We’ve been here before, we’ll make it out again

This letter is paid content. As a state senator, it is my pleasure and responsibility to lead and help care for our district. It’s not always easy, but it has always been a privilege. Right now we have entered hard times. Hard times are when a child doesn’t know when or if they’ll be able to see their grandparent. Hard times are when workers are laid off en masse without a plan for the future. And hard times are when out-of-state interests try and disrupt our way of life. The good news is we have been here before.

North Dakota was founded on a pioneer’s spirit, by people who were willing to brave harsh winters and the unknown in the hope of making lives for themselves. Those pioneers had nothing but each other, their faith and perseverance to get them through those hard times. We see that legacy today in our communities and our legendary North Dakota work ethic. In the 1970s when I was graduating from college at Mayville State, hard times came again and are the reason I’m a Republican to this day. From 1970-1980 agricultural prices collapsed and our way of life was under attack, but North Dakota stood strong. We levied the assets of the state bank and ensured the corporate farm ban was enforced. From 1980-1988, Senators Burdick and Young acquired federal dollars for the state, ensuring our way of life survived.

As a leader, I’ve been here before. My first term on the Grand Forks City Council began soon after the flood of 1997, a-once-in-a-lifetime disaster. As the waters rose, we banded together as a community and ensured that not a single person died as a result of the flooding. After the waters receded, there was fear that things would never be the same…that the city would never recover. I followed that pioneering example and stayed to help lead the recovery.

Over the next decade, we rebuilt our city and our homes. I remember meeting every day those first four years, learning the system and bringing every dollar we could into the city. By leveraging Grand Forks’ talents, we were able to get grants through an innovative bidding process and by navigating the federal bureaucracy. It took a steady hand, but over my 12-year tenure, we proved the naysayers wrong and did what we have always done – thrived despite hard times. At the start of this year, our economy and overall well being were strong. Wages skyrocketed, our University reclaimed the title of “The Pride of the North,” and we were no longer just the nation’s breadbasket, but also thriving as an energy and aviation hub.

This storm will pass, but it is important to harness the wisdom of the past as we move forward. The COVID-19 situation will have lasting impacts that will be felt for the next few years, and we are once again in a state of rebuilding. To start, we need to be judicious with our federal funds and move state funds back to Grand Forks.

The Prairie Dog Bill, on which I have been a leader, will ensure our roads and infrastructure are up to snuff to prime the economy. The LIFT package will bring our small businesses back above water by providing loans and grants injecting needed capital, but there will be more work to do. We’ve been here before. We’ve done it before. Send me back to Bismarck, and I’ll make sure we do it again. Sen. Curt Kreun

R-Grand Forks, District 42