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Besides its wheat, sunflowers and new bounty of Bakken oil, North Dakota produces something else: notable moderates on the national scene. In the U.S. Senate, both John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp are among the senators most willing to work across the aisle. And this month, a former U.S. senator from North Dakota made the news for his efforts in a centrist cause. Kent Conrad, who served in the Senate from 1987 to 2012, co-chairs the Bipartisan Policy Center's Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings.
Diane Curtiss has a point, in her letter to the editor on this page. And if Grand Forks Public Library officials want to strengthen support for a downtown library, they should address it. The issue that Curtiss raises is one that, we suspect, is in the minds of many skeptics of a downtown location: the prospect of a downtown library becoming a day shelter for homeless and/or mentally ill patrons.
The letters on today's page argue strongly and persuasively for saving Grand Forks' Arbor Park. With that in mind, we make the case ... For developing it. Or at least, for recognizing that at this point, the top priority in downtown Grand Forks should be commerce, not preservation. Including the preservation of a fill-in pocket park.
Q. What's your sense of how Republicans approach the problems of North Dakota? A. I think Republicans think at the ALEC level—the American Legislative Exchange Committee. They're being told. Think of the Stenehjem campaign; they came out and said, "Doug Burgum is anti-coal." Well that's because Doug Burgum, when he worked for Microsoft, actually in a few of his speeches, acknowledged there's global warming.
For North Dakota Democrats., the good news is that Doug Burgum's victory in the Republican primary is a reminder that nothing in politics is written in stone. Times change, conditions alter, circumstances evolve. In North Dakota, the result was the upset of a popular establishment figure; and if Burgum can crack the code, the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party can, too.
Time, human nature and history are on UND's side, as far as acceptance of the new logo is concerned. Time, because new freshmen keep arriving at UND, and their connection with old logos and nicknames becomes more remote with every passing year. Human nature, because we're a tribal species, and that means our deepest impulses push us toward supporting — not resenting — our hometown teams.
In recent years, the cities of Billings and Bozeman, Mont.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; St. Cloud, Minn.; Fort Collins, Colo.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Madison, Wis., and Bismarck and Fargo all have rebuilt or significantly renovated their main libraries. All of those libraries are located in the cities' downtowns. Clearly, a downtown library is a signature asset, and on balance, Grand Forks probably erred by moving its own library out of downtown in the 1970s.
In Grand Forks last week, the main event was the re-election of Mayor Mike Brown. The Herald's editorial said it plain: "Mayor Mike Brown won re-election Tuesday, confirming what many in town already know: That Grand Forks residents generally are a happy and content lot, and that it was going to take a historic effort to remove the genial Brown from office." But another vote in Grand Forks also deserves notice, because it offers a fascinating complement to the above observation as well as insight into voters' mood statewide.
Unless our ears are failing us or we need new glasses for reading transcripts, the election in Grand Forks on Tuesday strikes us as boosting the odds for both a new library and a sales-tax increase. That is, as far as the City Council is concerned. The mayoral election is something else again. (And if challenger Terry Bjerke is elected, it will be, as Bjerke himself happily admits.)
On June 1, the Herald hosted a forum for the candidates for Grand Forks City Council. Here is a transcript, edited for clarity and length, of the candidates' opening statements...