Community Columnists

The Obamacare of 2010 doesn’t exist anymore

Ordinarily, this column is dedicated to discussing public affairs in North Dakota. There are plenty of writers closer to the national scene that can scoop up those leaks about the falling sky. However, the public conversation about Obamacare is in need of some elementary input. Admittedly, it ...

Accusations over DMR’s deleted emails seem like a lot of hot air

Recently an attorney with a long history of working for environmental activists has made some very serious allegations against the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources. That state agency, under the purview of the Industrial Commission, is responsible for regulating oil and gas ...

Burgum says ND has to ‘recognize reality’ in future of higher ed

Change is coming, and rapidly so, in higher education. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum sees his role as “sounding the alarm bell” for the state’s colleges and universities so they are best positioned to deal with the future. That was one of the messages the governor stressed Friday, May ...

Let’s examine the elephants in the chambers

Before we turn decisively away from the 65th session of the North Dakota Legislature, let’s have a look at the elephant in the chamber. I should say elephants, I suppose. There were 119 Republicans, amounting to massive majorities in both houses, 81 to 13 in the House and 38 to 9 in the ...

Libertarians on the prowl for licensing boards

Quoting a dubious bit of research, Mark Holden, senior vice president of Koch Industries, alleged in an opinion piece sent to North Dakota newspapers last year that repeal of occupational licenses in the states would create three million new jobs and save consumers over $200 billion. With ...

Finding the story

As long as there are humans around, there will certainly be no shortage of stories to find. I’m not complaining. If I’m going to be a journalist, stories are going to be my bread and butter. The other day, a friend approached me and asked, “How do you come up with your stories? Are you ...

In 2018, Democrats will campaign against Republicans … and math

In the 2018 cycle, North Dakota’s Democrats will be trying to take back political ground. Defending her seat in the U.S. Senate will be Heidi Heitkamp, the only left wing incumbent on the statewide ballot. In these races, though, Democrats won’t just be running against Republicans. ...

No doldrums ahead in North Dakota politics

Perhaps it is natural to feel a bit let down after so interesting, exasperating, divisive and ultimately indecisive a legislative session as we North Dakotans have just come through. This feeling seems rather like the nostalgia at the end of a sports season, after the trophy has been hoisted, ...

Why I voted to help stop wasting ND’s energy resources

When North Dakota is blessed with natural resources like oil, gas, coal, and wind, the last thing we want to do is waste them. That’s why I voted against overturning a federal rule that will help limit methane emissions from oil and natural gas wells on public or tribal land - resources ...

Our ‘moderate-Democrat’ experiment has failed

In 2012, Heidi Heitkamp ran as a practical, results-based politician who would step across party lines whenever it would serve North Dakota. She has proved it as nothing more than an empty campaign promise, or a blatant lie. We can go into mundane voting records where she votes routinely ...

Governor stands up to legislative power grab

In a sweeping display of executive authority, Governor Doug Burgum peeled off a series of vetoes at the end of the recent legislative session in which he defended the integrity of the executive branch against the chronic encroachment by the legislative branch. Perhaps in his general studies, ...

Honest truthful discussion about health care

With the recent passage of the American Health Care Act by the U.S. House of Representatives, it is important to have an honest and truthful discussion regarding what the AHCA is and what it is not. But before we get into that, what does the health insurance marketplace look like in North ...

Cramer’s reckless honesty versus Heitkamp’s tightly controlled messaging

Years ago a journalist friend of mine said something about Congressman Kevin Cramer, then a Public Service Commission member, which has always stuck with me. Cramer is “recklessly honest,” my friend said, perhaps one of the most apt things I’ve heard said about any politician. Today ...

In Bismarck, the ‘missing man’ makes an impact

You can learn a lot about a governor by parsing his veto messages. The first thing to learn about North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is that he won’t be intimidated. His post-session veto of the PERS bill left Al Carlson scowling, Carlson’s only possible response. Carlson, a Republican from ...

Our future is bright

As North Dakotans, we have always been an aspirational people. We see beauty and opportunity where many don’t. We dream big and work hard. Yet when our administration assumed office on Dec. 15 we were facing fiscal challenges and civil unrest of historic proportions. Sluggish oil and ...

Dems to retreat to blue districts?

North Dakota Democrats are hoping to make up some ground against the state’s dominant GOP in the 2018 cycle, and while Republican dysfunction during the legislative session this year may give them some effective ammunition, they have another obstacle in front of them. Old age. The 2016 ...

Hey Republicans, put Carlson and Wardner on the bench next session

As I write this lawmakers in Bismarck are putting the final touches on their 2017 session. Maybe. They started this session with a goal of completing on day 70, leaving 10 of their constitutionally allowed 80 days. But when that deadline came and went they decided they could finish on day ...

Russians involved in California secession plan

It has now become evident that the Russians have been meddling in the internal affairs of the United States beyond the 2016 presidential election. While the mass media have been focused on President Donald Trump, they missed the really big news about the plan in California to secede from the ...

Could Wrigley end up being named U.S. attorney again?

Drew Wrigley served as North Dakota’s U.S. Attorney under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009. He stepped down from that appointment during the Obama administration – though many at the time, including the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead in a glowing editorial, urged President Obama to ...