Former ND Senator Byron Dorgan Joins Anti-Nuke Group


This is an interesting tid-bit about former North Daktoa Senator Byron Dorgan, courtesy of Politico:

NEWSOM AND DORGAN JOIN CENTER FOR ARMS CONTROL AND NON-PROLIFERATION BOARD: California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom will join the Center’s Board of Directors and former Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) will join the Center’s National Advisory Board. “As a member of the Board of Directors, Lt. Governor Newsom will contribute to the strategic direction of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation,” the group said in a statement yesterday.

Nuclear weapons were (rather unexpectedly) a big part of the 2012 contest between current North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp and her Republican opponent Rick Berg. Heitkamp took a lot of money from a group called the Council for a Livable World (they were one of her biggest contributors, in fact) which has as its mission the downsizing of America’s nuclear arsenal.

Why are nuclear weapons important in North Dakota? Because they’re a big part of the military mission in the state, specifically the Minot Air Force Base which maintains nuclear missile silos all over the state.

When in office Dorgan was long a champion of keeping North Dakota’s military bases open, helping to fight off efforts to close down or downsize the state’s Air Force installations. Though that’s less the hot button issue today than it was, say, a decade ago the bases are still seen as important economic factors in the state.

(One might make a principled argument here about economic development not being a goal that’s high on the list of the military’s priorities, but I digress.)

It’s interesting that Dorgan, by joining this group, seems to have abandoned his past position in defending the nuclear mission in North Dakota. After all, if the group he’s joined gets its way, the US will have fewer nukes. Including, presumably, in North Dakota.