Plain Talk With Rob Port

Plain Talk is a podcast hosted by blogger and columnist Rob Port focusing on political news and current events in North Dakota. Host Rob Port writes SayAnythingBlog.com, North Dakota’s most popular and influential political blog, and is a columnist for the Forum News Service published in papers including the Fargo Forum, Grand Forks Herald, Jamestown Sun, Minot Daily News, and the Dickinson Press.

All Episodes

212: A discussion with Chad Oban

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Chad Oban is a long-time activist in North Dakota politics. He served as the executive director of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL and his wife, Erin Oban, is a state Senator from Bismarck.

On this episode of Plain Talk Live, Rob and Chad will talk about the rise of the Bastiat Caucus in North Dakota, the fight over mask mandates, campaign finance transparency, and legislative pay.

Plus, whatever else might come to mind!

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211: Making it harder to amend the state constituiton

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A group calling itself Protect North Dakota’s Constitution held a press conference today announcing a ballot measure campaign aimed at making changes to North Dakota's constitution a bit harder.

Currently, outside of a greater number of signatures required on petitions for constitutional measures, it's as easy to amend the state constitution at the ballot box as it is to amend statute.

This group wants that to change.

"PNDC is proposing a constitutional measure proposed by the legislature or as an initiated measure should address a single issue and receive sixty percent or more of the votes cast in a statewide election for it to be approved," they state in a press release.

Zarling will join me on this episode of Plain Talk Live at 1 p.m. to discuss the proposal.

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210: Handouts for coal?

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Is North Dakota about to give the coal industry a handout?

That's what critics of pro-coal legislation in Bismarck are saying, but there's another side of the story. Power sources like wind and solar have enjoyed decades of political favoritism. From heavy production subsidies to outright mandate for their use, the market has been skewed in their favor, to the detriment of baseload power like coal and even nuclear.

But recent power outages and utility bill spikes show that we may have gone too far down that road. Now North Dakota lawmakers are considering a package of tax relief and subsidies aimed at helping keep our state's coal plants open, including the largest plant, Coal Creek Station near Underwood.

For economic reasons, yes, but also for the sake of keeping our power supply in the region reliable and affordable.

Sen. Jim Roers, a Republican from Fargo, joins this episode of Plain Talk Live at 3:30pm central standard time to discuss.

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Jay Thomas Show 04-12-21

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Rob and Jay talk about the officer-involved shooting in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, and the resulting protests.

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209: Congressman Armstrong visits the southern border

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There is perhaps no political conflagration in America more intractable than our debate over border security and immigration.

In the long run, we need policies that facilitate lawful immigration while giving no quarter to illegal entry into our country.

In the here and now, we have a crisis at the southern border, with thousands upon thousands captured and detained while trying to make an illegal crossing, and thousands more successfully entering our country outside of our laws.

North Dakota Congressman Kelly Armstrong visited the southern border this week and will share what he saw, and what we ought to do about it, on this episode of Plain Talk Live.

“When we are talking to local law enforcement and local city officials, it becomes very clear that we have a broken immigration system," he said in a press release about the visit. "These are communities built on immigration. These aren’t partisan issues down here. They are community issues and public safety issues. Because of the Federal government’s failure to act, we are asking more of our local law enforcement agencies. That is taking away from citizens in these communities. It is taking away from deputies and their families and what they do."

"We have to do a better job of providing resources to the communities, law enforcement agents, and the people who are dealing with this emergency. We have to do a much better job of talking about this issue and how it affects everybody who lives in border towns and everybody who lives across the country," he continued.

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About the Podcast

Plain Talk is a podcast hosted by blogger and columnist Rob Port focusing on political news and current events in North Dakota. Host Rob Port writes SayAnythingBlog.com, North Dakota’s most popular and influential political blog, and is a columnist for the Forum News Service published in papers including the Fargo Forum, Grand Forks Herald, Jamestown Sun, Minot Daily News, and the Dickinson Press.

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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, a North Dakota political blog, is a Forum Communications commentator.