UPDATED: Local, national reaction to Conrad’s retirement

FARGO – Many local and national political leaders have released statements today responding to the news of Kent Conrad‘s retirement in 2012.

Here is what some had to say:

“For more than 20 years, Kent Conrad has been a tireless advocate for the people of North Dakota. During that time, he has shown an unmatched dedication to putting our country on a sound fiscal path and a commitment to meeting our nation’s energy challenges. He has also been a good friend to me, and while I am saddened to see him leave the Senate, I look forward to working with him during the next two years on the important issues facing our country. Michelle and I thank Senator Conrad for his leadership and service, and wish him and his family all the best in their future endeavors.”

“Like many North Dakotans, I was surprised to learn today that Senator Kent Conrad will not seek reelection to the U.S. Senate in 2012. Sen. Conrad called me this morning and we spoke about his plans for the remainder of his term. I thanked him for his service, and told him I look forward to working with him over the next two years on the issues important to our state and our nation.

“Senator Conrad has served the state of North Dakota for many years, and over that time, he and I have had a good working relationship. Mikey and I wish him and his family the best in any new endeavor he chooses to undertake.”

“For 24 years, Senator Kent Conrad has been dedicated public servant for the people of North Dakota.  This afternoon, I thanked him for his service and wished him well on his future endeavors.  I look forward to working with Senator Conrad as he finishes his term, and I am committed to working with both Senators Conrad and Hoeven to better serve the people of North Dakota.”

“Kent has been a great friend to me in the Senate and it’s been an honor to serve with him. His work to strengthen farms and rural communities has made a real difference for families in North Dakota, Minnesota, and across the nation. I look forward to continuing to work closely with him on the key cross-border issues facing our states, including permanent flood control in the Red River Valley and reauthorization of the Farm Bill, as well as on our national priorities of reducing the deficit and promoting economic growth.”

“Senator Conrad’s absence will be felt not only by the people in North Dakota but those in Northwest Minnesota and the Red River Valley. Senator Conrad, along with his colleagues Senator Byron Dorgan and Representative Earl Pomeroy were instrumental in securing federal funding for flood recovery for the communities of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks after the devastating record-breaking flood in 1997.

Thanks to Senator Conrad’s efforts, the people in Grand Forks, North Dakota and East Grand Forks, Minnesota now have a permanent flood control project ensuring that they will never experience the devastation they did in 1997.  Senator Conrad understands the need to continue to provide flood protection for the people in the Red River Basin who face flood threats each spring.

“As a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and Chair of the Budget Committee, Senator Conrad worked with producers and farm organizations on both sides of the Red River to shape the 2008 Farm Bill. Senator Conrad understands the farming community and the vital role that community plays in assuring economic prosperity for the entire region.”

“Let me be the first of many to congratulate Senator Conrad on a remarkable public service career. Senator Conrad has always been a bipartisan giant, readily reaching across the aisle to do what is right for North Dakota. From his time as state Tax Commissioner to his decades of service on Capitol Hill to his remarkable work as the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, there are few North Dakotans who have had a larger impact on our state and our nation than Senator Conrad.”

“While the political implications of Senator Conrad’s decision are significant, there will be time to address those issues in the coming weeks. Today, I join North Dakotans of both political parties in expressing heartfelt appreciation to Senator Conrad for his outstanding work on behalf of our country.”

  • Brian Kalk, North Dakota public service commissioner and potential Republican contender for the 2012 U.S. Senate race

“I want to thank Senator Conrad for his many years of service to the people of North Dakota.  He has worked very hard and deserves our thanks.”

“We will continue to do the work of the people of North Dakota on the Public Service Commission.  That is job one.  As I said when the Kalk for Senate Exploratory Committee was formed, we will talk with the citizens of North Dakota and with Republicans across the state, and be guided by what is best for our family, our state, and our nation.  That has been my guiding philosophy as a United States Marine, an instructor at North Dakota State University, and as North Dakota Public Service Commissioner.”

“The people of North Dakota had a stalwart fighter in Kent Conrad and the entire caucus will miss him. There are a number of potential Democratic candidates who could make this race competitive while we expect to see a contentious primary battle on the Republican side.  North Dakotans have a long history of electing moderate Democrats to the Senate, and we believe they will have an opportunity to keep up that tradition next November.”

“In the wake of Senator Hoeven’s overwhelming victory last year, Senate Republicans fully expected North Dakota to be a major battleground in 2012, but Senator Conrad’s retirement dramatically reshapes this race in the Republicans’ favor.

“Like millions of voters across the country, North Dakotans sent a strong message in November that they are tired of the massive spending and growing debt that we have been seeing from Washington.  That is why the Democrats’ big government agenda will be a major impediment to any Democrat challenger who may now step forward in this race.

“We believe this race represents one of the strongest pickup opportunities for Senate Republicans this cycle and will invest whatever resources are necessary to win next year.”

“For 24 years, Senator Kent Conrad has been dedicated public servant for the people of North Dakota.  This afternoon, I thanked him for his service and wished him well on his future endeavors.  I look forward to working with Senator Conrad as he finishes his term, and I am committed to working with both Senators Conrad and Hoeven to better serve the people of North Dakota.”

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