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Political notebook: Satrom: Say what you mean

One of Joe Satrom's recurring phrases in his bid to run for North Dakota governor comes from a lesson he learned as a 14-year-old farm kid. He was building a steel grain bin with his Great Uncle Carl and at the end of the job, his uncle handed hi...

One of Joe Satrom's recurring phrases in his bid to run for North Dakota governor comes from a lesson he learned as a 14-year-old farm kid.

He was building a steel grain bin with his Great Uncle Carl and at the end of the job, his uncle handed him a check.

"Being a humble Scandinavian kid, I said 'Oh Uncle Carl' -- as I'm reaching for it -- 'you don't have to pay me.' ... He grabbed it back and said, 'All right. I won't' "

But the next day in church, Uncle Carl slid the check over to him on the pew and said, 'Here's the check and you should have it and you should say what you mean.' "

Goodno backer


A Rochester, Minn., lawmaker is one of Kevin Goodno's biggest fans.

"He could do well wherever he is," Rep. Fran Bradley, R-Rochester, said about his former House colleague.

Bradley's comments came in response to talk that Goodno, a former Moorhead legislator, could be in line for Gov. Tim Pawlenty's chief of staff job.

Many in the Capitol wondered if that would be such a good idea, considering Goodno has so much experience backing his current human services commissioner job. But Bradley said there are others who could replace Goodno.

"I always believed there are enough good people around for positions," Bradley said.

In fact, since the chief of staff rumors began, Bradley himself is considered one who could step in as Human Services Department chief.

"The rumors are all over the place," Bradley said, and Pawlenty himself isn't saying much about who he wants to replace Charlie Weaver as chief of staff.

It was understood


Gov. John Hoeven and Lt. Gov. Jack Dalrymple never had to discuss whether Dalrymple would be on the ticket for a second term, they said.

Dalrymple says there was an opportunity for him to decline, though very subtle.

"Somewhere back in there, it was made clear (by Hoeven) that the boat was probably going to go down the river ... and I didn't get off."

He said there was never anything to speculation among some that either he or Hoeven might jump into a Senate race, leaving the other to head the gubernatorial ticket alone.

Bigger brackets

Bigger is better for income tax brackets, and the Minnesota Revenue Department says its brackets are growing for tax year 2004.

In simple terms, the expansion just ensures that Minnesotans don't get bumped into higher tax brackets just because of inflation pay raises. However, those already near the top of their tax brackets could move into the more expensive area if they receive raises of more than the 2 percent allowed for inflation.

Let's go


North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger announces his re-election campaign today in Fargo and Bismarck.

JOBZ criticism

Rural DFL legislators say it appears Pawlenty may be breaking his promise to use Job Opportunity Building Zones to help rural areas.

"Pawlenty recently helped a Twin Cities-based window manufacturer announce a project considered likely to be the first JOBZ zone project, and it's starting to look like there might be some hedging on the promise made to rural Minnesota," Rep. Mary Ellen Otremba, DFL-Long Prairie, said. "The window-factory project is going to North Branch, which technically is in rural Minnesota -- by about 5 miles. ... North Branch also enjoys the advantages of a location right on I-35 and even has a very large outlet shopping mall. The freeway access and outlet mall have sparked additional development in the area."

Otremba and her Democratic colleagues are bound to bring the issue up during next year's legislative session.

Pawlenty pitched JOBZ as a way to help depressed rural areas.

New deputy in town

There's a new North Dakota deputy secretary of state starting next week.


Jaeger has appointed Jim Silrum to replace Cory Fong, who recently resigned to work for Hoeven's re-election campaign. The job is a political appointment.

Silrum has worked the past eight years as executive director of Camp of the Cross Ministries on Lake Sakakawea near Garrison and before that worked for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Minnesota.

SARS reports sought

The Minnesota Health Department wants to hear about any severe acute respiratory syndrome cases.

The department has asked doctors, clinics, hospitals and other health-care providers to let it know if SARS lands in the state.

The request is one of several steps the department is taking to prepare for a possible re-emergence of SARS. One most people will hear about is a "Cover Your Cough" campaign, which will focus on basic precautions people can take to prevent the spread of colds and other illnesses that can be spread by coughing.

A billion-dollar point

Sen. Byron Dorgan says U.S. taxpayers will shell out $1.85 billion less in Iraq because of his efforts to trimmed the Iraq reconstruction appropriations bill signed by President Bush Thursday.


Dorgan says the money is saved from the reconstruction portions of the $85 billion bill, not from the military operations portion.

Dorgan made the point that the U.S. military campaign took pains to avoid damaging Iraq's infrastructure.

That means damage done to Iraq's infrastructure resulted from neglect by Saddam Huessein's government, or by insurgent Iraqis.

In Silicon Valley

Former North Dakota Attorney General Nick Spaeth recently became senior vice president and general counsel at Intuit Inc., the California company known for its products Quicken, QuickBooks and TurboTax.

He had been senior vice president and general counsel for General Electric's Employers Reinsurance Corp.

He was attorney general from 1985-92 and lost the 1992 race for governor to Ed Schafer.

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