Over the years I have often heard North Dakota politicos of the Republican persuasion joke that if the Democrats in our state aren’t going to use their party for anything meaningful it ought to be taken over by conservatives, leaving us with a political divide between conservative and moderate Republicans. State Rep. Rick Becker, a Republican from Bismarck and the leader of what he calls the Bastiat Caucus of libertarian-minded Republican lawmakers, considered turning that old saw into a reality this legislative session. Sort of.
For generations now the cost of higher education has been out of control.
MINOT, N.D. -- Generations of politicians in North Dakota have struggled to address a consistent problem facing our state. How do we get our young people to stay here? How do we get young people to move here to alleviate our chronic workforce shortages? Short of playing host to an oil boom, which did reverse our trend toward a smaller and older population, we haven’t found a solution to that complicated problem.
Despite it being a terrible (and blatantly unconstitutional, in many regards) proposal, North Dakota voters approved Measure 1 in the election last week. I believe the measure should be immediately challenged in court , but probably before that can happen the Legislature has some work to do. Because in many areas the ballot measure’s language requires that the Legislature implement its directions as statute.
Much of the turmoil in North Dakota’s university system in recent years has been a product of the struggle by the State Board of Higher Education, and the Legislature, to get the state’s 11 public campuses to work together as a unified system. The NDUS is addled by parochialism, particularly at the largest institutions in Fargo and Grand Forks where arrogant administrators backed by powerful alumni and large hometown legislative delegations have consistently defied unity efforts.
Today I can announce ( much as much colleague Mike McFeely has done ) that my 12-2pm radio show on WDAY will be ending. My last regular broadcast will be Friday. I love the talk radio format. Interviewing guests and mixing it up with callers are some of my favorite parts of this job. Plus, the folks at WDAY were wonderful to work with. But my employers at Forum Communications Company are making a very big push into digital content, and that’s where they want my focus.
Here’s a wild story out of Walsh County (a rural community north of Grand Forks). Shortly before election day, on November 2nd, Walsh County Commissioner Ernest George Barta was arrested for DUI and leaving the scene of an accident. The details : The Record reports that officers had been on the lookout for a vehicle that possibly hit an electrical pole behind Dukes Car Wash in Devils Lake, starting a fire.
At a post-election press conference yesterday Senator-elect Kevin Cramer, when talking about his impending transition into his new job, mentioned that erstwhile Senator Heidi Heitkamp hadn’t called him despite having conceded the race. Cramer played it off as no big deal .
Where do North Dakota Democrats go from here? As I write this the vote counts are still coming in. We’ll have time in the days ahead to dissect what happened in the legislative races and with the ballot measures, but there was really only one race this cycle that mattered to Democrats and they lost it. It was a dismal night for Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, coming after a clumsy campaign that stumbled its way to election day.
Election day is finally here. It’s like the Super Bowl for we political nerds. Yesterday, I was talking on the radio about how this is the 30th election day since I started this blog (counting primary and general elections). I feel old. So, so old. Anyway, it wouldn’t be election day without a predictions post. So let’s get started.