TR: America’s Winston Churchill

Rich Karlgaard

Publisher, Forbes Magazine

I was born and raised in Bismarck and attended its great public schools, including Bismarck State College.

In my 27-year career at Forbes Magazine and as a keynote speaker, I have traveled the world and visited all 50 states. I never miss the opportunity to say I’m from North Dakota. Often a cheer goes up somewhere in the room, and afterward I’ll meet a new friend with a North Dakota legacy.

What, exactly is that legacy which binds North Dakotans, past and present? It is unique, and we all know it.

I think it goes to pride of place. North Dakotans are tough, resourceful, highly educated, self-reliant, builders of farms, businesses, towns, schools, churches and community. You could say that North Dakota’s two nicknames – the Peace Garden State and the Roughrider State – are twin stars that guide its people. To put a new spin on a familiar quote: “North Dakotans are people who talk softly, but they carry the big sticks of compassion, competence and courage.”

The Teddy Roosevelt library is a terrific opportunity to share North Dakota’s powerful legacy with its citizens and the world. TR was unlike any U.S. president before or since – tough, resourceful, fearless, educated, curious, a voluminous writer, and uniquely attuned to future generations (e.g. his national park system). Many have called him America’s Winston Churchill.

I won’t make the economic argument for the library, because Governor Burgum has already made it, and very convincingly. I will only add my voice to the TR Library’s many supporters when I say North Dakota’s rich legacy is also the platform for its prosperous future.