WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 09, 2011, 11:16 AM

From Bismarck to the Beltway: Hoeven Learning Senate Ropes

North Dakota's new Senator and Congressman have only been on the job for a month, but that doesn't mean they aren't already up to their necks in the nation's business.

By: Charley Johnson, WDAZ

This is the second part of our three-part series The Changing Faces of North Dakota Politics. You can see the next installment Thursday on WDAY News at 10

The move from North Dakota has not changed Senator John Hoeven's agenda. He believes that what's good for North Dakota is good for the country.

"Job creation is job number one, because we grow the economy. We have to hold the line on taxes. We have to reduce the tax burden, because that stimulates economic growth and economic development," Hoeven said.

Hoeven recently got his committee assignments, including at least a two-year seat on the Senate Agriculture committee. It's an important slot this year, because it's time to write a new farm bill.

"Ultimately, good farm policy is good for everybody in the country. But it needs to be a good, cost-effective approach. That's what you're going to see us work on in the Congress as we work on that farm bill," Hoeven said.

Unlike his freshman counterpart in the House, Hoeven is in the minority party in the Senate. So, in this day of partisan wrangling, which side will be the first to offer significant compromise in order to make some progress on this year's $1.5 trillion deficit, and the $14 trillion debt?

"We're going to have to get bipartisan support to move the kind of legislation that we're talking about. As you look at the big issues of the day, we need that bipartisanship," Hoeven said.

Hoeven's Republican Senate colleagues are happy to have reinforcements, especially, it seems, one who has executive experience as a Governor.

"We're very pleased he's here. He brings a lot of talent, but also perspective of having been the chief executive of a state, with all of the challenges that entails, so we're very pleased," Arizona Senator John McCain said.

Thursday night we'll hear from North Dakota's other Senator, Kent Conrad, on what needs to be done to get the country's deficit and debt under control.