Setting the record straight
By Rep. Jon NelsonR
In the past several weeks, John Ford has attempted to distort my legislative record regarding my support for education, infrastructure, as well as overall state spending. It is not unlike Mr. Ford to take tidbits of information, twist it to fit his personal agenda, and try to make the public believe that he knows what he is talking about. Please allow me to set the record straight regarding my legislative record.
My 12 years of service on the Wolford Public School Board gave me the experience and knowledge to serve rural schools in this state. I served 4 sessions on the House Education Committee which gave me additional knowledge and understanding of education funding and policy development. As a result of that, schools in this state have been funded at historic levels, educators receive salaries today that now attract teachers from other states rather than our educators going to those states. In addition, every dollar that we have promised in my legislative tenure has been delivered to those schools. By investing in my community as a school board member, I know what it is like to be promised a level of school funding, make decisions that must be honored because of that promise, and then have funding levels cut in the second year of a biennium. That happened 3 times in the 1980s.
That is why we now build school funding proposals on the entire state budget and the total economy of this state, not just oil development that was the funding source for schools in the 1980s. Unfortunately, John Ford was not in North Dakota at that time so his ignorance in this area may be understandable.
My service as a township supervisor, rural water board member, hospital board member, as well as economic development project involvement gives me the experience to lead our rural communities into the future. I have been an avid supporter of transportation funding increases and sources of funding for future needs, when it comes to our state, county, and township roads. I have led the battle for funding increases for our rural hospitals and nursing homes that are critical to any future growth for rural North Dakota. As chairman of the House Natural Resource Committee for two sessions, I led the charge for water development across the state and now as an appropriations member can deliver the needed funding levels to find permanent solutions to Devils Lake flooding, as well as funding local water projects that are struggling for completion because of federal budget constraints. Because John Ford has never been involved in any of these areas, his ignorance in this area may be understandable.
Overall spending in the state of North Dakota has increased. The issues that I mention above are all state priorities that are important to sustained growth in North Dakota. These budgets are built though, on the overall revenue sources of the state, most notable state sales tax, and income tax growth projections. Other projects like building projects at our state universities, State Fair grandstand, water development projects, and other needed infrastructure updates that we haven’t been able to afford in the past, can now be considered with one-time spending funding sources. This allows the state to pay for these prioritized projects with cash but not burden future legislative assemblies with the construction cost associated with them. That is the legacy that our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents taught us; Buy when we can afford it, keep your word, but don’t spend what you don’t have. Because John Ford doesn’t have that North Dakota work ethic or that legacy, his ignorance in this area may be understandable.
I have been honored to have served District 7 the past 14 years in the legislature. My record of accountability is easy to review. My record of working with all the citizens of this district without regard for party affiliation or personal agendas is strong. I will continue to put the interests of the citizens of District 7 above any other group or affiliation if I gain your confidence to continue to serve you.
I appreciate this opportunity to set the record straight.
Nelson represents District 7 in the state house and is seeking re-election to that office. He resides in Rugby.