Community Columnists

Too much confidence in Heitkamp is an opportunity for Republicans

U.S. Sen, Heidi Heitkamp rode to victory in North Dakota — albeit a narrow one — in 2012 in part by cashing in on Republican overconfidence. Nobody really thought Rick Berg, fresh off a freshman stint in the U.S. House, could lose that election. And then he did, in a stunner, and Heitkamp ...

After Cramer, Neset might be GOP’s next best hope to beat Heitkamp

Give North Dakota Republicans credit. Just when you think they might have to put up any old Rick Becker or Tom Campbell to run against U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in 2018, they just might pull a Kathy Neset out of their caps. Who? Well, yeah. That’s an issue. But it might not be ...

Tying a body count to the GOP’s health care reform is a stupid talking point

When I wrote my column last week chastising bomb-throwing ideologues like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., for suggesting that Republicans were out to murder people with health care policy, I didn’t think it would be all that controversial. “People will die,” Warren said during a recent ...

North Dakota and the healthcare debate: Too much silence from our leaders

Unlike Vegas, what happens in D.C. doesn’t stay there. If we are not vocal about the ongoing tussle about healthcare funding in our country, we might suffer severely. I am a community pediatrician in rural North Dakota providing care to some of the 90,000 recipients of Medicaid in our ...

Agree with me or people will die

You would think, in the wake of an attempted political assassination aimed at a group of Republicans playing baseball in a park, that our friends on the left might tone down the rhetoric a bit. Yet this week, during a protest outside of Sen. John Hoeven’s offices in Fargo targeting him over ...

Let states take over health reform from federal politicians

During a recent appearance on CNBC, North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp launched a partisan attack on health policy reform proposed by her Republican colleagues. She argued that the proposal is even worse than a House bill passed earlier this year. “You have to look at it from a mile high ...

Coincidence or continuing experiment?

A curious coincidence has occurred. An issue has arisen contemporaneously in Bismarck and in St. Paul – in other words in the capitols of two states that are geographically close but politically far apart. The issue is the same in each state, separation of powers between the legislative and ...

Feds, ND Taking Different Tacks in Drug War

While North Dakota policymakers have been advocating less incarceration for drug crimes, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in an opinion-editorial piece in the Washington Post, said last week that it is time to get tougher. While some may disregard the message because of the messenger, Sessions ...

DUI case reinforces defense lawyers as civil rights advocates

Defense attorneys are the great unsung heroes of American civil rights. Make all the lawyer jokes you want, but it’s the men and women of the criminal defense industry who are down in the trenches working to not only serve their clients but to keep the government from overstepping their ...

A.A. welcomes those in need in ND

A.A.’s beginning is a story of a sober failing alcoholic stock broker and an alcoholic Proctologist. The meeting was out of necessity for the stock broker who being sober at the time desperately needed to talk to an alcoholic to stay sober and the one who happened to be trying to get sober ...

North Dakota’s reigning party splits again

When it rains, it pours, they say. But they are often wrong. Sometimes it doesn’t rain at all. Such was the case last week. Luckily, history came to the rescue. No such resort is necessary this week. This week, the political muses have been especially generous. First let us note the ...

Who’s the source of a hateful political climate?

Is a climate of hate to blame for the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise by a left-wing political activist? Has the rhetoric on both sides of the aisle become so vicious that it’s inspiring violence? The answer to both of those questions is yes. Casting the opposition as monsters has become ...

A different take on Heitkamp and tax reform

In Wednesday’s Minot Daily News, columnist Rob Port alleges that Americans for Prosperity, a tax reform group, is targeting U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, claiming that she is one of the Democrats who opposed President Trump’s tax reforms even before he proposed them. Port then cites ...

Heitkamp pushed to support tax reform, animal cruelty laws should be changed

The folks at Americans for Prosperity are targeting North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp over tax reform. The group says Democrats were opposed to President Donald Trump’s plans for the tax code back before he even proposed them. Before he was even inaugurated, in fact. They wonder if Heitkamp ...

Don’t give local governments a free pass on property tax hikes

During our state’s oil boom years lawmakers created an unsustainable model for property tax relief. It consisted of the state using oil-driven revenue surpluses to pay local governments to lower property taxes, which achieved varying levels of success depending on where you ...

Aging Is Traveling a Highway of Cone Zones

Living seems to be the most popular of all human activities. Bicycling is right next and it is a demonstration of priorities to bicycle against a red light. Take it from somebody who has been there, aging is like traveling a long highway. For the first 50 years, we are on the Interstate, then ...

Close to review time, Bresciani free from drama

Can it be that time already? Didn’t we just go through this? It wasn’t much more than a few months ago when the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education finally extended the contract of North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani for a year, following a summer of drama ...

Of railroads, newspapers and education

The circumstances facing higher education these days remind me strongly of the situation facing newspapers a couple of decades ago. Industry meetings in those days often included discussion of the situation facing newspapers. We amused ourselves by comparing newspapers and railroads. The ...

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 ...