Gulleson delays U.S. Senate race decision; today’s flood updates

BISMARCK–Former state Rep. Pam Gulleson, D-Rutland, said today that she will not make an announcement about whether she will seek the seat of retiring Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., until after flooding issues in the state subside.

“North Dakotans have turned their full attention to helping the families affected by the devastating floods in Minot and Bismarck and the surrounding communities,” she said in a statement.

“My family and I are committed to joining our neighbors and others from across the state to do all we can to help with the recovery.  While I am giving strong consideration to a run for the U.S. Senate, North Dakota families come first. A decision will come only after significant progress has been made on recovery efforts.”

Read more about Gulleson and state Democrats’  call for her to seek the nomination here.

In other flood news today,the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved Morton, Renville and McHenry counties for individual assistance. They join Ward and Burleigh counties. State officials are still pressing for additional counties to be added, including those near Devils Lake.

Velva’s flood evacuation order will be lifted at 8 a.m. Thursday, a news release from the city said.

“The governor and City Commission believe because of the drastic drop in the river and that 100 percent of the river is now within the original levee system, it is safe for residents to move back to their homes,” spokeswoman Maria Effertz Hanson said in a statement.

Also late Wednesday, the governor’s office announced another $1 million donation to flood relief efforts.

CHS Inc. will donate $1 million to help North Dakota communities recover from devastating floods, a news release said. The supplier of agriculture and energy products also is donating $50,000 to CHS employees whose homes have been damaged by flooding in the Minot area. In addition, the CHS Foundation, an independent private foundation supported by CHS, is contributing $50,000 to the American Red Cross to aid the state’s flood relief efforts, the release said.

On Tuesday, Hess Corp. announced a $1 million donation to flood efforts as well.

In case you missed it, here was my story in the paper today discussing how the state will move forward with flood recovery efforts.

FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino said more than 5,000 residents of Ward County have filed for individual assistance, according to a news release from Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D.  In addition, more than $1.4 million has  been distributed between Ward and Burleigh counties, the release said.