District 3 Republican Candidates Questionnaire

District 3 Republican candidates

Jeff Hoverson

Bob Paulson

Andrew Maragos

Alan Walter

Q: What are your budget priorities for North Dakota?

Hoverson: I would like to add my votes to the conservative wing of the Republican party. They are usually the best at lowering spending. Many thinking a small budget means less for others. That is far from true. It is about the roles of individuals, families, churches, government, etc. While government is needed, and we have some very good legislators already, it is also supposed to be limited in its power. We are in need of a season of shrinkage of the budget. I would like to look at targeted areas, duplication, etc., that can be put on the table first. We should budget according to principles, not pet-project battles. One principle we need to recover is from good old Davy Crockett, the legislator. When a farmer said to him, referring to spending people’s money, “It is NOT yours to give.” When legislators begin to treat tax revenue like it is “their” money, the problems begin to take on almost unstoppable growth. It is not noble to give money to someone by taking it from another person.

Paulson: Let’s start with constitutional priorities. Education, infrastructure, and addressing the substance abuse and addiction problem in North Dakota. I minister at the Ward County Jail on a regular basis, so I see it first hand. Those struggling need practical help to break the cycle of addiction.

Maragos: To adequately fund education at all levels while trying to maintain a hold even, or slightly increased budget.

Walter: My budget priorities for the State are to maintain the services supplied and needed to operate and keep the necessary functions going for the citizens of North Dakota. I would look for any savings and improved efficiencies of any of the operations being offered by the state. I realize that many of the State departments are mandated by federal law to do or increase the work or supply the services. However, we need to carefully consider all requested increases in state budgets.

Q: How would you like to see spendable principal and earnings from the Legacy Fund treated next biennium?

Hoverson: First question is what was the original intent of the funding bill. I tend to AGREE with the Chamber that the principal should not be tapped. I have heard it referred to as “the people’s money.” Perhaps legislators ought to refer to the people first? Someone has suggested letting it grow to $40 or 50 billion. We have already saddled the next generation with a national debt. This could help future North Dakotans to keep more of their earned income and property if we, who are adults, are willing to give it to them. I would even favor going to $1 trillion. Alaska seems to have pulled off a similar approach. See “personal income tax” under Tax Types at tax.alaska.gov.

Finally, one proposal I would like to hear more about is using the earnings (possibly up to 15 percent of the principal) for giving North Dakota low and reasonable loans. This would allow the fund to continue to grow, while keeping the funds in the state.

Paulson: I am supportive of the concept of using the Legacy Fund to provide low interest loans for infrastructure projects within North Dakota. This would not be “spending” the principal and earnings, but rather reinvesting in North Dakota for the future.

I am very concerned with the temptation to rely on continued high oil prices, which have already proven to be transitory at best. I would be very hesitant to spend Legacy Fund principal on discretionary things that will not have a lasting impact on the state and its citizens.

If oil revenues remain high, in the coming years I would be open to spending the EARNINGS only on things like property tax relief and education.

Maragos: I would prefer only the earnings be included in the General Fund revenues, and the spendable principal be retained in the fund.

Walter: Spendable principal or interest earnings from the Legacy Fund should be used as a revolving loan fund. Few, if any grants should be given from those funds. A revolving loan fund program would pay back the Legacy Fund. The money could then be loaned again, making it possible for the money to be put to good use to improve our communities. The loan program would be well defined and be used to support necessary infrastructure for communities. the loan program would be low interest, making it possible for communities to afford the needed infrastructure improvements.

Q: Gov. Doug Burgum has talked about reinventing government. What should a reinvented government look like?

Hoverson: Again, back to principles. I think we have given up too much old school thinking. For me, the best “new school” is the “old school.” By that I mean we need the old school values of self governance, local control, low debt, spend within your means, trust your neighbor, help your neighbor, classic thinking, supporting and promoting the values of the church, etc. I realize Gov. Burgum is referring to technology. I think we are best served to bring these timeless values into modern technology. We should still progress that way. I was a Technology teacher in ND. However, technology is not our Savior; we need to be critical thinkers, as North Dakotans already are known for being. I do get nervous about the idea of using “technology” to “unify” state government with local communities. Education is a good example. We need to be careful with unification. It can inadvertently become just another way to increase state government and foster less power for local school boards.

Paulson: From my perspective, reinventing government means that everything is on the table, and “We’ve always done it that way” is not acceptable as the final answer. Harnessing technology to improve efficiency and keep costs down just makes sense.

Gov. Burgum’s comprehensive survey of state employees, “creating an opportunity to share best practices, identify areas for improvement and continue to build on a foundational culture of service” is a great place to start. Some of the best ideas will come from the “deckplates.”

A reinvented government should be lean, efficient, and responsive to the citizens it serves.

Maragos: Re-inventing government is a very broad term. As a general statement, a re-invented government should display an efficiency that makes taxpayers feel that their dollars are spent wisely, and citizens feel benefitted by their governments actions.

Walter: A “reinvented government,” as I have heard and understand, would be more efficient, more user friendly and less costly government. Gov. Burgum asked why, in this day of the computer age, don’t the different agencies of the state government have a consolidated computer system? Why not have a system that would work for most of the different agencies in a unified fashion? A system that would recognize a question and direct it to the right department or agency. A “reinvented government” should be a more user friendly government. It should be a more helpful government, not a rule-making entity.

Q: What knowledge, strengths or assets would you bring to the Legislature if elected/re-elected?

Hoverson: Emphasis on Liberty and self governance built on a strong religious foundation. Ask my family about understanding of family relationships, ask my colleagues about honoring education and knowledge, willingness to wrestle with difficult issues, willingness to pay the price for what is right, ask my congregation about my understanding of Judeo-Christian roots without shame (Romans 1:16). For example, laws rooted in the 10 commandments are a minimum for a free society. Ask any friend if I like to learn, study, debate, and discuss.

Paulson: My 24 years of service in the Navy, in a variety of leadership positions, taught me how to lead from the front while having the humility to listen to those being led. I would bring a commitment to conservative principles of government, ensuring responsible, accountable use of taxpayer dollars and protecting personal freedoms.

Maragos: I believe that my past service and the relationships I have built in that time, will help Minot in achieving its needs at the Legislature.

Walter: My career has had me dealing with all government levels. I worked extensively with city government. And through that, with state and federal levels of government. My attitude towards all levels of government was to get the job done. I believe I worked well with the different agencies. I am not afraid to ask questions about specifics or rules that are being applied to issues or situations. The attitude “that I’m the government and I’m right” doesn’t work for me. If elected, I would bring that strength to the Legislature.

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