Bob Valeu, Bismarck
After reading Stan Stein's take on the 2013 legislative session I had to ask myself if he has actually drank the Kool-Aid the rest of his party has been dishing out, or if he's trying to play a game of misdirection with the people of North Dakota. Either way, it's time to set the record straight and stop pretending that this GOP "lead" session was anything more than an abysmal failure in providing real and lasting relief to the people of North Dakota.
There are so many issues to choose from, but seeing as how we have a word limit, I'm afraid I will run out of space before being able to address them all. Let's start with GOP leader Al Carlson's defeat of 1319 which included, among other things, K-12 funding. During the 11th hour, Carlson defeated this very important bill, causing the Legislature to consider hundreds of millions of dollars in vital allocations in the wee hours of the morning. I wonder if that is the "strong Republican leadership" that Stein was referring to in his letter.
Let's consider the fact that across our state there are billions of dollars in infrastructure problems, and this "leadership" continues to insist on playing "catch up" instead of putting together a real path and plan forward. Or how about their back patting for providing funding to oil impacted communities. Do they think we have forgotten that their very own Dwight Cook attempted to strip this funding and claimed western North Dakotans needed to "justify" their needs?
Maybe they would rather talk about property and income tax "relief." Areas all across our state have already learned that the GOP's plan actually does little to provide guaranteed relief, and let's not forget that most of the tax relief that passed during this session will go to out of state corporations. Maybe Chairman Stein forgot about those little details as well.
Stan Stein's letter leaves the realm of ridiculous and enters delusional when he claims the GOP expanded "protection for the most vulnerable state residents" Did he forget that his party voted to legalize discrimination, voted to legalize voter suppression, oh yes, and defeated a bill that would have provided milk or juice to elementary kids during their midday break? Stein will claim that his party righted their wrong on the milk vote, but what he and his friends won't tell you is that their version of this bill will actually steal funds previously allocated for additional educational resources in order to fund the milk/juice break program.
I could go on, but I think my point regarding this session is clear. If North Dakotans want more of the same failure in leadership and misplaced priorities, stick with the GOP. If citizens want balance in governance, consideration for the future, and forward progress, look to the Democratic-NPL. We know what real leadership looks like.