Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Farmers, politicians gathering this week

Most Minnesota political eyes are focused on the Minneapolis bridge collapse, but another possible disaster will take center stage when farmers and politicians gather this week.

Most Minnesota political eyes are focused on the Minneapolis bridge collapse, but another possible disaster will take center stage when farmers and politicians gather this week.

Drought concerns are spreading like wildfire across parts of Minnesota. U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., says drought conditions are reaching crisis levels. He and others in the state congressional delegation already are seeking drought relief.

Minnesota's congressional delegation will have a chance to bend Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns' ear this week during Farmfest in southwestern Minnesota.

Giuliani gets support

Bismarck's mayor and a state public service commissioner are the latest North Dakota Republicans announcing support for ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's presidential bid.


Mayor John Warford is a former Republican National Committeeman for North Dakota.

Public Service Commissioner Susan Wefald, who is current president of the PSC, said she's impressed with Giuliani's commitment to energy independence and that after studying the candidates, "it was very clear that Rudy Giuliani has the experience and leadership needed to be president."

Carp battle

The Asian carp is an enemy of Minnesotans, and a federal water bill will pay $4 million to battle the invader.

The bill approves a barrier near Dubuque, Iowa, which should prevent the fish from moving farther north. The carp jumps out of water, and many videos circulate showing them hitting boaters.

"While Asian carp make for a good laugh on YouTube, it is an invasive species that threatens the health of the Mississippi River - a centerpiece of Minnesota's economic and environmental health," said U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. "As a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I worked hard to ensure this funding made its way to Mississippi River. It's so important we take this proactive step to protect Minnesota's waterways and our delicate eco-system."

Fun while it lasted?

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., toiled for months - or was it years? - to get butane lighters banned from airline flights. He finally succeeded in early 2005.


But beginning two days ago, the ban is lifted. The Transportation Security Administration complained loud and long that looking for them wastes valuable time that screeners can use to look for real bombs.

Though Dorgan often speculated that failed "shoe bomber" Richard Reid could have ignited his bomb with a lighter, TSA chief Kip Hawley dismissed them as a danger. "Taking lighters away is security theater," he said.

Chortled one blogger on July 20, after news came out that the ban was to be lifted: "Airplane lighter ban lifted; Michael Moore and Senate Democrats crushed."

Moore featured Dorgan's campaign for a lighter ban in his "Fahrenheit 9/11" film.

Rights concerns

U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar complains about human rights abuses in the Philippines.

He and other congressmen have written to Philippines President Gloria Macapagel Arroyo about the problems.

"Earlier this year, constituents brought to my attention their concerns with the inhumane killings in the Philippines." Oberstar said. "I hope this letter is an encouragement to President Arroyo to move forward to improve human rights in the Philippines and to bring to justice those who are responsible for these killings."


Oberstar said human rights groups have reported more than 800 killings that occurred outside the legal process.

Legislators graded

In the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce's legislative report card for the 2007 session, the 46 lawmakers given a 100 percent favorable score - nearly one third of all legislators - were Republicans. Another 36 Republicans scored in the 90s. The remaining five Republicans from both chambers scored either 82 or 89.

Only four lawmakers got less than 60 percent and they were Democrats: Reps. Rod Froelich of Selfridge and Dorvan Solberg of Ray with 50 percent, and Sens. John Warner of Ryder and Carolyn Nelson of Fargo with 58 percent.

The scorecard is at www.ndchamber.com/legislative_info/pdf/2007HowTheyVoted.pdf .

No Minnesotans

Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and other farm states that do not have early presidential primaries or caucuses were shut out of a John McCain national agriculture advisory committee.

States like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina dominate the Arizona senator's newly appointed panel. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is co-chairman of McCain's national overall campaign committee.


Funny to some

North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven didn't go to the International Peace Garden 75th Anniversary on July 14, but he sent written remarks. They were read during ceremonies by House Minority Leader Merle Boucher, D-Rolette, because the Peace Garden is in his district.

Boucher explained to the mostly Canadian audience the oddity of the "leader of the opposition" giving the Republican governor's remarks, prompting chuckles. Laughing the hardest was Peace Garden board member - and former Democratic Party executive director - Jim Fuglie.

Hoeven was in Minot that day to greet national golfers who were deciding where the Hawktree (Bismarck), Bully Pulpit (Medora) and Links of North Dakota (Ray) golf courses should land in their list of 100 best in the country. Then he visited and played golf with his father.

Following Minnesota

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to follow the lead set by Minnesota Rep. Paul Marquart and establish a Web site to submit ideas for cutting property taxes.

Assemblyman Paul Moriarty called for creating the site, which also would give taxpayers information on existing tax-relief programs.

The Web site PoliticsNJ.com quotes Moriarty: "When it comes to the most important issue facing our state, property taxpayers should not have to surf a sea of disparate Web sites to get important information, send ideas or air complaints. The state should have a one-stop Web presence where residents can educate themselves on various relief programs and educate officials on what else can be done to lower property taxes."


Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, established a Web site to solicit Minnesotans' suggestions for changing property tax laws. Several were rolled into an overall tax bill, one that Gov. Tim Pawlenty eventually vetoed.

The Marquart idea was also highlighted as a top idea in a National Conference of State Legislatures publication.

She's on (the) board

Rep. Kathy Hawken, R-Fargo, was recently elected to the national board of Women in Government and attended the group's annual western regional conference. She said conference discussions were valuable as she and others in North Dakota look for ways to help uninsured and under-insured women get health care, in light of decisions by the federal government and the 2007 Legislature, which meant a funding cut for Women's Way. The state program pays for breast and cervical cancer screenings and treatment for women who can't afford them.

What To Read Next
Get Local