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New District 14 board reflects grassroots movement

By Staff | May 15, 2021

District 14 Republican Executive Committee

Bill Kuntz – Chairman, Pierce

Mirek Petrovic – Vice Chairman, Pierce

Amanda Saueressig – Second Vice Chairman, Sheridan

Brenda Heilman – Secretary, Pierce

Chrissie Hager – Treasurer, Wells

Elmer Knodel – At Large, Sheridan

Carter Medalen – At Large, Pierce

Steve Walker – At Large, Sheridan

Kelsey Mittleider – At large, Kidder

Renee Kuntz – At Large, Pierce

Dale Anderson – At Large, Benson

Casey Lautt – At Large, Wells

Jesse Livingston – At Large, Kidder

To the constituents of District 14, we hope this message finds everyone enjoying the return of spring weather.

As your District 14 officers, our goal is to organize the representation of this district so that it becomes better aligned with its constituents. Following the busyness of the spring season our intent is to have a meeting to start the organization process involving as many of the District 14 constituents as possible.

After reading the articles published recently in some of the local newspapers, one would be left to believe that our only goal is a hostile takeover of the officer positions within the district. Our new executive committee elected at the reorganizational meeting was an amazing grassroots movement with local Republican politics standing behind it all. The most exciting part of the reorganizational meeting was the packed room with people from all of the counties who got involved because of their frustration with the voting record of our legislators, the lack of transparency,and inconsistency on issues that matter to conservative voters, along with many phone calls and emails not answered or returned by the legislators.

Our legislators’ voting records have not been aligned with conservative values nor the ND Republican Platform. Jon Nelson has said and was quoted in an article published in the Pierce County Tribune on April 24th,“We don’t serve the platform of the Republican Party,…”

Our rallying point came when a voting record, put together in 2019, of the 66th ND Legislative session was found.This voting record is more accurately a voting index that reflects whether votes on various bills would either increase or decrease the size, cost, scope and power of government. High scores indicate a voting record that wants to decrease government to allow more individual liberty. A low score represents the philosophy of socialism and larger government.The index offers a score for all of the current ND legislators. Our District 14 legislators scored respective ratings of 60%, 42% and 10% (a number of ND Republican legislators, in the same poll, scored with a 100% index rating). Considering our legislators voting records, how they scored against their peers on the vote index rating as well as their neglect in communicating with their constituents, it was decided to do what we could to initiate change at the District 14 reorganizational meeting. This is nothing new as grass roots movements such as this have started, in this same manner, throughout the history of government.

To some the fact that we censured our legislators may sound a bit harsh. To any who feel that way, our question would be, how do we get local government back to being aligned with its constituency if we do nothing? Jon Nelson was quoted in the Pierce County Tribune by Sue Sitter in the April 24th article, saying in response to one of the bills the legislators were censured over, “We had just heard on the floor that night.” The following is the list of bills the legislators were censured over and the timeline of each bill (checkedin legis.nd.gov).

– HB 1313 was introduced January 11th and was through the House on February 17th.

– HB 1377 was introduced January 18th and was through the House on February 4th.

– HB 1383 was introduced January 14th and was through the House on February 20th and introduced to the Senate on March 3rd.

– HB 1272 was introduced January 25th and was through the House on February 17th.

– HB 1464 was introduced January 18th and was through House on February 6th and introduced to the Senate on February 18th.

– HCR 3007 was introduced January 12th and was through the house on February 5th.

– HB 1397 was introduced January 18th and was through the House on February 23rd and introduced to the Senate on March 3rd.

– The District 14 reorganizational meeting was held on April 10th

We are not sure which bill Representative Nelson is referring to in his statement regarding, “we had just heard on the floor that night,” but the above timelines do not match up with his statement.

Representative Nelson comments in the Sue Sitter article that he had never met many of the new board members. Moving forward, what is most important to the new District 14 officers is engaging the constituents of this district and meeting as many residents of District 14 as possible in the near future. Another goal that we have is equal representation from across the district. Currently we have officers from each county within the district and we left two positions open due to the new census likely to have an effect on where the new District 14 lines are drawn. Our plan is to fill those positions once we know what the new district will encompass. Getting involved to the degree that we did has never been about us forcing our political ideals upon the district. We desire to have candidates that are more aligned with the Republican Platform, that the district strives to follow, and consistently vote with the rest of the conservative legislators in the state.

Please feel free to contact a local board member with any questions, concerns, or comments.

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