

“It strikes me, too, that with the unpopularity that Washington has that
there are certain hurdles for people from the Senate – or House for that
matter” in terms of their ability to be a viable presidential candidate,
Thune added.

Thune’s priorities are likely to please Cornyn. The NRSC chairman said
Thursday that Thune is a valuable money draw who figures prominently into
the committee’s broader fundraising plans.

“He’s helped us a number of times. He’s a very popular and often-requested
Senator when it comes to political events, and I think he’s shown himself
willing to make himself available,” Cornyn said. “I’ve got bigger and better
plans for him than perhaps he’s had in the past.”

That’s good news to the GOP rank and file. Said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.):
“John Thune is an absolute powerhouse for the Republican Party. He’s very
solid, he knows the issues, he’s good on the stump, he’s good on the Senate
floor, he communicates well and he connects very well with voters across the
whole political spectrum.”

Although only in his first term, Thune entered the Senate with ready-made
credibility after defeating Daschle. Thune, a conservative, is popular with
the GOP base, but he also is viewed as having appeal with independent
voters.

Aides say Thune, a married father of two daughters – one in college, the
other in high school – has developed a reputation as a strong political
strategist. However, he has also honed his policy muscle as the chairman of
the Policy Committee, and in that slot he has worked to revamp the operation
to include an additional focus on external communications.

Last week, a newly constructed Policy Committee website went live. The
website includes blogs written by Policy Committee experts, as well as the
ability to watch Senate floor deliberations streaming live. Thune’s Policy
Committee plans an intense focus on health care reform as the new law is
implemented.

Thune also is interested in government spending, the deficit and the new
Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that is soon to come before the Senate for
ratification, and he is directing his staff to study those issues. But Thune
would like to have an opportunity to actually implement policy, as opposed
to just issuing white papers and trying to modify Democratic proposals. He’s
hoping the midterm elections can change that.

“We’re hoping that after November we’ll be in a better position to negotiate
on legislation,” Thune said. “If you’re a negotiator, we’re not in a very
good negotiating position – we don’t have a lot of leverage – and we’re
hoping we’ll get some checks and balances back in this process. We pick up
some seats, then they’ll have to work with us.”
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