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Archive for October, 2011

Ben Nelson on the ropes with Nebraskans.

Weekly Clips September 29, 2011 through October 13, 2011

U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson, D-NE

NELSON: TRADE BILLS WILL CREATE AMERICAN JOBS AND PROTECT AMERICAN WORKERS

October 5: Ben Nelson–U.S. Senator: Pressroom:  Today, Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson said he is optimistic about three plans to increase trade, create jobs, and protect American workers.

“I’m pleased Washington is addressing jobs in three ways that will benefit Nebraskans. It’s focused on increasing trade, but making sure that with free trade, we’ll also see fair trade. I welcome that because, since I was governor, I’ve fought for free and fair trade,” Senator Nelson said on his weekly conference call with the Nebraska news media. “These three trade issues will help create American jobs and protect American workers.” More…

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NELSON INSISTS HEALTH PLANS RESPECT INDIVIDUALS’ MORAL CONCERNS

October 10: Ben Nelson–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services had been accepting public comments as it determines a final definition for the term “religious employer.”

Nelson, who is pro-life, wrote to CMS Administrator Donald Berwick to make two important points:

The proposed definition of “religious employer” should be broadened. Many religious charities, colleges and hospitals would not qualify for the exemption under the current definition; and

Individuals with religious or moral objections should receive the same conscience protections afforded to religious employers. The exemption should not depend upon the individual’s employer.

“No one with moral or religious objections to contraception should have to pay for it through his or her health insurance premiums,” Senator Nelson said. “I appreciate that the health care law intends to respect the objections of conscience of those who disagree with the mandated coverage of contraception, but the exceptions must be constructed in a way that is meaningful and broad enough so that every objector may be included.”

Under the current definition of “religious employer,” at least 11 Catholic health facilities in Nebraska would not qualify for the exemption. More…

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Working With All Sides

October 6: Ben Nelson–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: When I was Governor we occasionally liked to move the Capitol around the state for a few days as a way to get people closer to their government and for the government to get closer to the people. We called it “Dome on the Roam” and it really seemed to work to help bring people together to work on problems that faced all of us.

I thought about this the other day while thinking about how dysfunctional Congress has become. Most members are politically polarized and thinking only about bickering and who will win the battle of the sound bites.

They should be working together to solve our many problems especially when it comes to the economy and creating jobs. Maybe bringing government closer to the people would foster greater understanding and help us move forward as a country. More…

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NELSON OPPOSES MORE SPENDING AND MORE TAXES

October 11: Ben Nelson–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson issued this statement regarding the cloture vote held today on the American Jobs Act:

“At a time when Americans want Washington to get its fiscal house in order, I can’t support this bill because it represents billions of dollars in new spending and more taxes.

“First and foremost, I agree with the many Nebraskans who want Washington to get serious about cutting spending and bringing down the deficit.

“Now, concerning jobs, the three trade agreements we expect to pass this week will actually create tens of thousands of new jobs across America through increased trade.

“In my state of Nebraska alone, they’ll create 1,100 new jobs just in agriculture. And they’ll add more than $123 million a year to our economy in new agriculture trade sales.

“The China currency bill we’re working on also is about jobs.

“But at this time I simply can’t support raising taxes so Washington can spend more.”

An Audio Recording of Sen. Nelson’s statement is available here:http://bennelson.senate.gov/audio/101111_bennelson_1_radio.mp3

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NELSON: ASSASSINATION PLOT SERIOUS ATTEMPT TO COMMIT TERRORISM ON U.S. SOIL

October 12: Ben Nelson–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: After being briefed today by senior U.S. intelligence and security officials, Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson said that the attempt to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States was a “sinister, serious and real” plot linked to Iranian officials, and that he hopes other nations will back sanctions to stop Iran’s support of terrorism.

“This bizarre plot linked to Iran was a brazen attempt to commit terrorism on U.S. soil,” Senator Nelson said. “The plot was sinister, serious and real. My concerns are twofold: I remain concerned about the welfare of Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir, and about the safety of those working in and conducting business in Israeli embassies, which also were a target.” More…

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NELSON: TODAY, THE SENATE WILL CREATE JOBS

October 12: Ben Nelson–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “Today, the Senate will help create jobs in Nebraska. We’ll do that by approving long-awaited trade agreements with Korea, Panama and Colombia,” Senator Nelson said during his weekly conference call with the Nebraska news media. “For Nebraska, these three agreements stand to create more than 1,100 new jobs just in agriculture alone. That will pump more than $123 million each year into our economy.

“With all the talk about the need to create jobs in our struggling national economy, in this one concrete way, by breaking down barriers, we’re getting the job done.” More…

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Nelson stands firm on health care reform

Lincoln Journal Star: September 30: Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson stepped onto dangerous terrain and stood his ground Friday, praising the health care reform law during an address to the Nebraska Medical Association.

“It already has done a lot of good,” he said, while also expressing his willingness to be open to changes and improvements.

“I agree it’s far from perfect,” Nelson told the physicians.

Despite its flaws, he said, the 2009 legislation will “end up helping tens of millions of Americans” who have been unable to afford health care coverage and have either avoided or not had access to timely care.

“I am willing to fight to improve it, but not to repeal it,” Nelson said.

Nelson encountered a number of concerns about the legislation during a question-and-answer session and was challenged by one doctor who questioned whether he was “still a citizen representative” after 11 years in the Senate. More…

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NSEA endorses Nelson for re-election

Lincoln Journal Star: October 3: The 28,000-member Nebraska State Education Association has endorsed Sen. Ben Nelson’s 2012 bid for re-election.

In a statement released Sunday, NSEA President Nancy Fulton said Nelson has demonstrated “a long-standing commitment to improving education and making certain our children remain the focus of education programs and policies.”

The Democratic senator was one of only 10 senators to vote against President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind education reform legislation in 2001, Fulton said.

“Ten years ago, Senator Nelson said he believed No Child Left Behind would place unfunded, unworkable mandates on states and local school districts to meet inappropriate, one-size-fits-all federal standards,” she said.

“He has been proven right,” Fulton said. More…

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Ben Nelson down only 4 points to Jon Bruning

Public Policy Polling: October 4: Ben Nelson may not be in as much trouble as previously thought.  The embattled Nebraska Democrat had been almost an assumed casualty on the way to a Republican takeover of the Senate, but with recent stumbles by likely opponent Jon Bruning, Nelson’s chances are revived—and with them, the Democrats’ chances of retaining the Senate.  That is even more true if Bruning manages to lose the primary.

PPP has not polled the state since January.  Then, Bruning led, 50-39.  That is now only 46-42.  This movement comes from incremental improvements with Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike.  While Bruning wins 13% of Democrats, Nelson poaches 19% of the GOP, and he has a 49-29 lead with independents “Ben Nelson still has a very difficult fight for reelection on his hands but it looks like he might at least have a chance,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling.

“The other time we polled this race it looked like he was pretty much finished but the good news for him is that Jon Bruning is not proving to be a very strong foe.” PPP surveyed 739 Nebraska voters from September 30th to October 2nd. The margin of error for the survey is +/-3.6%. This poll was not paid for or authorized by any campaign or political organization. PPP surveys are conducted through automated telephone interviews. PPP is a Democratic polling company, but polling expert Nate Silver of the New York Times found that its surveys in 2010 actually exhibited a slight bias toward Republican candidates.  More…

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Democrats Prepare for ‘Class Warfare’

Roll Call: October 6: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reidmoved quickly to shore up support in his Democratic caucus for President Barack Obama’s jobs bill Wednesday, announcing it would come to the Senate floor shortly and be paid for by a surtax on millionaires.

Reid’s decision to pay for the $447 billion package with a 5.6 percent surtax on income of more than $1 million starting in 2013 gives Democrats a poll-tested package that most can run on for the next year — even though the surtax itself is dead on arrival with Republicans.

Indeed, Reid appears to be setting the stage for a major floor battle that will raise the specter of “class warfare” and Obama recently called himself a “warrior for the middle class.” Democrats have been feeling less vulnerable on the issue of raising taxes on the rich because recent polls, such as an Oct. 3 CBS News poll, have shown that two-thirds or more of Americans believe millionaires should pay more into federal coffers.

Still, Reid predicted “most all” — though not all — Democrats would support it.

For example, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) has said he would vote to block any bill containing a tax increase — and others have also been skittish about tax hikes. More…

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Nebraska GOP targets Nelson with FEC complaint

Lincoln Journal Star: October 5: The Nebraska Republican Party has accused Democrats of spending more than the legal limit to shore up the reelection of Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who a new poll shows is climbing in a matchup against GOP front-runner Jon Bruning.

The complaint filed Tuesday with the Federal Elections Commission alleges that the Nebraska Democratic State Central Committee, using money provided by national Democratic campaign groups, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars more on television ads promoting Nelson than it is legally permitted to do. It also alleges that the disclaimers at the end of the ads were inconsistent and misleading in identifying who was paying to put Nelson on TV.

“Nebraskans deserve to know the exact amount of illegal spending that has occurred by the NDSCC  — and that Washington dollars paid for it — and why Ben Nelson is an active participant in this blatantly illegal act,” said Mark Fahleson, who chairs the state GOP.

Democrats dismissed the allegations as a distraction, but didn’t specifically address whether the spending violated FEC rules. They strove to change the conversation back to allegations that Bruning violated conflict of interest guidelines by investing in a vacation home with executives who had benefited from decisions he made as the state Attorney General.

“Instead of coming clean about his shady investments and allegations that he used his position as Attorney General to line his pockets, Bruning is trying to push his unethical investments under the rug,” said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Matt Canter. More…

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DCCC mistakenly believes Pam Gulleson a strong candidate in North Dakota

Weekly Clips September 29, 2011 through October 13, 2011

U.S. Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D. At-Large and Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, R-N.D., 2012 U.S. House Campaigns for N.D.

Rick Berg for U.S. Senate

Berg Completes Two-Day Regulations Tour

September 29: Rick Berg-U.S. Rep.: Pressroom: Congressman Rick Berg today completed a two-day “Regulations Tour” to bring awareness to the impact of federal regulations on North Dakota farmers, ranchers and small business owners.

Berg met with local business owners, farmers and ranchers in Bismarck and Fargo to learn how federal regulations had affected their businesses.  As the House continues to work to reduce regulatory burdens on America’s job creators, Berg will use the experiences of North Dakota farmers, ranchers and small business owners to bring to light the impact of federal regulations imposed on the American people.

“Overbearing government regulations are one of the biggest challenges facing our economy,” Berg stated. “From farmers and ranchers to family-run stores, Washington’s one-size-fits-all regulations add unnecessary costs, increase uncertainty, and make it harder for North Dakotans to do business.  I hope that this tour brings awareness to the regulatory challenges facing North Dakotans and makes it clear that to turn our economy around, we have to rein in unnecessary regulations that continue to burden our small businesses and hinder job creation.” More…

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Berg Announces Job Service ND Official to Testify Before Congress

October 5: Rick Berg-U.S. Rep.: Pressroom: Congressman Rick Berg today announced that Maren Daley, the Executive Director of Job Service North Dakota, will be testifying before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources.

With North Dakota leading the nation in job growth and having the lowest rate of unemployment in the nation, Daley was asked to share her experiences working with North Dakota’s reemployment efforts and offer suggestions for what Washington can do to better engage the unemployed and provide States more flexibility in assisting them.

“Our country continues to face significant economic challenges, and with thousands of Americans seeking employment, it’s critical that states have the flexibility they need to best help their residents get back to work,” Berg stated. “North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, in large part due to the common sense policies that we’ve adopted, both for business growth and for unemployment assistance.  I’m happy to welcome Maren to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources, and look forward to hearing her share with the Subcommittee stories of North Dakota’s success and her ideas for helping the long-term unemployed in our country.” More…

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Berg Presses for Swift Passage of Long-Awaited Job-Creating Free Trade Agreements

October 5: Rick Berg-U.S. Rep.: Pressroom: Congressman Rick Berg today urged for the expeditious passage of long-awaited free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia, emphasizing at a House Ways and Means Committee mark-up of the agreements the potential for job creation and increased exports in North Dakota.

“A robust export agenda is a key part of our path to national recovery and these trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia hold tremendous potential for job creation and business growth,” Berg stated. “In North Dakota, we’ve seen the benefits of a renewed commitment to free trade, and it’s disconcerting that the delay in implementation of these three agreements has already caused our nation to lose ground in the foreign market. It’s critical that they are expeditiously moved forward so that our small businesses can start to enjoy the economic benefits of these agreements and work to create more good American jobs.”

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Berg Presses for North Dakota Solutions to Help the Long-Term Unemployed

October 6: Rick Berg-U.S. Rep.: Pressroom: “As we work to get our economy moving and Americans back to work, it’s clear that Washington is not the solution—Washington is the problem,” Berg stated. “In North Dakota, we know that one-size-fits-all approaches to solving the challenges our state and nation faces don’t work. Our state has been able to innovate in our reemployment efforts, and we’ve seen the success that comes from allowing states and communities to individualize their efforts to help the long-term unemployment and work to best serve their unique needs.   Our country needs the same flexibility, which is why I’ve introduced the HIRES Act, which would ensure that states are provided with more flexibility to help their residents get back to work.”

Berg introduced the HIRES Act in August, which would allow states to best serve the needs of their unique populations by permitting states to apply for waivers to test a demonstration project designed to expedite reemployment of unemployment insurance recipients.

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Berg Gives Congressional and Senate Western Caucus Weekly Address

October 6: Rick Berg-U.S. Rep.: Pressroom: “In the West, we know firsthand the damaging effect of Washington’s one-size-fits-none approach to regulations.”

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Berg Presses for Investigation into Social Security Disability Case Delays

October 7: Rick Berg-U.S. Rep.: Pressroom: In the letter, the Republicans note that any intentional work slowdown is, “an abuse of the taxpayer dollars that support the program, a neglect of the Americans that depend on these critical benefits, and raises serious questions about those charged with leading this important program.”

The Republicans requested that Mr. O’Carroll investigate three specific items:

1.       Management oversight and controls at the hearing offices in the seven states identified in the article – Florida, Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio, and Arizona – and at the appropriate regional offices and ODAR headquarters.

2.       What complaints were made and when about “blackout” directives, and whether leadership took any corrective action.

3.       Whether there is any pattern among managers of instructing employees to manipulate workloads for personal gain.

The full letter, signed by 22 Republicans, can be read here.

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Berg: “Long-Awaited Trade Agreements Will Bring Jobs, Economic Opportunity to North Dakota”

October 7: Rick Berg-U.S. Rep.: Pressroom: Trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia hold tremendous potential for job creation and business expansion in North Dakota was the message stressed by Congressman Rick Berg today at a trade-focused roundtable held with North Dakota businesses.

Berg met with eight Fargo-area businesses and representatives from the North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO), North Dakota Department of Agriculture, the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Department of Agribusiness and the U.S. Department of Commerce this morning at NDSU to discuss the benefits that North Dakota could see if free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia are implemented.

“These trade agreements mean more opportunities for American businesses and more American jobs,” Berg stated. “A strong export agenda is not only a critical part of our national recovery, but will help North Dakota businesses grow and create jobs as well.  Today’s roundtable demonstrated how free trade has directly benefited our local businesses and our state’s ability to compete in a global market.”

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Berg Applauds Passage of Job-Creating Free Trade Agreements

October 12: Rick Berg-U.S. Rep.: Pressroom: Congressman Rick Berg today applauded the House passage of long-awaited free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia.

“We’ve been waiting for these trade agreements for a long time, and every day that goes by without them is a missed opportunity,” Berg stated. “In a time when our economy is struggling, these trade agreements mean more opportunities for American businesses. They mean more American exports. And most importantly, these agreements mean more American jobs.”

Berg also stressed the direct economic impact that the agreements could have on North Dakota, noting that the trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia could increase exports by at least $23 million in North Dakota alone.

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Berg Calls for Answers from Corps on Missouri River Flooding

October 12: Rick Berg-U.S. Rep.: Pressroom: Congressman Rick Berg today called on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to testify before Congress regarding the management of the Missouri River and the record flooding Missouri River states experienced this spring.

“This year’s flood event devastated communities up and down the Missouri River,” Berg stated. “It is critical that we know what decisions and events influenced the size and scope of this disaster, and I believe the Corps has a responsibility to provide this information to those who were affected by flooding. The residents of these states deserve answers.”

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Berg promotes committee to approve federal agency regulations

Bismarck Tribune: September 30: “The No. 1 thing, when it comes to rule-making, is you have to take into account family farms, small businesses and the people their rules actually effect,” he said.

Such a committee would encourage agencies to put in place “common sense” regulations rather than unnecessary ones, Berg said.

“When you have the checks and balances in place, most of the rules are common sense,” he said.

While Berg would not label the tours of Bismarck and Fargo as campaign tours, he said the messages he was putting out were consistent with what he has been saying since he was elected to Congress. Berg has announced he will run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. More…

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Officials look for assurance from Corps on flooding

Bismarck Tribune: September 30: Brig. Gen. John McMahon, commander of the corps’ Northwest Division, said that he was confident this year’s conditions would not be repeated next year and that the storage level would be enough to prevent flooding.

“There has to be a good reason to draw down more water,” he said. “It gives me a degree of confidence that … we won’t have another year like this year, next year.”

Despite the corps’ confidence in its plans, officials asked McMahon and other corps representatives to keep their plans flexible in case there is high runoff again.

“We need to know that doing the same thing with the same amount of storage capacity won’t create the same result,” said Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., who also took part in the discussion at the City/County Building. More…

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Berg Raises Over $650,000

National Journal: October 12: Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., raised over $650,000 for his Senate bid during the third quarter, according to a source close to his campaign. It’s a solid haul that put his campaign over the $1 million cash on hand mark on September 30.

Berg had raised about $461,000 during the second quarter, after launching his campaign in mid-May. He had just under $550,000 when that quarter came to a close.

Berg has a primary challenger, Duane Sand, who launched his candidacy in early August. Sand hasn’t released his fundraising numbers yet, but his number is expected to fall well short of Berg’s mark.

Sand, who has repeatedly made unsuccessful bids for statewide office, raised $131,600 in the second quarter (back when he was considering a run for Berg’s House seat).

On the Democratic side, former state Rep. Pam Gulleson was considered a strong potential candidate, but last month she decided to mount a bid for Berg’s House seat instead. Former North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp is still mulling a run for the seat.

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Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, R-N.D.

Fallen firefighters honored at ND Capitol

WDAY-TV: October 12: They are there for us in the worst of times, and now their service is being honored. The North Dakota Firefighter’s Association held a ceremony in the state Capitol in honor of National Fallen Firefighters Memorial weekend. The event was an opportunity to promote fire protection and prevention, and to recognize North Dakota firefighters and their role in public safety.

Lt. Governor Drew Wrigley – (R) North Dakota: “Ninety-five percent of the firefighters in North Dakota are volunteer firefighters. That is a profound sense of willingness to sacrifice, to participate in protecting and preserving communities and people, lives and property. And it’s just another testament to how great our state is.” More…

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2012 U.S. House Campaigns for North Dakota

Republican Joins Race for At-Large North Dakota Seat

Roll Call: October 5: State Rep. Bette Grande (R-N.D.) will seek the House seat being vacated by Rep. Rick Berg (R), who is running for Senate.

Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk (R) already declared he’s seeking the seat, and state Sen. Tony Grindberg (R) and state Rep. Al Carlson (R) reportedly continue to mull bids.

North Dakota Republicans traditionally pick their nominee at their annual convention this spring.

Democrat Pam Gulleson, a former aide to ex-Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), is running for her party’s nod.

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Longtime Fargo legislator joins US House race

Crookston Daily Times: October 6: Fargo resident Bette Grande made it official Tuesday in her hometown of Williston, located hundreds of miles away in the heart of the state’s oil patch. She later criticized the federal government for getting in the way of energy development.

 

“We have to reign in the government,” Grande told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “Our government is overreaching. As far as North Dakota is concerned, it is far overregulated.”

Grande said her campaign also will focus on cutting spending, reducing taxes and repealing health care.

Grande, 50, is the second Republican to enter the race for the seat that will be vacated when Republican Rep. Rick Berg runs for U.S. Senate. State Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk, the first to announce for House, said it could be crowded field.

“We always expected other folks to get in,” Kalk said. “Whether it’s one opponent or six opponents, we’re going to stay focused on our own game plan.”

Stan Stein, chairman of the state Republican Party, said Grande gives Republicans another choice.

“I think Bette’s record as a strong conservative in the Legislature speaks for itself,” Stein said. “I think the competition is good for anyone who decides to get in the race. She’s probably not going to be the last to announce.”

Stein said others who could jump in the race are Fargo state Sen. Tony Grindberg, West Fargo state Rep. Kim Koppelman, state treasurer Kelly Schmidt, and Shane Goettle, state director for U.S. Sen. John Hoeven.

“People are engaging a lot earlier this year than ever before,” Stein said. “But they’re concerned about what’s going on in Washington.”

Pam Gulleson, former aide to U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, is seeking the Democratic nomination to the House. Greg Hodur, the state Democratic Party chairman, said Grande’s decision to run won’t affect the party’s campaign plans. More…

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CONGRESS IS RIGHT TO FREEZE FUNDS FOR PALESTINIANS

Brian Kalk for ND: News: October 6: “The Palestinian Authority continues to thumb its nose at the United States and the Middle East peace process. By taking their demands for instant statehood to the United Nations, they proved they have no interest in reaching a peace agreement with Israel. The U.S. House recently froze nearly $200 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority. I compliment the House for its action.”

Mr. Kalk said that American aid to the Palestinians has been wasted because of corruption and has not reached the Palestinian people. The people controlled by the corrupt Abbas regime, see little, if any, of the aid dollars sent by America.”

He called on Congress to stop all aid to the Palestinians.

“The Obama Administration will not take the action needed to force the Palestinians to return to the peace process. It is time to freeze all American taxpayer money meant for the Palestinians. That includes the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and other nongovernmental organizations that use taxpayer money to finance the Abbas regime. We cannot afford it and it is counterproductive.”

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KALK HAILS PASSAGE OF TRADE DEALS

Brian Kalk for ND: News: October 13: Brian Kalk, candidate for the U.S. House, hailed the passage by Congress of trade pacts with Columbia, South Korea, and Panama.

“Passage of the trade pacts with Columbia, Panama, and South Korea has been delayed far too long. I applaud the House and the Senate for stepping up and passing this needed legislation.”

Mr. Kalk said that North Dakota will benefit from passage of the trade pacts.

“Passing this legislation will mean increased exports to these countries. Our state stands to gain business and jobs from the increase in exports. It is vital that Washington focus on creating a positive business climate so that entrepreneurs and business leaders can make the investments necessary to grow jobs and our economy. This is a positive first step, but much more is needed.”

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ND regulators reviewing $600M in wind projects

AP: Forbes: October 13: Tony Clark, the PSC’s president, said the state’s wind energy development pace is accelerating because of next year’s possible loss of a federal tax break for wind energy, and a requirement in neighboring Minnesota that utilities supply 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

“Renewable portfolio standards … are really driving the development of wind throughout the country,” Clark said.

Low interest rates are another factor in the boomlet, Clark said. “It’s a cheap time for utilities to borrow capital,” he said. More…

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ND wind power set for big expansion

Bismarck Tribune: October 8: North Dakota’s wind energy capacity will likely grow by more than a third in 2012, driven by renewable energy standards and the uncertain future of a federal incentive.

The state’s operating wind farms have the capacity to generate 1,378 megawatts of electricity. Between projects that are under development now and some that are likely to go forward soon, the state could add almost 500 additional megawatts, according to Public Service Commissioner Kevin Cramer.

“That would mean that 25 percent of the nameplate capacity of electricity is generated by wind,” he said. “If you look at North Dakota’s growth, the speed of that growth is really pretty remarkable.”

Cramer cites five projects that are under construction or that he expects to be soon started and completed by the end of 2012. Among them are expansions of the Bison Wind developments by Minnesota Power in Oliver and Morton counties, the expansion of the Oliver Wind developments, also in Oliver County, and a 150-megawatt project in Rollette and Towner counties. More…

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ND taxable sales up 32 percent in 2nd quarter

AP: BusinessWeek: September 28: Taxable sales in North Dakota during April, May and June totaled $4.5 billion, an increase of 32 percent over the year, the Tax Department said Wednesday.

“Even with the onset of statewide historic flooding during the second quarter, North Dakota’s economy continued to grow and consumer confidence remained strong, bucking the national trend of lackluster consumer spending,” Tax Commissioner Cory Fong said in a statement. More…

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Main Street Fairness Act: A bill to close the sales tax loophole

Bismarck Tribune: September 29: State Tax Commissioner Cory Fong and Sen. Dwight Cook: Currently, North Dakota has 126 cities and four counties that impose a local sales tax. Cities, counties and state government rely on sales and use tax revenue to provide services to our residents and to build and maintain a high quality infrastructure for the businesses operating here. The Main Street Fairness Act is an important bill for the retail industry and states – it provides for fairness across the retail industry while permitting individual state sovereignty and supporting a fair sales tax system.

As a long-time member of the SSTP, we believe that this legislation is the right thing to do. The proposed legislation will go a long way to support and encourage growth in our local North Dakota businesses along with main street retail industry across the country. We encourage Sens. Kent Conrad and John Hoeven and Rep. Rick Berg to sign on to the legislation and support it when it comes up for a vote. More…

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Taking issue with Fong and Cook

Bismarck Tribune: October 1: Gary Emineth: The recent op-ed in the Tribune by state Tax Commissioner Cory Fong and Sen. Dwight Cook concerning the “Main Street Fairness Act” is a perfect example of why I get a chill up my spine whenever I hear variations on the theme, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

While it may sound like a sincere effort to help small business, it’s just another strategy to fill state coffers with tax revenue. To say this is just closing a tax loophole is simply not true. It would be far more accurate to call it $23.4 billion Internet tax hike.

At a time when North Dakota is enjoying a level of economic prosperity like no place else in this country, it seems odd that North Dakota Republican leaders would be joining forces with liberal Democrats in Washington. As they invoke the authority of a federal tax law as a means to “help” small business, they are doing nothing more (or less) than carrying out the bidding of the tax-and-spend bureaucracy they serve.

Has it occurred to anyone else that they may be making an end run around state lawmakers and the Supreme Court as well? There is actually a Supreme Court decision that upholds the right of an out-of state business without a physical footprint in the state to refrain from collecting taxes (Quill vs. ND, 1992). And what about the commerce clause in the constitution?

When the “we” in “we the people” no longer includes me but refers to the collective entity of the state, I get nervous. When the “our money” the politician refers to is “my money” collected by the government, I get suspicious. When the bureaucrats try to disguise their agenda to raise revenue to feed the liberal agenda in Washington, I get mad.

When the Republican leadership in this state ought to be talking about the Internet as a resource and asset to the main street retailer – as a way to take advantage of what I would consider an incentive to encourage new business – they are taking a position that feels like just another power grab for the government. Why not focus on the use of the Internet to expand markets, increase services to consumers, and keep prices lower?

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Democrats see flood damage for themselves

Bismarck Tribune: October 6: For House Rep. Corey Mock, of Grand Forks, who was among those in the caucus, the appeal hits close to home. In addition to representing a city that is no stranger to flooding, Mock was born and raised in Minot.

“Obviously, I’m passionate about seeing the community being able to build,” he said, noting that the legislators as a whole need to look at Minot as a community that was devastated. They need to make sure that residents have a place they can call home, he said.

“I’m absolutely going to be there to work with legislators so that people there can get the assistance they need,” Mock added. More….

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Congressional candidate visits Williston

Williston Daily Herald: October 4: “I’m running for Congress because I think our nation faces significant challenges,” she said.

She said if elected, she will work to help solve the nation’s problems. One of those problems, she said, is a lack of jobs.

“We need more people that are willing to work across party lines for the good of our country,” Gulleson said. She said North Dakota is a good example of what should be happening across the nation.

“We’re fortunate because we have tremendous resources,” Gulleson said.

She spoke highly of the state’s coal, oil and agricultural economy.

“What we’ve been able to do is create a strong business climate with colleges that are able to create a strong workforce,” she said.

She received the Legislator of the Year Award from the North Dakota Vocational Education Association for her work to expand vocational and technical training programs across the state, according to a press release from Gulleson. More…

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‘Quotes’ of the week

Williston Herald: October 13: Each Thursday, the Williston Herald displays a few of the more interesting quotes that have appeared in the newspaper during the past week.

Here are this week’s top quotes:

“I am running for the U.S. House because the House needs to regain its Constitutional authority — it needs to regain the voice of the people.”

Williston native Bette Grande, during a speech in Williston this week announcing her bid to run for U.S. Congress in 2012.

“We need more people that are willing to work across party lines for the good of our country.” Pam Gulleson, a candidate for U.S. Congress, who campaigned in Williston last week.

“You’ve kind of got to prove yourself. You can’t really slack off. Guys are really competitive.”

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DCCC Says New Recruits Put House in Play

Roll Call: July 21: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will announce today that it believes it has “strong candidates” running in more than twice as many Republican and open seats needed to win the House majority next year.

With several new recruits on board, including Nevada Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, who is announcing his candidacy today, the DCCC says it is well ahead of schedule and on track to put the House in play in 2012.

“Thanks to the work of DCCC Recruiting Committee Chairwoman Allyson Schwartz and others, we have reached our recruitment goals for this year — ahead of schedule — and have excellent candidates running with profiles that fit their districts,” DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) said.

The rollout is a continuation of an earlier campaign to highlight the DCCC’s efforts to win back the House. Israel announced on July 21 that the DCCC had recruited candidates to run in 41 open or GOP-held districts.

Some of the new candidates being highlighted today include: retired Astronaut Jose Hernandez and physician Raul Ruiz in California; attorney Rob Wallace in Oklahoma; retired Brig. Gen. Jonathan George in Indiana; former state Rep. Keith Fitzgerald in Florida; business consultant Jamie Wall in Wisconsin; former Reps. Mary Jo Kilroy (Ohio), Dan Maffei (N.Y.) and Dina Titus (Nev.); Pam Gulleson in North Dakota; and former state Rep. Gary McDowell in Michigan. More…

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Watch Governor Perry’s video revealing his economic plan…

Perry Political Insider

October 25th, 2011

 Be sure to watch as Governor Perry reveals his new Economic Plan today at 11:00 EST on www.rickperry.org. Talking points will follow, so watch your e-mail for more information.

 

Team Perry continues to grow as we appoint our State Leadership Teams through the country:

We have been getting many requests for yard signs, bumper stickers, and other collateral. We are in the process of building an online store now. We expect it to be operational soon, so please be patient. We know you want to show your support for Governor Perry and are working on a way to make that available as soon as possible. We will continue to keep you updated.

 

In Case You Missed It

Bryan Fischer: It will be Perry for the GOP:Gov. Rick Perry will win the GOP nomination for the presidency: (Read Full Article)

 

NY Magazine – Rick Perry Comes Alive: The Republican presidential debates have driven the course of the campaign, but sometimes it takes a couple days for the result to make itself clear. Now that the dust from Tuesday night’s angry confrontation has settled, the new picture is emerging. Rick Perry has stopped his free fall and is complicating Mitt Romney’s march to the nomination. (Read Full Article)

 

Gov. Rick Perry Dominates CNN Debate with Forceful Discussion of Jobs and Conservative Record:LAS VEGAS – Texas Gov. Rick Perry dominated tonight’s CNN debate, forcefully presenting his pro-job, conservative plans and record. (Read Full Article)

 

Politico – “Rick Perry revives by rattling Mitt Romney in Las Vegas debate”:Rick Perry went into Tuesday night’s debate looking to rattle Mitt Romney – and it worked. Perry’s been under fire for his own immigration record, and resurrecting the 2007 report that Romney had hired illegal workers helped him blunt the advantage Romney had been able to get on the issue as Perry looks to recover from his collapse in the polls. (Read Full Article)

 

MarketWatch – “Perry and Cain Battle Over ‘9-9-9′ Tax Plan”: At the eighth Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas on Tuesday night, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain sparred over the latter’s ‘9-9-9′ tax plan. Video courtesy of Newscore. (Read Full Article)

 

CBS News – “Rick Perry: Time to consider defunding United Nations”:Republican presidential candidate and Texas governor Rick Perry said Tuesday that “it’s time for us to have a serious discussion about defunding the United Nations.” At the Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, Perry was asked, “Why do we continue to send foreign aid to other countries when we need all the help we can get for ourselves?” (Read Full Article)

 

Rick Perry’s Strong Record on Border Security

As Texas Governor, Rick Perry has taken unprecedented steps to secure the Texas-Mexico border and produced results.(Read Full Article)

 

What’s Happening This Week

Tuesday, Oct. 25  11:00 a.m. ET – Gray Court, S.C.

Gov. Perry to unveil next pillar of jobs/economic plan

How to get Involved

 

Join the Iowa Strike Force team:

We are in the process of building out our Strike Force team, which will consist of individuals willing to travel to Iowa during the last week to 48 hours leading into caucuses.  The caucus date will most likely be set this week. For more information regarding volunteer opportunities relating to this Strike Force, please e-mail strikeforce@rickperry.org.

 

Key Endorsements & Issue Information

New Hampshire Job Creators Endorse Gov. Rick Perry for President

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today received the endorsement of 32 New Hampshire job creators who have formed the Job Creators for Perry Coalition. These Granite State business owners and entrepreneurs are teaming up to show their support for Gov. Perry and his unmatched job creation record. Dr. Julianne Cooper and Marian Norhona have been named co-chairs to the coalition. Twenty-four of these coalition members are announcing their support for Gov. Perry for the first time. (Read Full Article)

 

Energizing American Jobs and Security

Gov. Perry began to roll out a package of sweeping reforms to rebuild the American economy and create jobs. The first part of his plan will create 1.2 million American jobs, decrease dependence on foreign oil, contain electricity costs and stop Washington bureaucrats from killing jobs. The premise is simple: Make what Americans buy. Buy what Americans make. And sell it to the world. (Read the plan) (Watch the Speech)

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