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When the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities speaks, northwest Minnesotans should listen. So should northwest Minnesota lawmakers. Especially State Sen. Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks, and State Reps. Deb Kiel, R-Crookston, and Dan Fabian, R-Roseau. More about them in a minute.
The North Dakota license plate does not show the skyscraper Capitol. Nor does it show an oil rig. For that matter, nor does it show a tractor, despite agriculture's long importance to the state. Instead, the license plate—the traveling billboard that North Dakota counts on to catch eyes from coast to coast—shows the Badlands. So does the official North Dakota State Quarter, released in 2006. And those choices aren't a coincidence.
Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt reportedly has his eye on running for governor next year. But Daudt's a Republican, and Minnesota's not a ruby Red state. So, if Daudt wants to win, he's going to have to convince key Republican and Democratic moderates of his ability to govern. Which means his willingness to compromise. Accepting the Senate's Real ID bill would be a great start.
Downtown Grand Forks and East Grand Forks need a grocery store. That's an idea residents probably have heard before. But in this saga whose outcome matters tremendously to downtown, the closing of Amazing Grains this week both closes one chapter and opens a new one. So, here's an idea to get that next chapter off to a great start: Downtown residents and the city of Grand Forks should make a downtown grocery a priority. And local grocers such as Hugo's should be intrigued by the possibilities of a small but busy downtown branch.
"Boringly honest." That's how the State Historical Society's editor described North Dakota politics in 2008. The words echoed Lloyd Omdahl's conclusion from "Governing North Dakota," the classic guide to state government that he edited through the early 2000s: "Abuses in lobbying do occur, although most observers agree that they are relatively rare in North Dakota," Omdahl wrote. And corruption, he suggested, essentially is "unheard of around the North Dakota Legislature."
The bill passed the Senate 47-0 and the House 76-11. So, the odds of Gov. Doug Burgum vetoing it are slim. Still, attention should be paid to House Bill 1020. That's because the bill makes plain how far North Dakota's balance is tipping toward oil development and away from Badlands conservation and recreation values.
In 2008, nearly 60 percent of Minnesotans who voted supported the Legacy Amendment. The measure raised taxes to support the state's outdoor and cultural heritage. Since then, support for the amendment actually has grown. Some 75 percent of Minnesotans support the amendment today, a February poll reports. Given those facts, at least 75 percent of Minnesotans right now should be very upset.
Two points about Chris Ingraham's recent migration to Red Lake Falls, one of them something Ingraham himself might want to think about: ▇ First, what a shot-in-the-arm the Washington Post writer's tale should be for economic developers around the region. As readers know, Ingraham—then a metropolitan Baltimore/Washington resident—insulted Red Lake Falls in a "best/worst places to live" story a few years ago. Red Lake Falls smartly invited him to visit, which Ingraham did. And he liked the town so much, he moved his family there.
We're imagining ourselves as being UND President Mark Kennedy today, and reading the higher-ed portion of Mike Jacobs' column on today's editorial page. And we're imagining acting on Jacobs' sharp-eyed observations in two ways. Jacobs spends lots of time in Bismarck these days and talks to lots of legislators. So, when he says there are other forces driving the higher-ed budget cuts than just the state's budget, the North Dakota University System should listen.
UND has about 4,300 employees, according to a December report. And every Grand Cities resident knows the immeasurable impact such a workforce has on the local economy. So, imagine hoisting up a workforce of that size, transporting it 50 miles to the northeast, and gently setting it down ... In Thief River Falls. Now you can see why, whatever else happens in St. Paul during the rest of the session, Minnesota lawmakers simply must pass the incentives that Digi-Key needs to fuel its expansion.