Doug Kinnoin, Stanley
I'm fed up!
Like many of you, I've received and/or seen several communications from our current ag commissioner, and with each new message, the commissioner further embellishes the truth. In his latest letter, the commissioner highlights and takes credit for several things that stretch the truth, even for the least engaged observer.
At a recent Lincoln Day event, the commissioner touted his role in increasing North Dakota trade and exports. This is a direct insult to the North Dakota Trade Office, which was set up by then Gov. John Hoeven, and to the U.S. Commercial Service office staff. The employees of these two offices are the folks who truly increase the out-of-state sales of our products. These are the people who line up and facilitate trade missions; the only role the commissioner plays in these deals is to represent one segment of our business community. His only real role is to issue phyto-sanitary certificates. The truth is that ethanol and weather events around the world have driven all the U.S. markets, and agribusiness has benefitted from the general tide floating all boats.
The commissioner also attempts to hype his role in the passage of a farm bill. He may be influencing our junior senator, since he seems to have a close relationship with her brother, but our commissioner has a minor impact on federal legislation. The voting public has a greater impact on the farm bill by communicating with their congressional delegation. On this issue I'm afraid the commissioner is only engaging in shameless self-promotion.
Many of you have heard the commissioner speak at your district party conventions. In his canned speech he highlights diversity, innovation and research. While these topics are important for the future of North Dakota, they are hardly the role of our ag commissioner. These are functions of private businesses and our research institutions certainly not the job of a statewide elected official. As Republicans we should all be offended by the implication that government should play a more active role in our business community.
One other thing that has me fed up as a Republican is the commissioner's allegation he will not support a policy that interferes with the rights of private property owners. His actions on the Industrial Commission clearly conflict with this statement. He voted three times to designate private lands in North Dakota as special places, and he cannot hide behind the excuse this policy only applies to public land. Anyone who reads the final version of the policy which the commissioner voted for on March 3 can clearly see that private lands are affected. For goodness sakes, of the 18 special places listed, several are privately owned. White Butte is an obvious example. How can anyone claim that these places are not impacted?
Why is it that our commissioner takes credit for doing things that he has had little impact on, but has conveniently failed to take credit for some of his more questionable office expenses like spending thousands of taxpayer dollars to move a wall within his office 18 inches? This is an office that has served previous commissioners without wasteful remodeling. Why does this man who claims to be fiscally conservative need to spend taxpayer money to satisfy his own ego?
The final thing I'm fed up with is the disingenuous attempt to scare delegates into voting only for the incumbent, as if only he can defend and secure the office against the Democrat candidate. I'm committed enough, both financially and in other ways, to assure that any GOP candidate will hold this office in November.