Dorgan joins board of ag insurance company

Byron Dorgan

Byron Dorgan

Former U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan has joined the board of directors for The Climate Corp.

The company, which was formerly known as WeatherBill, offers weather insurance to farmers as a complement to federal crop insurance.

In a Tuesday written statement, the North Dakota Democrat said he wanted to be involved in the company because he saw its ability to combine  public data with “Silicon Valley innovation and technology” to help farmers mitigate the financial effects of weather damage.

“In recent years, family farmers have seen volatile commodity prices, rising input costs and increasingly unpredictable weather, accentuating the substantial risks they already face,” he wrote. “When I was first introduced to The Climate Corp., I realized they were destined to be successful in helping today’s farmers deal with increasingly volatile weather.”

Dorgan did not seek re-election last year to the Senate seat he held since 1992.

In addition to his new role at The Climate Corp., he serves as co-chair of Government Relations Practice for Washington, D.C., law firm Arent Fox and serves as a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center, where he focuses on energy policy issues.

Gulleson announces U.S. House bid

Pam Gulleson

Pam Gulleson

Pam Gulleson officially announced her campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday.

The former North Dakota legislator from Rutland has been a rumored Democratic federal candidate for months, but surprised many Wednesday when it became clear she would run for the House rather than the U.S. Senate.

Here’s Gulleson’s announcement:

I am running because I’m a proven independent voice. The problems facing our country are huge, and I’ll work across party lines to get things done for small businesses, farmers, communities – right here in North Dakota.

What’s happening right now in Washington—from ending Medicare and privatizing social security while protecting corporate loopholes and tax breaks for billionaires— certainly isn’t the ‘North Dakota Way’, and it’s not the American way. I will fight for economic policies that benefit the middle class, as well as tax breaks and incentives for small businesses.

I will work to ensure that North Dakotans can count on strong, independent leadership that puts job creation and common sense before partisan tongue-lashing and insider politics. By working together, I know that we can build a strong future for all of our families.

She’s now on a statewide tour that will take her to Fargo, Bismarck, Grand Forks, Minot and several other towns.

North Dakota’s lone member of the House, Republican Rick Berg, announced earlier this year that he will seek the GOP nomination to run for the Senate seat that Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., is not seeking re-election to next year.

Lt. Gov. Wrigley to speak at GF lunch event

Drew Wrigley

Drew Wrigley

North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley will be in Grand Forks next Wednesday for a politics and lunch event.

The public event, hosted by the Grand Forks Republicans, will take place from noon to 1 p.m. at the GuestHouse Inn, 710 First Ave. N. The cost to attend is $10, which includes lunch and a beverage.

Former U.S. Attorney Wrigley was appointed lieutenant governor in December when Jack Dalrymple replaced John Hoeven as governor.

During the politics and lunch event, Wrigley will discuss several topics and answer questions.

Hoeven, Conrad, Berg set to appear on Prairie Public’s ‘Prairie Pulse’

North Dakota’s three members of Congress will appear on upcoming episodes of Prairie Public’s “Prairie Pulse” TV show.

The 30-minute program features conversations with regional newsmakers and airs Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and rebroadcast Saturdays at 5 p.m.

Sen. John Hoeven is scheduled for tonight’s broadcast. Sen. Kent Conrad will be featured Aug. 26 and Rep. Rick Berg on Sept. 2.

N.D. delegation: $2 million grant to help improve access roads near Fort Yates

The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation has been awarded a nearly $2 million federal transportation grant, North Dakota’s congressional delegation announced Thursday.

The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Public Lands Highway Discretionary Program, which works to improve roadways in and through public lands and federal American Indian reservations.

This grant will be used for roadway widening, subgrade preparation, aggregate base, paving, highway lighting and signing and marking items, work that will help the tribe improve access roads to state Highway 24 near Fort Yates, N.D.

“These funds granted to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe will make a significant impact on the road system near Fort Yates, which is important in providing access to schools and businesses, and encouraging economic growth,” Sens. Kent Conrad and John Hoeven and Rep. Rick Berg said in a joint statement.

FAA awards $1 million construction grant to GF airport

The Federal Aviation Administration will award a construction grant of more than $1 million to Grand Forks International Airport, North Dakota’s congressional delegation announced Tuesday.

The funding was put on hold in July during a disagreement in the House and Senate over the next FAA budget. But Congress reached a deal last week that restores the agency’s funding for the next month and reinstated airport construction grants.

The $1,081,671 will help cover paving, fencing, additional construction and reimbursement for engineering costs related to the new $21 million Byron L. Dorgan Terminal.

Sens. Kent Conrad and John Hoeven and Rep. Rick Berg will be at the airport Wednesday for the dedication of the new terminal being named in honor of former Sen. Byron Dorgan, who helped direct nearly $50 million in airport-related funding to Grand Forks during his time in office.

Berg announces town hall schedule in Grand Forks, Fargo and Bismarck

Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., has announced his schedule for three of his six town hall meetings across the state this month during the congressional recess.

Berg held town halls Thursday and Friday in Dickinson, Williston and Minot, and will visit Bismarck, Grand Forks and Fargo next week. Here are the details:

Tuesday:

  • 5:30 p.m., Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library, 515 N. Fifth St.

Wednesday

  • 7:30 a.m., Coffee with Congressman Berg, UND Center for Innovation Ina Mae Rude Entrepreneur Center, 4200 James Ray Drive (Grand Forks)

Thursday

  • 6 p.m., Longfellow Elementary School, 20 29th Ave. N. (Fargo)

Berg to hold more town hall meetings this month

Rick Berg

Rick Berg

Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., announced Tuesday that he’ll hold six town hall meetings across North Dakota this month to hear from residents and answer their questions.

In a written statement, Berg said politicians can’t look to Washington for the nation’s solutions because “Washington is the problem.”

“As we work together through the historic challenges ahead, I am committed to listening to North Dakotans and making sure Washington works more like North Dakota,” he wrote. “This is North Dakota’s seat and I look forward to an open, honest and unfiltered discussion about the solutions and ideas we need to get our country back on track.”

Berg will hold town halls in Dickinson, Williston and Minot this Thursday and Friday. He also plans to hold meetings in Bismarck, Fargo and Grand Forks next week, but those meetings haven’t yet been scheduled.

The freshman congressman held his first town hall meetings in April with stops in Minot, Bismarck, Fargo and Grand Forks.

Here’s a preliminary schedule:

Aug. 4:

  • Noon – Badlands Activities Center, Dickinson State University, 398 State Ave.
  • 6:30 p.m. – Williston Community Library, 1302 Davidson Dr.

Aug. 5:

  • Noon – Grand International Inn, 1505 N. Broadway, Minot

Conrad: USDA official to inspect flooding’s impact on N.D. farmland

The head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s disaster assistance programs will travel to North Dakota next week to inspect the state’s farmland  and see how excessive moisture and wet weather this spring and summer has impacted crops.

Kent Conrad

Kent Conrad

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., announced Tuesday that USDA’s acting under secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, Michael Scuse, will travel to North Dakota on Aug. 9.

In a written statement, Conrad said major flooding this year has had a “devastating impact” across the state.

“The unprecedented rainfall that caused flooding also left millions of acres unplanted, and much of acreage that was planted has been subsequently flooded, causing additional damage,” he wrote. “This will have a significant impact on North Dakota’s family farmers and ranchers for weeks and months to come.”

Scuse oversees the USDA’s crop insurance and ag disaster programs. Conrad said it’s important for him to see “first hand” how the state’s wet conditions have impacted farming this year.

North Dakota State University’s Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics recently estimated the state’s farmers have seen a direct financial impact of $1.1 billion because of flooding and heavy rains this year. That figure represents a loss in total revenue, not net farm profit, based on the number of acres that were not planted this year at the market value of the crops that would have been produced on wet acreage.

Conrad is a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and one of the key authors of the 2008 Farm Bill.

Valley Tea Party to hold rally in downtown Grand Forks

A local tea party group will host a rally in downtown Grand Forks this weekend.

The Valley Tea Party Conservative Coalition will hold the rally in the town square Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Key speakers will discuss regional and national issues. Speakers include: Public Service Commissioner Kevin Cramer; Dakota Beacon Publisher Steve Cates; Janne Myrdal, Concerned Women of America; Paul Sorum, a conservative candidate for governor; U.S. Senate candidate Duane Sand; Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk; and Barb Chervestad, Northwest Minnesota Tea Party Patriots.

Radio talk show host Scott Hennen will serve as master of ceremonies.