District 2 Republicans unopposed for legislative seats
Republicans seek re-election to Legislature
Voters in District 2 are being asked to return an incumbent slate of Republicans to the North Dakota Legislature Nov. 3. District 2 takes in the northwestern corner of the state.
Unchallenged on the ballot are Sen. David Rust of Tioga and Reps. Bert Anderson of Crosby and Don Longmuir of Stanley.
A resident of northwest North Dakota since 1980, Rust has served six years in the North Dakota House and six years in the Senate. He served on education and agriculture committees and chaired the Senate Transportation Committee. He also has served as chairman of the Western Dakota Energy Association board and Tioga Medical Center board. He has served on the economic development corporation board in Tioga and boards for local endowment funds. Rust had been employed as public school superintendent in Tioga for 28 years.
The priority issue in the 2021 legislative session will be balancing the budget, Rust said.
“We are going to have to downsize,” he said. “We are going to have to make some hard decisions.
“North Dakota has been living off oil and gas revenues,” he added. “We collected a lot of money from the oil and gas industry and that industry is in a downturn, along with a pandemic that also has affected a lot of industries. As a result, the revenue we are taking in at the state has significantly declined and that means we are going to have to cut some dollars out of our budget.”
He said K-12 education also could deplete reserves in the Foundation Aid Stabilization Fund next biennium. Legislators will need to look long-range rather than drain rainy day funds in a single biennium, he said.
Longmuir has owned and operated a small business for 40 years, worked in economic development, worked in county government as a planner and served on the Stanley School Board for 21 years.
“I have dealt with declining economies, declining population, declining student enrollment, oil booms and oil busts. The one we are currently experiencing is by far the most drastic, but that is because North Dakota is now more closely tied to the world markets. North Dakota has made major steps forward in diversifying our economy. We need to continue developing our economy and education programs to meet the needs of the new world economy,” he said.
“The primary issue facing the 2021 legislature is the budget. We need to examine what our revenues are going to be for the next two years in a world economy that is upside down,” he added.
He said federal funds through the CARES Act have been used, for the most part, to help businesses and agricultural producers but he questions what happens when those funds go away and what happens to social service programs subsidized or completed funded by CARES Act dollars.
“North Dakota’s two main economic engines are agriculture and energy. However, these main economic engines are heavily influenced by the world markets and there appears to be no clear indicators on where the markets are going. It is a struggle to develop policies and strategies when the ability to fund them is uncertain,” he said.
Longmuir also sees K-12 and higher education as issues facing the Legislature.
“Our educators are to be commended for having developed programs under an extremely stressful situation to keep our students on track. Look at all the different types of programs the school are using to keep educating our students. What is the new normal? That is the question everyone is asking,” he said.
Anderson is a business owner and Crosby mayor. He has served on the Crosby City Council, St. Luke’s Hospital Board and his church board. He has served in the House since first appointed in 2014. He has served on the House Appropriations Committee.