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Taylor visits UND to introduce himself as N.D. governor candidate

Democratic-NPL gubernatorial candidate Ryan Taylor visited the UND campus Wednesday to introduce himself to voters as he prepares to challenge Republican candidates Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Paul Sorum.

North Dakota State Sen. Ryan Taylor
North Dakota State Sen. Ryan Taylor, the Senate minority leader, kicks off his campaign for North Dakota governor Wednesday morning, Feb. 15, 2012, at a press conference in Grand Forks. (Herald photo by John Stennes)

Democratic-NPL gubernatorial candidate Ryan Taylor visited the UND campus Wednesday to introduce himself to voters as he prepares to challenge Republican candidates Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Paul Sorum.

About 35 students, local legislators and supporters turned out in the Memorial Union as Taylor, who has served as the North Dakota Senate Minority Leader since 2010, outlined his platform and strategy he will use on the campaign trail.

The fourth-generation homestead rancher near Towner, N.D., announced his candidacy in December, and said he decided to get into the race because he believes the state is now at a "crossroads."

"The road we're on right now is one that sees fewer and fewer people making bigger and bigger decisions that affect us all," he said.

Taylor said North Dakota instead needs to ensure all residents, not just the "small group of powerful and connected" politicians and wealthy allies, can be a part of those decisions.


"This year will be an election I think where we decide whose North Dakota this is," he said. "Is it a North Dakota where we take advantage of our God-given resources or one where we let others take advantage of us? Is it a North Dakota that takes on the big challenges and looks to the next great opportunity, or is it a North Dakota that's a step behind and afraid to act to seize the day and do the right thing for all the people?"

Taylor's stop in Grand Forks kicked off his four-city statewide tour that also brought him to Fargo, Bismarck and his hometown of Towner today.

'Lasting harvest'

Taylor said booming oil and gas development in western North Dakota has benefited the state. But he said it is important to look beyond the economic perks of the energy boom to consider the impact on residents' quality of life.

"In our state, the low unemployment and the growing GDP are certainly great," he said. "But it says little about what actually makes life worthwhile in North Dakota, or why we are proud to be North Dakotans."

Taylor said the state needs to come together to figure out how to invest this "one-time harvest" of resources and make it a "lasting harvest" that can support North Dakota's universities and colleges, ensure adequate, affordable housing and protect the landscape in the midst of an oil boom.

One example, he said, is a program in Wyoming that invests part of the state's oil and tax revenues into a scholarship fund to help its residents receive an affordable education at a Wyoming college.

"If they can do it in the Cowboy State of Wyoming, we can do it here in the Roughrider State of North Dakota, and I think we can do it better," he said.


Taylor was first elected to the Senate in 2002, representing rural District 7 in north-central North Dakota. His Democratic-NPL Senate colleagues elected him Senate Minority Leader in 2010.

He said North Dakotans have come to know him well over the years, both as the author of the "Cowboy Logic" syndicated column and from his time in the Legislature that, he said, has given him an understanding of politics.

Still, Taylor said he is not campaigning for the top statewide office because he likes politics.

"I'm running for governor because I love North Dakota," he said. "I love North Dakota and I want us to chart a course for the future that keeps all that which has made the state great while taking and making the bold plans for the future that will make our grandchildren proud of what we have done at this moment in time."

Johnson reports on local politics. Reach him at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 105; or send email to rjohnson@gfherald.com .

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