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Earlier this month, UND President Mark Kennedy sat down for an interview with the Herald's editorial board. What follows is a transcript of that interview, edited for clarity and length. This is the second of two parts. Part 1 of the interview was presented on this page July 17. □ □ □ Q. Some have argued North Dakota State University is the leading liberal arts institution in North Dakota today, and that UND trains professionals—doctors and lawyers.
Before Ronald Reagan became governor and then again before he became president, people said, "An actor? For the top job in politics?" The rest is history. Because show business, it turned out, was the perfect background for a politician, given that modern politicians are always "on." And learning to be comfortable on stage and in front of cameras now is recognized as being great training for elected office. Before Mark Kennedy came to Grand Forks, some in North Dakota wondered, "A congressman? For the UND presidency?"
The Fighting Sioux nickname controversy was one of the most contentious in North Dakota history. It boiled for decades. It still simmers today, judging by the turmoil and argument over UND's new Fighting Hawks logo. So, why would a state agency get anywhere near that pot of scalding water, let alone plunge in its hand? Especially unbidden — that is, without pressure groups or, really, pressure of any kind forcing the move.
When former Gov. Wendell Anderson died last week, every obituary mentioned his famous appearance on the cover of Time magazine. The picture from a 1973 issue showed a beaming, flannel-shirted Anderson holding up a northern pike. And the headline to the story inside has entered state lore, remaining a source of great and justifiable pride to Minnesotans to this day: "Minnesota—A state that works." Is Minnesota still "a state that works"? We'd argue that yes, in many ways it is. But that's not the point of this editorial.
The money's in the bank, the building plans have been finalized, and construction could begin in less than two weeks Which means the plans to build a new governor's residence in Bismarck are too far along to stop now. So, lawmakers who're thinking about delaying the project should reconsider, and construction should be allowed to proceed.
As Americans, we have the right to do all kinds of things. But we should have the wisdom to avoid doing a great many of them. And in our view, that includes filing civil complaints over weed and tall-grass ordinances, a modern version of tilting at windmills that's likely to be just as frustrating and just as doomed to fail.
The Thompson, N.D., residents who are trying again to pass a tax increase to renovate local schools have the right idea. The most recent effort failed by only nine votes; no wonder the "Yes" voters are trying again. Now, here's a tip for where they might find those extra votes: Ask the "No" voters for advice. Specifically, find out why they voted "No," then adjust the "Yes" campaign accordingly. It's possible that the "Yes" voters already have taken this advice. If so, good. But it's also possible that the pro-renovation side wants to boost turnout.
On Thursday, UND President Mark Kennedy sat down in his office for an interview with the Herald's editorial board. Today we present Part 1 of a transcript of the interview, edited for clarity and length. Part 2 of the interview will be published next Sunday, July 24. □ □ □ Q. You've now been here eight days. What hasn't surprised you about your first eight days?
Around America, there's much discussion about black parents having The Talk—the dialogue where they sit down with their youngsters, especially their sons, and explain how crucial it is to cooperate with police in order to avoid getting shot. But here's the thing: Everybody should have The Talk. Including parents of black daughters. Including parents of white sons and white daughters. Including parents of everyone else. And including non-parents, too, who should look in the mirror some morning and have "the talk" with themselves.
Brian Schill's got the right attitude: If city leaders won't schedule a sales tax vote for a new library until next year, then the Library Board will make the most of the delay. The board will use the time to strengthen the case for a new library, making that case as thorough, well-documented and persuasive as they can, board chairman Schill told the Herald. Now, here's another idea about how to put the added months to good use: