Community Columnists

A prison experiment unlike anything in U.S.

"North Dakota is conducting a prison experiment unlike anything else in the United States.” So says Governing Magazine, a nationwide publication for state and local government officials, in a four-page interview by David Kidd with North Dakota legislative committees and the Department of ...

Hate ugly politics and hypocritical politicians? Blame the voters

We are now in the heart of the election season. Early voting has made the campaigning during this part of the cycle even more intense. While Election Day is still months away in November, early voting in North Dakota begins next month. The campaigns are still trying to make their cases, and ...

Yard signs are grass roots democracy

Hold that hammer, political activist, before driving that yard sign into the ground. Your life and your sign may be in mortal danger. Not everybody likes those political poppies that compete with dandelions and crabgrass as the most hated of unwanted exhibitions on neatly trimmed yards. Most ...

Tom, forget impeachment and do good

om Steyer, a smart investor who turned straw into gold by converting a puny $8 million into $30 billion in 20 years in the stock market, is now spreading his wealth by sponsoring a $10 million campaign to impeach President Donald Trump. So far, he has gathered 5,000,000 signatures on his ...

Stockpiling other people’s money is a lousy goal for the government

In 2009 the North Dakota Legislature passed a constitutional amendment to create a fund out of a portion of taxes on oil and gas development. It was approved by the voters, as all constitutional amendments in our state must be, in the 2010 election. Today what is now called the Legacy Fund ...

Big ideas, big results

North Dakotans have benefited greatly over the last decade by the world class oil play in the Bakken. As revenues began rolling in from oil taxes, the Republican led legislature, along with the voters, put various funds into place to make sure that the money was both spent responsibly and saved ...

Fighting ‘Godless Communism’ in North Dakota

The Air Force plane drifted down to the tarmac of Osan Air Base in South Korea, sidled up the ramp and open the cargo bay. Fifty-five service members respectfully brought out the remains of 55 soldiers who had lost their lives in the Korean Conflict It took 75 years for them to come ...

Minot Park District and ‘The Big Evergreen’

July 25 was a sad day for our family. We knew it was going to happen sometime this summer. Brian, the city forester, had told us they would just show up and get ‘er done. For 28 years we have lived in this house. And for 28 years, the 50-foot evergreen tree has stood at the edge of our front ...

Bank of North Dakota should explore the marijuana business

In 2016 North Dakota voters invited the marijuana industry into the state when nearly 64 percent of them voted for a ballot measure creating a framework for legal access to medical marijuana. Voters will likely get a chance to expand on the liberalization of state marijuana laws in November, ...

Ten miles for a loaf of bread

Once claiming to be the bread basket of the world, North Dakota is on its way to becoming a food desert, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For USDA, a food desert means that folks must travel at least 10 miles to find a general grocery store. As rural North Dakota continues to ...

China wants Trump to knuckle under on trade, and so does Heidi Heitkamp

The Shirky Principle, named for technology writer Clay Shirky, holds that institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution. We could adapt the saying for politics by arguing politicians do not want to solve problems which are politically advantageous to them. It ...

Minutes from bump-poot hell sinky summit

When Bump entered the spacious reception room in Hotel Kamp, Poot was already downing his second vodka-seven, irritated because Bump kept him waiting for 45 minutes. Ordinarily, people who did that disappeared the next day. “Sorry, I was late, but we had a hard time finding Hell Sinky,” ...

Are capricious state regulators contributing to ND’s child care shortage?

One of the most bedeviling problems facing the great state of North Dakota are chronic labor shortages, as generations of policymakers can attest. A factor in labor shortages is a paucity of services such as child care. Contributing to the child care shortage, perhaps, is a regulatory ...

Asinine constitutional proposal on the ballot

From Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary: 1. Asinine: relating to or resembling an ass; 2. marked by inexcusable failure to exercise intelligence or sound judgment. Yes, that’s the word that should be used to describe the proposed constitutional amendment that would ensure only United ...

Zero-Tolerance: To obey or not to obey

Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent all of Washington scurrying for their Bibles recently when he defended his immigration policy by quoting Romans 13 to justify strict interpretation of applicable laws. “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to ...

Trump did little to address ND’s trade fears

Politically, President Donald Trump did a lot of damage to incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., during his campaign rally in Fargo. After weeks of Heitkamp and her campaign working overtime to align with Trump, the president himself rained on the parade. During a CNN interview after the ...