The North Dakota Trifecta?

The news just broke; North Dakota’s long-serving Democratic-NPL senator Kent Conrad is retiring after 2012:

President Obama said in a statement that he was “saddened” about the news of Conrad’s retirement but added: “I look forward to working with him during the next two years on the important issues facing our country.”

Conrad, who currently chairs the Senate Budget Committee, has been in office since 1986 and risen to become one of the most influential — and intellectual — policy makers operating in the nation’s capital.

Conrad had been open about his ambivalence about running for another term and had taken several actions in recent months that suggested he was leaning against running again.

Conrad turned down a chance to chair the Senate Agriculture Committee — an industry of huge import in North Dakota — to stay on at the helm of the Budget committee and supported the debt commission report, a decision that would have almost certainly put him in political hot water in the context of a political campaign.

And with that, North Dakota’s trifecta of Congressmen, which two years ago was pound-for-pound among the most powerful threesomes in Washington – Conrad, plus Byron Dorgan, who retired last year and Earl Pomeroy, who was soundly thrashed last November – leaves the stage after a combined total of something close to eighty years in Congress, leaving traditionally-conservative North Dakota with a decent shot of being represented by…conservatives.

27 thoughts on “The North Dakota Trifecta?

  1. Pingback: Shot in the Dark » Blog Archive » The North Dakota Trifecta? | North Dakota News

  2. MyGov;

    Not so many nukes anymore. Most of the silos there were emptied after the first SALT treaty was signed.

    While I was stationed at Grand Forks in the USAF in the early 70s (as a SAC trained killer), SAC used to brag that if North Dakota were a separate world power, it would be the third largest in terms of nuclear response capability. No wonder the civilians there were nervous! Well, that and they had several hundred single servicemen descending on their women every weekend. 😉

  3. Most of the silos there were emptied after the first SALT treaty was signed.

    If I recall correctly, the Grand Forks missile wing (which included silos north of 94 and east of US281) was disbanded and disarmed after SALT. The Minot wing, again if I recall correctly, is still operational, albeit smaller.

    I think I recall hearing that NoDak has about 80-100 Minuteman III missiles (down from 330) and a wing of B52Hs at Minot (twenty-ish planes), down from fifty or sixty plus a wing of B1s in the ’80’s and ’90s.

  4. Kermit;

    Not to worry. The smallest female member of the Security Police Squadron there could slap some sense into him.


    That sounds about right, but of course, the actual number of active missles is classified. There are about 10 or 12 KC-135 tankers at GFAFB with the 319th Refueling Wing. I was a Crew Chief on a B-52H, which was part of the 319th Bomb Wing, until it was deactivated and the BUFFs were moved out. My old bird is still flying out of Barksdale AFB, LA.

    Minot only has about 15 B-52H’s on station now flying for the 5th Bomb Wing. All of the B-1’s were sent to Ellsworth AFB, SD, but I don’t know if they are still there.

  5. Ellsworth’s web site indicates that the B-1B Lancers are still there with the 28th Bomb Wing.

  6. “Well, that and they had several hundred single servicemen descending on their women every weekend. ”

    Air Force pukes…pfft. A big weekend for tender, young Airmen entails hitting the WalMart to stock up on white socks.

    The robust, corn fed beauties of ND want Seamen!

  7. The robust, corn fed beauties of ND want Seamen!

    You can’t grow corn in NoDak, city boy. Too dry. Outside the Red River Valley (sugar beets, soybeans and potatos) it’s wheat country.

    I did read where the Navy took over the old Omega radio-navigation station at LaMoure from the Coast Guard, and converted it to a facility for communicating with submarines. They have got to be the most land-locked squids in the whole Navy.

  8. The robust, corn fed beauties of ND want Seamen

    … too easy

    I wonder if there will be a mass migration of conservatives/people who have just had enough into North Dakota from Cali,NY, and Illinois, maybe someday 50 years in the future North Dakota will have 7-10 electoral college votes.

  9. Dream on, Ben. I went to school out there, and the people from Illinois/CA/NY got there…were so bored they transferred in less than a year.

  10. As an alumnus of the 44th Strategic Missile Wing at Ellsworth I can state the wing was deactivated in the mid-90s. The 28th Bomb Wing, or whatever the 28th is called these days was the last wing standing. Ellsworth was for some time the largest operational base in SAC and had four wings at its peak.

  11. North Dakota. “We gots nukes…and SHEEP!”

    And don’t forget OIL.

    “Well, that and they had several hundred single servicemen descending on their women every weekend.”

    Today they probably need to worry more about the roughnecks today!

    And ND has electric power, and the lignite coal to produce it for generations into the future (if the cap & trade dingbats don’t get in the way).

  12. MyGov,

    When I was in college (in Jamestown, in the eighties) our athletic department got a lot of kids from IL, CO and VA. About 3/4 of them lasted a semester or two. Of the ones that remained, a LOT of them wound up living up there.


    I remember Ellsworth being really really big at one point.

  13. I was in North Dakota once. For the life of me I don’t know why. The most common reaction to growing up in NoDak is the overwhelming urge to get the hell out of there.

  14. “I went to school out there, and the people from Illinois/CA/NY got there…were so bored they transferred in less than a year.”

    Must have been Chicago/NYC pukes, not from downstate/upstate (respectively).

    I went to UIUC and NoDak is a paradise in comparison to downstate Illinois. There’s too much agriculture to leave anything for outdoors fun, and wandering down country roads on a bike dodging drunken farmboys driving pickup trucks is all the excitement there is.

  15. swiftee;

    I always wondered why the Navy has bases located in places where the closest water is a river, like Boise and Denver. There were even some Navy guys stationed in the GF area while I was there, but again, ya’ can’t float too big of a BOAT on the Red River, so I don’t know why they were there.


    According to the web site, the 44th is still based there. I remember Ellsworth being what we called in SAC, “Little Offutt” (SAC HQ) because of all of the SAC specific training and events that were held there. In fact, when I was qualifying for flight status, I went there for altitude chamber testing.

  16. I gotta agree with the Nerd. I’ve driven the length of Illinois, North to South. It’s like Nebraska, only boring.

  17. I get to Minot every couple of months. North Dakota feels prosperous. With crop prices high, and that sweet crude coming out of the ground, there’s money in that state.

    Driving from Minot to Jamestown, one passes a lot of manufactured homes being hauled to Williston to house the roughnecks. Businesses in Fargo and Moorhead have a difficult time finding workers. Last I checked, North Dakota was the only state which was not in recession.

  18. Gordon;

    You are correct. Several smaller Minnesota construction related firms have been working there and living in rented rvs or campers due to the lack of housing for miles around in any direction, which even includes all of the hotels. My understanding is that construction on the infrastructure, sewer, water, electric, etc; won’t resume until spring thaw.

  19. A couple of friends of mine here in MN are looking right now at buying a decommissioned nuke silo and converting it into a manufacturing plant.

    I wonder why they don’t consider doing that here? Oh, yeah – no silos!

  20. It’s like Nebraska, only boring.

    In my younger days, I and a buddy drove the entire length of Nebraska, east to west. However, it was in the middle of the night, and speeds averaged 100-110 mph. Ahh to relive the days of being young, stupid and not bothered by laser speed guns.

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