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Meghan Strand, Fargo, Published April 23 2012

Budget in black on the ND side

I expect that The Forum’s editorial page will be filled with the indignant words of my fellow North Dakotans over the unfortunate dig from across the river. I laughed the first time I heard Minnesota state Rep. Matt Dean’s words about our state Capitol building. It sounded like the green-eyed monster. Did he make fun of our Capitol because they can’t afford to fix theirs?

Over the years since ours was built, we could have easily shelled out for a lovely domed building filled with classic architecture such as theirs. We could have, but we didn’t. Anyone who has taken a tour of our Capitol building knows that inside that gray exterior is a beautiful interior – wood paneling and crown molding. It’s beautiful and simple. It’s a symbol of who we are.

We may not be fancy people, but on the inside we are beautiful and good people who know that when times are tough, priorities must be made. We built a building we could afford when we needed a building and times were tough. We didn’t spend ourselves into the poor house.

We aren’t like the men and women in St. Paul. We don’t stand around making fun of our neighbors and arguing about how to stretch our final pennies to fix bridges and buildings that are falling apart, while we also argue about how to afford a big new stadium. Austerity is a word that Minnesota should learn.

Our Capitol may not be the prettiest building, but I’m proud of it. Our building is gray and perhaps simple, but our budget is blacker on this side of the river.