U.S. House candidate Pam Gulleson called for an investment in America's priorities to turn the economy around in speaking to the Minot Rotary Club Monday.
A former Democratic state legislator and former chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, Gulleson also spoke of Minot's need to continue to receive federal help in recovering from its flood disaster.
"You can see progress," Gulleson said of Minot's recovery. "But I know the challenges continue to be great."
Jill Schramm/MDN • Sheriff Steve Kukowski, right, visits with U.S. House candidate Pam Gulleson at a Rotary meeting in Minot Monday.
She noted that government needs to be part of that recovery.
"We want to limit government. We want to make sure it's not too intrusive in our lives, but there is a time where we really need to look to it to help us to bring resources," she said.
She suggested Congress look at where it is spending money when it attempts to reduce the debt and deficit, which she considers major concerns for the country. A checkbook can say a lot about a person's priorities, she said.
"If you look at the federal budget, it really should not be much different. It should represent those things that we really value as a country obviously, people, family, education, infrastructure," she said. "We have sort of forgotten to invest in ourselves."
Paying off debts to other countries takes away from the ability to invest in this country and its people, she said.
"As you look at how to resolve budget deficits," she said, "keep your eye on the prize and remember what it takes to move this country forward. We have to get back to the business of that. That's the only way we will compete long-term and the only way we will start really expanding this economy again."
Kevin Cramer, Republican candidate for the House who is scheduled to visit Minot today, responded by email that the country needs to get spending under control to get the country on track.
"We need to reassure the markets that we are tackling our $16 trillion debt, and we need to give business owners a predictable regulatory environment and a known tax structure. They are not going to invest money in expansion efforts when they don't know how much Obamacare and other regulations are going to drive up their costs," he said.
Gulleson said lack of cooperation in Washington has led to inaction and uncertainty for industry. The cooperation shown by North Dakota's communities and in Minot's recovery efforts are an example of what the country needs to do to recover, she said. She added she is prepared to continue to work with Minot on its recovery if elected in November.
"My advantage is I have have worked on these issues so many times," Gulleson said in responding to a Rotarian's question. Gulleson, whose family farms near Rutland in southeastern North Dakota, had worked with Grand Forks and Wahpeton as they developed recovery plans after flood disasters. She said she built relationships with federal agencies, noting that Grand Forks' recovery required help from a variety of funding sources.
"It was a cross section, but believe me we turned over every stone," she said. "And it was over a 10-year period, which it will ultimately be, I imagine, with Minot as well."
Cramer, who also grew up in the Red River Valley, cited his experience with flood recovery there and noted that leading and working with others to reach mutually beneficial solutions has been integral to his job on the Public Service Commission.