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Bad call by governor

Wesley Belter, Fargo

The spending of probably three hundred thousand dollars by a PAC, funded and controlled by Governor Burgum, to defeat state Representative Jeff Delzer was a travesty. It was without question, an unprecedented attack by a sitting governor on a member of the Legislature. Many observers, including myself, feel Jeff Delzer to be the leading legislative budget expert.

Apparently to Governor Burgum, Representative Delzer’s budget knowledge and expertise was considered an obstacle to the governor’s agenda. In the corporate world, where the governor comes from, competition can be dealt with by a hostile takeover. The governor’s PAC chose to attack Representative Delzer’s legislative record with misleading and disingenuous attacks.

Several months ago, I personally wrote the governor arguing Representative Delzer would be an asset to the executive and the legislative branches of government as they worked to navigate the financial difficulties facing the state. Instead the governor and his PAC worked to defeat Representative Delzer in the primary election. Now one of the finest legislators that I had the privilege to serve with in my 32 years in the Legislature will not be there to help guide the state in its hour of need.

What will be the impact of the Delzer defeat? The endorsed District 8 Republicans will win the November election. However, it will be years before they have the experience needed to make the critical difference to their district and the state that was lost with Jeff Delzer’s defeat.

What the governor did was unfortunate and misguided. The wounds are deep, but like always I am confident the Republican Legislature will do what is right for the state. To Representative Delzer I say thank you for your service. You are one of North Dakota’s finest.

Belter is a former Speaker of the House, Majority Leader and Committee Chair.

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