8-27 Letters to the Tribune
What it means to love ND
Who really loves North Dakota?
Both love and North Dakota need to be defined in order to honestly answer that question. North Dakota is an idea about geography, demography, economics, governance, history, and predominate values. It is an idea about schools and churches, hunting and fishing and sports teams. It is a place with links to athletes like Satchel Page, Roger Marris, Phil Jackson, Carson Wentz and Jimmy Kleinsasser. North Dakota was home to President Theodore Roosevelt who lived here only briefly. Political leaders Townley, Frazier, Langer, Link, Burdick, and Guy played much more important roles in shaping the state.
North Dakota is defined by the Missouri River, by coal, oil, and farming-wheat, cattle, corn, soybeans, sunflowers, sugar beets, and potatoes. It is defined by the Badlands and the Red River Valley and the drift prairies. It is remembered for Air Force bases, blizzards, class B basketball, electric cooperatives, ice storms, drought, floods, and man camps. State tournaments, music camps, rodeos, the Peace Garden, and the gentle state parks. Its economy is driven by production of energy and agricultural commodities and is switching to a consumer based economy driven by retail shopping and entertainment.
Immigrants from Germany, Norway, other European countries, and Native Americans, brought a mix of cultural values, some in conflict. The values that predominated the idea of North Dakota included the work ethic, personal modesty, education, self-help and self-responsibility. Human compassion is tucked away somewhere in that mix of values but it doesn’t get much political play.
What it means to love North Dakota is also a complicated question. To really love the idea of North Dakota in some way mirrors Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Especially the enduring part. If you are going to love North Dakota, you need help forgiving and being kind. Ignorance is cruel, and historically people of North Dakota have acted out of ignorance. Today, the Bank of North Dakota and the State Mill and Elevator are something to be proud of, yet many of the leaders who brought those worthwhile institutions to us were recalled from office. Ignorant people in North Dakota are exploited by those who hope to build political careers on fears and prejudices. Those who love North Dakota will love the ignorant people too and they won’t be dissuaded from doing good by those who mock compassion as a weakness.
To love North Dakota means that this is where you want to be and the people here are who you want to be with. Those who say they “love” North Dakota but live somewhere else aren’t reflecting their true affections. When presented with the option to love it or leave it, they left. I endure the month of March when barn yards thaw out, calves are born in mud and snow, to get to June when the trees are fully leafed out and the new grain is growing green against the golden stubble from last year. I will put up with heat and storms of August to fill the potato bins in September. I don’t mind blowing snow in December so my kids and grandkids have a place to park their cars when they come home for Christmas.
We live on a fragile, beautiful piece of the planet earth, surrounding by people who are struggling and often fragile themselves. Those who love North Dakota will soften their voices and listen. They will respect the ancient wisdom that teaches us how to live gently on the earth and peacefully with our neighbors. Loving North Dakota is its own reward.
About that special session
Recently there was a letter sent to the editorial page of local newspapers concerning the Special Session held in our state about the revenue shortfall we are experiencing.
A legislative candidate for District 6 expressed an impression of the special session and although it was correct about the bill being a bridge to the regular session this
January, it was completely incorrect on several other comments that were made.
I will start with the Democratic plan that would have kept the $56 million of federal matching funds available for health related services in our state. The statement was made because the Democrat amendment was defeated by the Senate and implied that we lost the opportunity to receive the funds. The statement that was made in the letter sent to the paper is entirely untrue. The current federal budget is in place until September of 2017. The best way to make the optimal use of these dollars for our residents of North Dakota is to wait until the regular session that begins in January. This will allow collaboration of agency staff, the public, and legislators to make a better budget and still retain the matching funds which is the responsible and effective way.
A question that you might ask is why wait? The special session was too short to deal with the budget concerns; our job was to transfer some funding, balance the budget, and wait for the regular session this coming January to fund our priorities and address the budget for the next biennium. We did our job, passed the bill, and requested the state agencies to work on further budget reductions for the regular session in 2017. The Republicans set up the Budget Stabilization Fund years ago that uses excess revenue that occurs in some years and have available during times we experience budget shortfalls. It’s basically a savings account to use when it’s necessary. The Democrats have always opposed the fund thinking it is best to spend all the money available and not save the excess revenue. Common sense tells us to save money during good times to use when the economy is not doing as well. When the session starts, we will have more reliable and more recent revenue forecasts to make better decisions than we would have if the Democrat plan would have passed. It also provides more time and opportunities for many people to be involved in the budget process. The policy that will be developed in the regular session will be vastly superior to the one that would have occurred if the Democrat plan was successful. This process uses knowledge and common sense that Republicans use developing positive policies for our state.
My parents and grandparents were residents in Long Term Care facilities. I’m currently a member of a local hospital board and have been for a number of years. These experiences have provided me much insight concerning healthcare and Long Term Care issues. Contract nursing costs, shortage of certified nursing assistants, shortage of providers, rising healthcare expenses from the Affordable Care Act, and reductions of reimbursements are creating serious problems for our rural areas. It will be a priority to address these issues early next session. In the past three sessions, I have served as a member of the Human Services Committee and understand we need to take care of the elderly and the citizens that have a disability.
The Republicans that serve in the State Legislative Assembly will balance the budget, maintain property tax relief, and fund the priorities. We will continue to diversify our economy and use common sense to provide a tax climate and regulations that encourage business in our state. The District 6 Republican team understands growing our economy and conservative spending are the best solutions to meet our budget concerns. The best choice is to elect candidates who will be part of the Republican party and be effective in representing our district.
Rep. Dick Anderson
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