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Published December 18 2008

ND legislators like Vilsack as ag secretary

BISMARCK – President-elect Barack Obama’s choice of former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to be the next federal agriculture secretary is good for the region, North Dakota officials say.

“Governor Vilsack is a strong advocate of renewable fuels made from products grown in the Upper Midwest,” Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., said in a statement. “As we look for ways to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, his strong support of renewable energy will be good for the country and particularly our part of it.”

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., also praised Obama’s choice of Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar to head the Interior Department, saying Vilsack and Salazar are “solid nominees for these positions that will help move North Dakota forward.”

Dorgan said Vilsack will be on the side of family farmers, and Salazar brings an expertise on issues that include the Bureau of Indian Affairs, public grasslands and national parks.