Does she get it?

Dan Reinhard


So, each legislative branch of Congress has finally reached their individual conclusion on tax reform. And although enormous efforts were also put forth for health care reform, we still have no solution for that in sight. Our country is diametrically opposed on each of those key pieces of legislation.

And does North Dakota fall into that battleground arena as well? To begin, if we look upon our state legislative government picture, we see that our state is divided into 47 districts. Each district elects two representatives and one senator by the residents in alternating two year cycles. That total is 141 members, 94 representatives and 47 senators. If my math is correct, as of the 65th Biannual Assembly, 81 representatives were elected to the House and 38 senators to the Senate from the Republican Party. That computes to 84% Republican and 16% Democrat political party members.

I will leave the significance of the political party makeup of our legislative branches to the reader. But there should be one undeniable revelation in all of this; with that political party makeup, how did our state elect one member to the U.S. Senate from the Democratic party? There are several reasons that we can argue about, but I want to express an opinion regarding the U.S. Constitution as one reason for that result. As originally written in the U.S. Constitution Article One Section Three stated: “The Senate of the United States shall be comprised of two Senators from each State, chosen by the legislature thereof….” I believe, next to the ridiculous 19th Amendment for Prohibition, the 17th Amendment which changed the wording of that article was a very serious mistake. The 17th Amendment which was passed on April 8, 1913 due to a populist movement throughout the country, changed the US Constitution senatorial election process to a popular vote like the House of Representatives. Many States were deadlocked in their senatorial elections and some political corruption existed, but instead of fixing what needed to be fixed, we pulled an ax and chopped up our founders’ brilliance that was originally penned in our Constitution. Like the 19th, I would like to see the 17th Amendment repealed.

I don’t know what the political party legislative makeup is in all other 49 states but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many similar circumstances as ours. For example, whatever Minneapolis/St. Paul votes for, will be the outcome for all national elections in that enormous state. I can only imagine the nightmares that previous Democratic senators from North Dakota had to deal with when Harry Reid from Nevada was the Senate Leader. It is my hope that Senator Heitkamp also understands that very few North Dakotans wish to follow the lead of Chuck Schumer from New York on tax reform… Or health care reform…