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From SE…..Former North Dakota Governor Arthur A. Link Dies at 96……

From The Grand Forks Hearld:

Arthur Link, a former North Dakota governor, congressman and longtime state legislator known for environmental stewardship and staying true to his rural roots, died today surrounded by family, a family spokesman said. He was 96.

Link wasn’t feeling well after dinner Saturday and was taken to St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck, where he developed and was being treated for pneumonia, said Bob Valeu, a family spokesman.

“His five sons, along with his wife, Grace, and grandchildren were with him over the weekend,” Valeu said. Funeral arrangements were pending.

Link was born in Alexander in 1914, the son of homesteaders from Czechoslovakia and Germany, and was raised on the family farm. Friends said he never forgot his upbringing during his four-decade political career, which included only two lost races.

The Democrat advocated for allowing oil-producing counties to keep some tax revenues for road repairs and pushed for strong regulations for reclaiming land mined for coal.

Gov. John Hoeven said Link’s environmental stewardship while governor left a lasting legacy on the landscape of North Dakota’s reclaimed lands, and his “deep faith and principled decision-making throughout his long life” earned him widespread respect and affection.

“He was a remarkable man, a courageous leader and a dear friend,” U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad said in a statement. “He knew what he believed, he knew what he stood for, he knew the values that he had been raised with.”

U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy added: “He approached issues with a strong conscience and the kind of common sense that you get growing up on the prairie. He was interested in results, not the limelight.”



June 1, 2010 - Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Media, Men, PoliticalDogs SE posts, Politics, Updates | , ,


  1. Thanks for this, SE. I think Arthur Link served on some early civil rights bodies. I’ll check the Cong’l Biographical Dictionary on line.

    Comment by Democratic Socialist Dave | June 2, 2010 | Reply

  2. Here’s the Cong’l Biog. Dictionary entry (not always strictly objective, since it’s often taken from the entries Congressmen write for the current Congressional Directory):

    LINK, Arthur Albert, a Representative from North Dakota; born in Alexander, McKenzie County, N.Dak., May 24, 1914; attended the McKenzie County schools, and North Dakota Agricultural College; member, North Dakota house of representatives, 1946-1970, serving fourteen years as minority floor leader and speaker of the house, 1965; member: Randolph Township Board, 1942-1972; McKenzie County Welfare Board, 1948-1969; Randolph School Board, 1945-1963; county and State Farm Security Administration committee, 1941-1946; delegate, North Dakota State conventions, 1964-1968; elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-second Congress (January 3, 1971-January 3, 1973); was not a candidate for reelection in 1972 but was a successful candidate for Governor of North Dakota; reelected in 1976 and served from January 2, 1973, until January 7, 1981; is a resident of Alexander, N.Dak.


    Comment by Democratic Socialist Dave | June 2, 2010 | Reply

  3. Looking at the first two Almanacs of American Politics, for 1972 and 1974, Link’s only Congressional election in 1970, for the Second District, was extremely tight:

    50,416 Arthur A. Link (Democratic-Nonpartisan League)
    49,888 Robert P. McCartney (Republican)

    In the First District, Mark Andrews (R) won 66% to 34%.

    When North Dakota lost her second district following the Census of 1970, Link (probably wisely) decided not to run at large against Andrews for re-election to Congress but instead to seek, successfully, the first of two successive 4-year terms as Governor. In 1980, Link lost his bid for a third term to Allen Olson, who in turn lost to George Sinner (D-NPL) in 1984. 1980 result:

    162,230 (54%) Allen I. Olson (R)
    140,391 (46%) Arthur A. Link (D-NPL incumbent)

    At the same time as Link’s 1972 run for Governor, Cong. Andrews, a farmer by profession, did decide to run for re-election to the single at-large seat, and won by an even greater margin than in 1970:

    193,368 (73%) Mark Andrews (R-incumbent)
    _73,850 (27%) Richard Ista (D-NPL)

    He continued to win re-election to the House until 1980, when he sought and won election to the Senate for a single term (1981-87), losing re-election in 1986 to current Senator Kent Conrad (D-NPL) in another squeaker:

    143,932 (50%) Kent Conrad (Dem.-Nonpartisan League)
    141,797 (49%) Mark Andrews (R-inc.)

    ¶ No, I didn’t know all this stuff before; I just found it out tonight.

    I did know that North Dakota’s politics, colored by A.C. Townley’s left-wing pro-farmer-labor Non-Partisan League (NPL) in the 1920’a and 1930’s, are actually more interesting than you might imagine. Rep. William Lemke, who helped start the NPL before World War I, won nearly 900,000 votes for President in 1936 against FDR and Alf Landon by running on the Union Party ticket, sponsored by Father Coughlin’s far right populist, antisemitic National Union for Social Justice. (North Dakota’s large German population disliked war with Germany.)

    Comment by Democratic Socialist Dave | June 2, 2010 | Reply

    • For those (?) who might be wondering, Mark Andrews’ first race for the U.S. Senate in 1980 was far from a cliffhanger: he beat Kent Johannesen (D-NPL) 70% to 29%. (Andrews was unopposed in the 1980 GOP Senate primary.)

      Comment by Democratic Socialist Dave | June 2, 2010 | Reply

  4. And William Lemke’s official Congressional biography (not half so colorful as his career) may be found here:


    Comment by Democratic Socialist Dave | June 2, 2010 | Reply

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