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Lois Myran, Taylor, N.D., Published June 08 2012

On women’s vital issues, Berg is like proverbial leopard changing his spots

When Rick Berg was a legislative leader in the North Dakota House, he voted to deny insurance coverage to domestic violence victims on the grounds that domestic violence was a “pre-existing condition.” He also voted to reduce domestic violence funding in 1993 and against restoring this lost funding in 2007 (SB 2302). In other words, Berg’s record on supporting victims of domestic violence is quite abysmal.

So when Berg now tells these victims that he supports their cause, I’m a little hesitant to believe him.

There are two bills before Congress that would reauthorize a critical piece of legislation that helps victims of domestic abuse. A bill written in the Senate has the support of domestic violence organizations. A bill in the House is a Republican bill that has little support outside Congress. Berg voted against the weak Republican bill but also voted to prevent the good bill from being debated in the U.S. House. In other words, Berg is trying to play both sides of this issue – keep his party bosses happy in D.C., while appeasing the victims and their advocacy groups in North Dakota.

The final vote might not happen until after the election. In the meantime, I’ll believe the leopard we’ve known for 25 years over the Berg who’s just now pretending to change his spots.

Heidi Heitkamp will not be playing both sides of the issues when she is elected as our next senator. She is the kind of person whom women and all North Dakota voters should support.