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Political notebook: Sand may challenge Dorgan

BISMARCK -- Duane Sand, the Navy man who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate against Kent Conrad in 2000, wants to do it against Byron Dorgan next year.

BISMARCK -- Duane Sand, the Navy man who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate against Kent Conrad in 2000, wants to do it against Byron Dorgan next year.

He's been telling North Dakota Republicans that he is "definitely" going to run, but in an interview only said, "I'm very interested."

He said Republicans are encouraging him, though he knows more prominent GOP names also are being discussed and he knows they are well- qualified, he said.

Sand was recalled to active duty after he lost the election and spent 18 months at sea. He's a nuclear engineer on submarines.

Now a lieutenant commander, he's working at the Pentagon on new Navy-Air Force joint programs and living in Bowie, Md. He's hoping to be discharged Oct. 1.


Meanwhile, he said he has built a Super 8 motel at Hallock, Minn., and is planning to have a motel built at Pembina and a restaurant in Hallock. He also owns apartments and agricultural property at Gwinner.

Sand spent his early childhood in Fargo and Pembina and graduated from high school in Lancaster, Minn.

Closing in on Saddam

American intelligence officials appear to be making progress in finding Iraq's Saddam Hussein, U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson says.

"I do get the sense that they are zeroing in on him," said the western Minnesota Democrat, a member of the House Intelligence Committee. "They have some good intelligence on him."

It is important to find Saddam, Peterson said, so Iraqis can begin trusting the United States. They remember how the United States abandoned them after the first Persian Gulf War, he added, and fear their ruthless dictator will return once again if Americans leave.

To poll or not to poll

Someone was doing political polling in North Dakota in the past few weeks, apparently testing the public's perception of various names for Senate and gubernatorial races.


One Democrat who had information about people being called was convinced the polling was sponsored by the state Republican Party. He said the interesting thing was that the Republican names being tested for Senate against Dorgan did not include former Gov. Ed Schafer. Names that were tested included Republican National Committeeman and Bismarck Mayor John Warford and Lt. Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

Executive Director Jason Stverak firmly denied the state party was doing any polling.

The Democratic-NPL names apparently being tested in the poll for a governor's race are Joe Satrom of Bismarck, Sen. Joel Heitkamp, D-Hankinson; and his sister, former Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp, whom Gov. John Hoeven defeated in 2000.

Worker help

Minnesota will receive $2.1 million to help workers who lost their jobs due to international trade.

The grant will help workers gain new skills and find jobs.

"During these tough economic times too many Minnesotans have found themselves without work," U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., said. "We are committed to helping them and their families get back on their feet and get in position to take advantage of new opportunities in our ever-changing economy."

No money, please


On June 24, members of the Legislature's interim Budget Section -- mostly Republicans -- demanded that Gov. John Hoeven go through them to decide what is to be done with a $50 federal windfall coming to the state as part of the tax cut bill passed in Congress.

Among those arguing for legislative control over the money was Rep. Al Carlson, R-Fargo.

But a few months ago, Carlson was among state legislators all around the country who were begging Congress not to give the states any so-called "bailout."

The plea came from members of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative state legislators' organization. In March, more than 100 ALEC members signed a letter addressed to former members of ALEC who are now in Congress.

"In the name of the Jeffersonian principles of limited government, free markets, and especially federalism, please reject the calls for a federal cash bailout of the state governments," said the letter.

The letter is on ALEC's Web site, www.alec.org .

Rep. Bette Grande, R-Fargo, also signed the letter, but she does not serve on the Budget Section so she wasn't at the June 24 meeting to speak on the issue.

Hoeven says he isn't doing anything with the federal grant and that it will be banked as a cushion for the 2003-05 budget cycle, which began Tuesday.


Two named

Gov. Tim Pawlenty named two Detroit Lakes residents to Minnesota state boards.

Dr. Larry Morrison, an optometrist for 24 years, will be on the Board of Optometry. He practices in Detroit Lakes and Mahnomen.

Jacqueline Pausch, a free-lance business developer, will serve on the Board of Accountancy.

Votes canceled

Two rural Minnesota congressmen ignored political pressure and crossed party lines when voting for a bill adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare.

"We canceled each other out," said Rep. Collin Peterson, one of nine Democrats voting for the GOP-written Medicare bill, which passed the House 216-215.

The western Minnesota congressmen's vote was important because Rep. Gil Gutknecht, a southern Minnesota Republican, resisted lobbying from his party and voted against the bill.


Gutknecht opposed the bill because he wants Americans to be allowed to legally import drugs from Canada, something the measure did not touch.

"He was obviously not very happy," Peterson said. "There was a big mob of people around him and Jo Ann Emerson, and they needed two more votes."

Peterson, himself, was receiving pressure to oppose the bill from fellow Democrats.

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

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