Viewpoint: Republicans on firm footing in District 42

GOP running quality candidates that relate to, listen to, and deliver for their constituents.

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The Nov. 25 Herald article written by Sam Easter (“Lagging student vote, working-class GOP ballots doom Dems in Grand Forks”) misses the mark, both by lacking historical facts, and by focusing on why Democrats lost rather than why Republicans won.

Mr. Easter starts with "Grand Forks Republicans, running on shaky ground on the city’s north side, didn’t yield an inch on election night. ..." and later goes on to call District 42 "a dependable Democrat stronghold." However, District 42, which includes UND and several nearby neighborhoods on the north side of Grand Forks, has largely remained unchanged since 1990 and has never been a “Democratic stronghold” during that time.

From 1992 to 2020, only one time (2012) did the Democrats win all three legislative seats in District 42. By way of comparison, Republicans have controlled all three seats five times (1994, 1996, 2004, 2016, and 2020). Republicans aren't sitting on "shaky footing;" they are returning to their long periods of dominance in the district. District 42 represents a solid Republican district, which rarely sends a Democrat to represent them in Bismarck. The relevant question Mr. Easter should be asking is not why Democrats lost, but rather, why does District 42 trust Republicans to represent them?

The answer is simple: District 42 Republicans run quality candidates that relate to, listen to, and deliver for their constituents. The District 42 Republican candidates in 2020, Curt Kreun, Emily O’Brien and Claire Corey, resonate with all three of the major constituent blocks of District 42 – students, working families, and retired citizens. To address their constituents’ needs, District 42 Republicans are committed to a platform of “Jobs, Education and Taxes”.

Jobs are critically important to voters. As a student, you need an economy primed to hire you to pay off your student loans, and a growing economy to create plenty of entry-level jobs with growth opportunities. Working families can’t afford to survive on entry level pay, and need a vibrant economy for more opportunities and better pay. Retired citizens look toward the future and fear that without jobs in Grand Forks, their children and grandchildren will be forced to leave for Minneapolis. They want to make seeing their family a daily activity and not a rare privilege.


Education has immediate importance for college students, and District 42 Republicans run candidates that understand UND and college students. Working families need a strong public education system to prepare their children for an ever-changing economy, and to equip them for career-paying jobs. District 42 Republicans run candidates that understand not only the importance of public education, but how to actually deliver on quality education. For the retired citizen, the education system is an important benefit for their grandchildren.

While taxes may not be an immediate concern for many college students, they understand the importance of fiscal tax responsibility and how it relates to their future opportunities. For the working families, tax policies are an immediate concern. A 1% property tax hike or a 1% income tax change is the difference between affording a home and being stuck in the apartment. Every dollar matters to working families, and more of their income they are able to keep eases the transition towards family life. A 1-point tax cut on a family’s taxes is roughly $600 in their pockets, which helps their budget in a real way. Retired citizens often fear having to reduce their standard of living as a result of diminished income. An increase in their property tax can force them from their home of 40 years and sacrifice their independence.

The success of the District 42 Republicans is not a mystery. They have a diverse set of experiences that resonate with the district’s residents, they are honest with their constituents, and they deliver on their campaign promises.

Curt Kreun is a state senator from Grand Forks. Emily O’Brien and Claire Cory are members of the state House of Representatives and also are from Grand Forks. All three are Republicans who represent District 42.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece, as submitted, omitted a phrase from the Herald’s Nov. 25 report about the District 42 legislative race. The passage, as written by the Herald, was: “Eight years ago, it was a dependable Democratic stronghold,” referring to the fact that all three delegates from District 42 were Democrats. Four years prior to that, two Democrats represented the district.

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