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Associated Press, Published November 19 2010

ND Sen. Conrad: I'll keep Budget Committee chair

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad says he'll stay as chairman of the Senate Budget Committee instead of becoming chairman of the Agriculture Committee.

Incumbent Agriculture chairwoman Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas was defeated in this month's elections. Since then Conrad has considered giving up his Budget Committee chairmanship in favor of Agriculture.

A coalition of farm groups has appealed to Conrad to stay on as Budget Committee chairman. The group says Conrad's Budget Committee position helps ensure "fair and equitable treatment" of ag issues.

Conrad says he'll be able to influence the next federal farm bill from his current position as Budget Committee chairman.

Conrad is a member of four Senate committees — Finance, Budget, Agriculture and Indian Affairs.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.