homepage logo

3-9 Letters to the Tribune

By Staff | Mar 8, 2019

Build the Library

Rarely in our history have the citizens of North Dakota been offered such a global opportunity as to become the home of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library. As one of our nation’s greatest Presidents, Roosevelt carried unique ties to our state. We would be fortunate to have the history, research, recognition, and especially the tourism that would come with the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library.

In my past role as CEO of the University of North Dakota Foundation from 2002-2012, I was part of the largest philanthropic effort in the history of our state, the $325 million North Dakota Spirit Campaign for UND. Notably, 70 percent of the $325 million committed came from donors outside North Dakota’s borders. Those donors were primarily former citizens who wanted to invest not only in the future of UND, but also in the state which gave them the education and values that would guide their future success.

I can personally attest to the Legislature’s commitment to the ND Higher Education Challenge Grant. It provided the impetus toward the finish line of the North Dakota Spirit Campaign, as a matching fund incentive for investor donors. It was critical that donors knew the citizens of North Dakota would be their “partners” in this philanthropic investment.

I am deeply appreciative not only for the financial commitment of Melani and Rob Walton, but also for the time, talent, and passion they have demonstrated toward the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library project. I serve on the board of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation (TRMF) which has also passed an unanimous resolution in support of the library and museum. Make no mistake, TRMF stands with donors like the Waltons, and the legions of volunteers prepared to make the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library a signature of our great State of North Dakota.

As citizens of North Dakota, I encourage us to join together in support of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library proposal, seeking $50 million from the state with an accompanying $100 million private sector match. I am confident the match will be swiftly met. What other state in the country has such an impactful public/private partnership opportunity before them? I believe the return on investment economically, in stature, education, and other immeasurable ways will be felt for generations to come.

Tim O’Keefe

Former CEO UND Foundation 2002-12

Our issues with ethics

The Cambridge dictionary defines ethics as “a system of accepted beliefs that control behavior”. We voted every single one of our representatives into office, so why do they think we’re stupid? We also voted for Measure 1 by a vast majority, so why do they continue to fight it? Democrats, Independents and Republicans, despite their differences, overwhelmingly decided that corruption was something they didn’t want in their state, that it was something worth fighting, so why don’t our representatives feel the same way?

I can think of a few reasons, but I’ll leave that to you. What I will say is that our government is more broken than any of us previously knew if our elected representatives can blatantly ignore our voices. Has the democratic system really fallen so far that we as citizens can successfully amend our constitution, only to find our government willing to pass unconstitutional legislation such as HB 1521 to stop us? Even worse, they seem much more motivated to pass bills doing away with the ballot initiative process entirely than they do to institute an Ethics Commission that the people wanted.

If this is the point that we are at, the ‘fall of Rome’ if you will, then so be it. I will go kicking and screaming, calling my legislator day and night, reminding them that we support SB 2148, and that they are in office to serve us. I hope you will do the same. To answer my first question, perhaps they think we are stupid for having elected them and the laugh is on us.

Carl Young,

Bismarck, ND

– Submitted via NDNA

Pass SB 2148, deny HB 1521

Article XIV is the section of the state Constitution created by Measure 1 pertaining to political transparency and an Ethics Commission. Since the beginning, the admirable effort to create an Ethics Commission has been bipartisan. That is why Measure 1 passed comfortably by over 7 percentage points. Now it is time to carry out the wishes of North Dakotan voters.

I applaud the Senate Ethics Committee for producing Senate Bill 2148, as it follows our state Constitution to the letter. If this bill passes both legislative chambers and is implemented, we can feel confident that we have an effective system to identify and address corruption when it happens within our state government. Unfortunately, the House Ethics Committee did not help generate a similarly constitutional bill. House Bill 1521 not only violates constitutional requirements, but in its current form, it is among the more concerning bills that I have seen this legislative session.

Now that we are past “cross-over,” the Senate must vote on House bills, and vice versa. I am very worried about how the chamber that created House Bill 1521 will handle Senate Bill 2148. If you share my enthusiasm for our state Constitution, I strongly encourage you to contact the House representatives serving your district. Urge them to support Bill 2148 in its current form. Please also tell your state senator to vote against Bill 1521.

We passed Measure 1, but we can’t stop now. We must continue to demand a constitutional Ethics Commission.

Ellie Shockley

Mandan, ND

– Submitted via NDNA

Please Enter Your Facebook App ID. Required for FB Comments. Click here for FB Comments Settings page