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Archie Ingersoll, Forum Communications Co., Published March 21 2010

State snapshot: What's on the minds of GOP delegates

John Ertelt, 65, Oriska, District 20, painting contractor

  • Health care bill: “What it really amounts to is the government meddling in the health care industry, and they don’t belong there. Let the private sector take care of it. They’ve done a good job so far.”

  • Local issues: “Property tax is always an issue. There’s people that are on fixed incomes, for example, that are being driven from their homes because they can’t afford to pay the taxation on their residence.”

  • Agriculture: “The farmers are doing quite well right now. Commodity prices are a little weak right now, but the last few years, they’ve done quite well.”

    James Simons, 55, Minot, District 40, financial advisor

  • Big issues: “Elect a candidate to win the House back for us and to elect a candidate to win the Senate seat for us – that’s probably the two things I want to get out of this convention.”

  • Health care bill: “Congressman (Earl) Pomeroy is voting with his party, he’s not voting with … the people he represents. I think it’s a shame.”

  • Local issues: “We’re just excited for all the people that are benefiting from the oil. Everybody’s benefiting because of it.”

  • Property taxes: “I think property taxes across the state are high. I’d kind of like to see some property-tax relief.”

    Bernie Clark-Meyer, 69, Mandan, District 31

  • Health care bill: “My husband had bypass surgery last year. You know, he’s doing well, but we don’t know what the future will hold. And we earned our good insurance, and we want our good insurance. We don’t want it taken away from us. That’s what we think will happen.”

  • Agriculture: “We need good prices for our farmers to stay on their farms. We can’t all live in the city or rent out our farms. I rent my farmland to my brother, but if the prices aren’t there, he can no longer farm. Our prices need to be higher however it’s done. We don’t want to live on subsidies; we want good prices for our farms.”

    Trevor Thoreson, 35, Fargo, District 44, travel company employee

  • Health care bill: “I’m not in favor of socialized medicine which is what … this is, whether they want to call it that or not.”

  • The economy: “We need to be doing something to encourage business development, which, you know, is the basic stuff like cutting taxes. Get more money into the private sector instead of take it out of the private sector.”

  • War: “I want to see us win this war fully, which means wipe out our enemies completely. I’m glad we’re pushing hard in Afghanistan right now, but we need to do more.”

  • Flooding: “I was a little disappointed to see that they’re trying to push a North Dakota diversion channel. I personally thought a Minnesota diversion channel would be a better option. I just think it’s a simpler plan. You know, you don’t have to cross five rivers to get the water northbound. It’s going to be years before it all gets straightened out.”

    LaVonne Goetsch, 69, Belfield, District 36, retired

  • Health care bill: “I wonder if there’s a single congressman that has read the thing.”

  • Oil: “I am from western North Dakota, and I am extremely concerned about the road conditions and stuff in our state,” adding that she has four sons working in the oil industry. “I cringe every day when they go out on the road. My niece, she was very, very badly hurt in an accident just the week before Thanksgiving.”

  • Education: “We are throwing money and throwing money and throwing money in the education system, and yet our own local students, their tuition and stuff is going up, and we’re educating everybody else.”

  • Ranching: “This past year has been tough on the cattle market and stuff; it’s coming back. We need more free markets, and we need less government interference in the farming industry, ranching industry.”

    Andrea Collin, 56, Bismarck, District 47, writer and editor

  • Health care bill: “I think a lot of people support some kind of reforms, but they’re just concerned about the way the legislation has been put together in Washington and whether it’s being done in the best interest of the country.”

  • The economy: “We’re in a really nice position with the (state budget) surplus,” adding that the state’s business climate needs to be maintained. “We’re benefiting from a strong economy around the state.”

    Vernon Brossart, 65, Williston, District 1, Tea Party organizer

  • Health care bill: “Where are we going to get the money to pay for all this? We’re in debt. We’re in debt. We’re in debt.”

  • Abortion: “Yes, I am a man, and yes, the woman has charge of her body, but I do not believe – and I’m going to use the term – in killing babies. Life begins at conception.”

  • State budget surplus: “Why don’t we give that back to the people? Why don’t we let you put it in the bank?”

  • Oil: Brossart says the state should put oil and natural gas revenues into a trust and give the money to residents. He said the boom has created a housing shortage in Williston and strained area roads. “I think we need to work on the roads in western North Dakota. There is a lot of heavy trucks.”