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Officials on track with Net blogging

Some North Dakota legislators are updating constituents with Web sites and blogs. Rep. Kathy Hawken, R-Fargo, has started hers at www.khawken.blogspot.com. Another House member, Rep. Jasper Schneider, D-Fargo, has www.jasperschneider.com/blog/ind...

Some North Dakota legislators are updating constituents with Web sites and blogs.

Rep. Kathy Hawken, R-Fargo, has started hers at www.khawken.blogspot.com .

Another House member, Rep. Jasper Schneider, D-Fargo, has www.jasperschneider.com/blog/index.cfm?Fuseactionblog and www.jasperschneider.com .

Democrats in the Senate using the Internet are Carolyn Nelson, of Fargo, with www.dakotanotes.com and Tom Seymour, of Minot, at http://senatortomseymour.blogspot.com and www.seymour-senate.us .

The all-Democrat District 24 delegation - Sen. Larry Robinson and Rep. Ralph Metcalfe, both of Valley City, and Rep. Phil Mueller, D-Wimbledon - are at http://www.district24dems.com/ .


Running the Senate

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, in office barely more than a week, presided over the U.S. Senate for a time Friday morning. Debate was routine, and a clerk fed her what she needed to say, but senators usually consider it an honor to run the Senate.

A few minutes later, the Minnesota Democrat delivered her first speech on the floor. She began by criticizing President Bush's desire to send more troops to Iraq.

"Haven't we asked American soldiers and their families to sacrifice enough?" she said.

Her main topic was ethics reform, something she said often was brought up when she campaigned last year.

Doubles holdings

John Hoeven was amused last week to find he had become governor of a second state.

Columnist Marshall Loeb's marketwatch.com column Wednesday said that if Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., doesn't recover from his brain hemorrhage, "His successor in the Senate would be chosen by South Dakota Governor John Hoeven, a Republican."


Hoeven just grinned and said, "Hey, that's two states!"

As of late Friday, the marketwatch.com error had not been corrected.

Frederickson picked

Klobuchar picked long-time Farmers Union leader Dave Frederickson to lead her agriculture efforts.

Frederickson led the Minnesota Farmers Union for a decade, moving to the top post in the national organization in 2002 and retiring last year. He farmed in Swift County and was a state senator before taking on the Farmers

Union jobs.

Based in the Twin Cities, Frederickson "will be responsible for public outreach on farm and rural issues," Klobuchar's office reported.

Conrad makes top 10


A magazine, The American, has Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., on its list of the "10 most economically literate members of Congress."

It incorrectly said he was a former state treasurer; he was tax commissioner.

Conrad spokesman Chris Thorne said The American is "a nonpartisan, general-interest monthly magazine distributed to subscribers of the International Herald Tribune."

The magazine interviewed Capitol Hill aides, think tank experts, business lobbyists and lawmakers, with "no litmus test of ideological views or party affiliation."

Auditor hired

Former Minnesota State Auditor Pat Anderson didn't stay out of public office for long.

Pawlenty named her as the new commissioner of the Department of Employee Relations - the last remaining position to be filled in the governor's cabinet.

Anderson, who lost her re-election bid to Rebecca Otto in November, will oversee Pawlenty administration efforts to blend the department's functions with other state agencies, with the goal of eliminating it as a separate entity.


Internet measure

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., unsuccessful last year with his "Net neutrality" movement in Congress, is back with a similar measure, the Internet Freedom Preservation Act. If enacted, he said, it will "ensure that broadband service providers do not discriminate against Internet content, applications or services by offering preferential treatment."

Like last year, it has backing from a wide variety of groups. One supportive Web site is www.savetheinternet.com .

Hugoson named

Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson will head the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board.

Pawlenty named Hugoson to the post, which fits in with his agriculture leadership role. In that position, he serves on the board.

Conrad shuffle

Sen. Kent Conrad's state office director, Lynn Clancy, has retired after 20 years and his deputy state director, Scott Stofferahn, and former campaign manager, Mary Boeckel, will now share the job. Stofferahn is eastern North Dakota director, and Boeckel is western North Dakota director.


Stofferahn is former state director of the U.S. Agriculture Department's Farm Service Agency and was a legislator and farmer from Cogswell. Boeckel was on Conrad's staff several years ago, then administered the Girl Scouts Sakakawea Council. She is a daughter of former Gov. George Sinner.

Forum Communications reporter Mike Longaecker contributed to this story

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