Pro-Measure 5 commercial features former UND hockey player T.J. Oshie
Backers of a conservation ballot measure in North Dakota recently released a TV commercial featuring former UND hockey player and St. Louis Blues winger T.J. Oshie, as controversy surrounding Measure 5 ads ramps up. "Measure 5 will provide funds ...
Backers of a conservation ballot measure in North Dakota recently released a TV commercial featuring former UND hockey player and St. Louis Blues winger T.J. Oshie, as controversy surrounding Measure 5 ads ramps up.
“Measure 5 will provide funds for more ice rinks and recreational areas,” Oshie said in the advertisement.
Measure 5 would establish a conservation fund with oil tax revenue.
Becky Jones Mahlum, a spokesperson for the North Dakotans for Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks campaign committee, said a Measure 5 supporter knew Oshie from their days at UND and asked him if he would speak on the measure’s behalf. Though she was unsure of how the conversation played out, Mahlum said, “I just know that he’s supportive and wanted to help out.”
Detractors said the ad is another indication of the measure’s dearth of North Dakotan support.
“It just goes to show again they’re having a hard time finding anyone in North Dakota who supports the measure. So they go to a former UND hockey standout,” said Jon Godfread, a spokesperson for North Dakotans for Common Sense Conservation, which opposes the measure.
Godfread said he wouldn’t be surprised if Oshie was unfamiliar with the proposed amendment.
“I’d be willing to bet the glossed-over version presented to Oshie did not bring up the concerns that many North Dakotans have with this measure,” Godfread said.
The measure would amend the state constitution to funnel five percent of the state’s oil extraction tax to “aid water quality, natural flood control, fish and wildlife habitat, parks and outdoor recreation areas, access to hunting and fishing, the acquisition of land for parks, and outdoor education for children” for the next 25 years. The fund would be overseen by a commission made up of the governor, attorney general and agriculture commissioner. A 13-member board would make grant recommendations to the commission.
Measure supporters said Oshie is just one more proponent among many supportive North Dakotans from all walks of life.
“We have lots of North Dakotans in our ads who wanted to be part of these (ads),” Mahlum said.
Measure 5 proponents have tried to drive home this point in their advertising, which features North Dakotans from different swaths of society, including a farmer, hunters and a teacher - the last of which sparked claims of duplicity.
In a press release, measure proponents responded Thursday to what they called “personal attacks” against Amy Walker, who appeared in a pro-Measure 5 TV advertisement recently and referred to herself as “a teacher from Mandan.” In a campaign mailer, she is also identified as “High School Teacher, Mandan.”
Political blogger Rob Port called her a “fake Mandan teacher,” initially noting she was not employed with Mandan High School and then in an update, noting she is a licensed teacher who resigned from her high school teaching position in fall 2013. Port also pointed out she is married to a Ducks Unlimited employee.
Walker said she took time off to be with her baby. A school official said she was a teacher with the high school since at least 2005.
Either way, Godfread said, he doesn’t take policy direction from hockey players, much less advertisements.
“I generally don’t look to hockey players for guidance in legislative issues,” he said.