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Hoeven adds bank to holdings

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal recently reported that North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven is part owner of a new bank in the Twin Cities suburb of Eden Prairie.

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal recently reported that North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven is part owner of a new bank in the Twin Cities suburb of Eden Prairie.

First Western Bank is owned by Westbrand Inc., a Minot, N.D.-based company of which Hoeven is 39 percent owner, the Journal reported.

It said Hoeven is listed in filings with the state as a director of the Eden Prairie bank and principal shareholder. Perry Mead, former CEO of Advance Acceptance Corp. in Eden Prairie, is president of the bank, the Journal said.

Hoeven's family has owned banks in Minot for several decades.

It was almost enough to make a tough political reporter feel sorry for Minnesota House Speaker Steve Sviggum - almost.

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Sviggum, R-Kenyon, met with Capitol reporters Friday to talk about how the legislative session is going. He rattled off a list of "must have" issues. One was passing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages. A reporter reminded the speaker that earlier he said the gay marriage issue was over for the session.

Specifically, the speaker told reporters: "Democrats have won. Citizens have lost."

If the speaker already has given up on the issue, how can he call it a "must have"? So, how does the speaker define "must have"? A frustrated Sviggum replied: "What we would like to have."

So do you have a "must have" list and a "wanted" list? At that point, the speaker put his head down, in effect admitting defeat to political reporters trying to uncover any nugget of news as the legislative session nears its end.

North Dakota Democrats' four challengers for statewide office are planning to run their campaign as a team, according to a party e-mail.

Democratic-NPL Executive Director Jim Fuglie said the four did joint planning during a party candidate training meeting at the University of Mary in Bismarck a couple of weeks ago.

The four are Cheryl Bergian, running for the Public Service Commission; Bill Brudvik, the attorney general candidate; tax commissioner candidate Brent Edison and Kristen Hedger, who's trying for secretary of state.

Fuglie said their planning is the earliest he's ever seen such an organized effort for a statewide campaign.

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Minnesota Sen. Keith Langseth is proud of money he has secured for flood-prone areas along the Red River.

The Glyndon Democrat has another $25 million in this year's public works funding bill - for flood prevention projects around the state, not just in the northwest. But there will remain a need to finish work in communities from Breckenridge on north.

"The reason I'm running one more time is I want to finish up that," Langseth said.

It's a constant job, I tell ya - keeping up with all the Eastern press's cheap shots at North Dakota and wayward mentions of our senators.

Morris County, N.J., Daily Record columnist Matt Manochio, in a recent column about visiting the U.S. Supreme Court, includes a gratuitous comment that "it's our one branch of government that we never see, and seldom do we hear it - kind of like the population of North Dakota, but much more important."

In a journalistic rim shot, he adds jokingly, "(A scathing e-mail from U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., just landed in my inbox.)"

During the same week, a Portsmouth, N.H., Herald reporter writing about new rules for U.S.-Canadian border crossings places mentions Dorgan's work on legislation affecting such crossings, and places him as being from South Dakota.

The Minnesota House Rules Committee needed a promise before allowing to Rep. Mike Charron's bill making the Honeycrisp apple the state fruit.

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A Bayport elementary school class had asked that the University of Minnesota-developed apple be given the designation. Longtime House members told Charron about what happened when another class sought to make the blueberry muffin the state muffin. It seems the class put a muffin on each lawmaker's desk on the day they were to vote.

Charron said the apple is not in season, but he will provide Honeycrisp cider when the House votes on the measure this week.

The committee then promptly approved his request to send the bill to the House floor.

Readers can reach Forum Capitol reporters Janell Cole at (701) 224-0830 or Don Davis at (651) 290-0707

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