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LETTER: Attention, Doug Burgum: The governor is not North Dakota's CEO

Apparently it is time for gubernatorial candidate Doug Burgum to have a refresher course on constitutional law, or at least an eighth-grade civics class, particularly on the separation of powers among the three equal branches of government, legis...

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FILE PHOTO: Doug Burgum stands on top of the Loretta Building Oct. 30, 2015, in downtown Fargo. (Dave Wallis/The Forum)

Apparently it is time for gubernatorial candidate Doug Burgum to have a refresher course on constitutional law, or at least an eighth-grade civics class, particularly on the separation of powers among the three equal branches of government, legislative, executive and judicial.

The Legislature does not work for the governor, any more than the Supreme Court works for the governor.

The governor does not pass laws; the Legislature does. The governor does not refer issues to the voters. Either the Legislature or the voters themselves put issues on the ballot.

The governor proposes a budget, but the Legislature sets all budgets, including salaries of officials and other employees.

Although the business of the state needs to be run in an efficient manner, the state is not the same as a business. Recently, Burgum has stated several times that the citizens are the customers. A legislative colleague responded by stating "The citizens are not the customers of state government. They are the owners. Elected officials are the employees."

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The difference is that it is not the people in the Capitol who are in charge; it is the residents of the state, at whose pleasure those of us who are elected, serve.

Burgum continues to talk about reducing budgets and improving technology. Technology, such as tele-health, has been and continues to be an important tool in the diagnosis and treatment of illness. But there is no technology that will replace the hands of a nurse at a bedside in a nursing home or in a hospital room. R2D2 never will replace the human touch. People are important to delivery of care.

Wayne Stenehjem has earned my respect as a person and as a policymaker who has successfully championed many and diverse issues important to North Dakotans. A good governor has broad-based knowledge, and Stenehjem has it.

Please join me in voting for Stenehjem for the best future for North Dakota.

Judy Lee

West Fargo

Lee, a Republican, represents District 13 in the North Dakota Senate.

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