North Dakota Democrat Sen. Kent Conrad said Friday he will stay on as Senate Budget Committee chairman, ending speculation he would take over as head of the chamber’s agriculture committee.
“After many conversations with constituents, ag leaders and Senate colleagues, it is clear that the people of North Dakota are best served with me remaining the Chairman of the Budget Committee,” said Mr. Conrad in a prepared statement.
Conrad cited his ability to shape the 2002 and 2008 farm bills from his position as budget chairman and as a senior member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee as important factors in his decision.
“As Chairman of the Budget Committee and a senior member of the Agriculture Committee, the people of North Dakota will be best represented in negotiations on the next Farm Bill, legislation to reduce our dependence on foreign energy, and renewed efforts to put our nation’s fiscal house in order,” he said.
Current Senate agriculture chairman Blanche Lincoln, Arkansas Democrat, lost to Republican John Boozman in the Nov. 2 congressional elections, creating an opening at the head the panel.