Community Columnists

‘Unusual media environment’ in ND

This week’s theme is “to see ourselves as others see us,” and our lens is Dean Bresciani. Bresciani is president of North Dakota State University. NDSU’s president has been controversial. The Board of Higher Education did not extend his contract in June, demanding more respect, ...

Say no to the MDU rate hike

North Dakota’s ratepayers are in for quite a shock if Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. gets its way. MDU has requested the Public Service Commission raise North Dakota’s electric rates (Case PU-16-666) by 9.4 percent. This increase far exceeds the average increase for all customer classes of ...

A high-tech governor offers great promise

As a political science professor and a recovering government reorganizer, I was impressed by the inaugural address of Governor Doug Burgum. And the more he talked the more impressed I became. Without a doubt, everyone ran his comments through individual paradigms tainted by experience and ...

A high-tech governor offers great promise

As a political science professor and a recovering government reorganizer, I was impressed by the inaugural address of Governor Doug Burgum. And the more he talked the more impressed I became. Without a doubt, everyone ran his comments through individual paradigms tainted by experience and ...

ND legislative session has been embarrassing in the early going

The North Dakota Legislature has not gotten off to an auspicious start in 2017. It started with a bit of pettiness over the governor’s garb. Gov. Doug Burgum has always been known as a dress-down sort of guy. Turns out his Lt. Gov., former Watford City Mayor Brent Sanford, is the same ...

The new ND? A tight fist and an open heart

Well, it was a weird week at the capitol. The weather outside was tough. The atmosphere inside wasn’t especially warm and welcoming. Yet there was a strong sense of anticipation. For the sake of history, let’s deal with the weirdness up front. We’ll return to consider the ...

Scott Pruitt will refocus the EPA’s mission

North Dakota Farm Bureau has vigorously opposed President Obama’s activist EPA, and for good reason. In the last eight years, EPA has repeatedly targeted North Dakota’s economic drivers: agriculture and energy. That’s why NDFB supports incoming Environmental Protection Agency ...

Burgum’s emotional take on homeless teen a good sign

Gov. Doug Burgum’s first State of the State address last week included a personal story about meeting a homeless young man, a drug addict, in downtown Fargo. The anecdote was remarkable for a couple of reasons. Like his olive branch offered to Native Americans, Burgum’s mere ...

Coming soon: Main Street initiatives

Hello readers! You’ll find news about the North Dakota Legislature in these pages this winter. The writer is Mike Jacobs – that’s me – retired editor and publisher of the Grand Forks Herald. I’ll be writing regularly about issues of statewide interest, including education, ...

Dawg’s disappearance rattles homeland committee

"Where is everybody?” called Madeleine Morgan as she stumbled out of a foot of snow and a 30-mile howling wind into the old ZCBJ Community hall for an emergency meeting of  the Homeland Security Committee. “We’re back in the kitchen,” shouted Holger Danske. “The wind is whistling ...

Burgum’s biggest challenge will be unwinding the state’s property tax mess

During his State of the State address to lawmakers this last week, Gov. Doug Burgum said he wants to get the state government out of “the property tax buy-down business.” Burgum is referring to the approach taken under past governors Jack Dalrymple and John Hoeven to address the perennial ...

Burgum shows his anti-Trump side in State of the State

Gov. Doug Burgum spoke for about 34 minutes in his inaugural State of the State address to the North Dakota Legislature on Tuesday, Jan. 3. He covered some things you’d expect him to cover, including lowering property taxes (blah), re-inventing state government  (blah, blah), and making ...

Depending on how you count, Burgum is the 32nd (or 33rd) governor

Doug Burgum is either the 32nd or 33rd governor of North Dakota, depending on how you count. A total of 32 individuals have served as governor, but there have been 33 gubernatorial administrations. This is the usual way to count governors, although it is counter-intuitive. It’s also the way ...

Governor faces major resistance reinventing government

Governor Doug Burgum is going to reinvent government. We are not sure what reinventing means to him but if it means reorganizing agencies, he will discover that it is a losing proposition. North Dakotans don’t take to reorganization. Rather than going all the way back to statehood, let’s ...

North Dakota lawmakers should make a resolution for transparency

Here’s a New Year’s resolution for North Dakota’s lawmakers: Pass new transparency provisions for political campaigns as well as state and local governments. The time is right. In Doug Burgum our state has a governor who is promising to reinvent government, making it more accessible and ...

Standing Rock’s 2014 pipeline objection is irrelevant

In a desperate attempt to justify months of obstinate, unlawful, and often violent protest the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe released audio from a 2014 meeting with Energy Transfer Partners at which the tribe said they’d oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline. The audio was picked up and ...

After a mere 25 years, the triumph of the West is over

WASHINGTON — Twenty-five years ago — December 1991 — communism died, the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union disappeared. It was the largest breakup of an empire in modern history and not a shot was fired. It was an event of biblical proportions that my generation thought it would never ...

Here’s what has us worried, Trumpers

Donald Trump mocked a disabled person and you still elected him president and that’s what has us worried. You talk about Trump tapping into anger and resentment over the economy and jobs and that’s why you voted for him and that’s fine. We’ll see what Trump’s plans are to help you. ...

Measure 4 tobacco tax is not about money

Measure 4 on the November ballot proposing to raise the tobacco tax is not about money. It's about the 1,000 North Dakotans who die every year from the use of tobacco. And it's about the thousands of others who linger in grief and pain for weeks and months.North Dakota's present tax of 44 ...