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North Dakota Senate tax committee chairman to retire

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Sen. Dwight Cook, R-Mandan, urges members of the state Senate to reject increasing the oil tax during Wednesday's floor session. The vote was 36-10, and the proposed tax increase failed. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune
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BISMARCK — The chairman of the North Dakota Senate's tax committee will retire after more than two decades in the state Legislature, he said Tuesday, July 23.

Mandan Republican Sen. Dwight Cook told local party officials Monday afternoon he decided not to seek a seventh term in the Senate after "much thought and discussion" with his wife.

"I'm doing what the heart tells me to do and that's retire," Cook, a retired business owner, said in an interview. "We all know when it's our time."

Cook will continue to participate in interim committee meetings until his successor is elected next year, he said.

"Sen. Dwight Cook has been a true statesman and an outstanding leader in shaping tax policy for the good of all North Dakotans during his 22 years of faithful service in the Legislature," Gov. Doug Burgum said on Facebook.

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Cook was a key figure in this year's adjustment of a major oil tax revenue-sharing agreement with the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation. He also sponsored legislation two years ago requiring online sellers to remit sales tax to the state, which became effective once the U.S. Supreme Court later ruled on the issue . He counted property tax reform as one of his major accomplishments.

Republican Rep. Craig Headland, who chairs the House Finance and Taxation Committee, said Cook confided in him earlier this year that he would retire. He called Cook a "champion" for taxpayers who's long been a proponent of "limited taxation."

U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong, a Republican who previously served in the state Senate, tweeted that North Dakota "is a better place because of (Cook's) service."

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