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Steve Scheel, Published September 15 2012

Letter: Examine their records

Heidi Heitkamp and Rick Berg are both good people with roots in rural North Dakota. I believe both want what is best for our state and our nation, but that is where the similarities end. Their visions for the future of our country are polar opposites, and no matter what either of them writes or says in the next 60 days, no matter what the television ads say about them, their records are crystal clear. North Dakotans could not have a more clear choice for U.S. senator on Nov. 6.

If you are a supporter of President Barack Obama and his policies, Heitkamp should get your vote. Heitkamp would help move the president’s agenda through the Senate just as Sen. Al Franken has done in Minnesota. She has been an enthusiastic supporter of Obama from his days on the campaign trail in 2008, to his massive stimulus spending, to her embrace of Obamacare. She has stood with the president on almost every issue.

On the other hand, if you think Obama is leading us down the wrong path, Berg should get your vote. Berg has been a vocal opponent of Obama on almost every issue for the past two years, just as Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., has been.

If you feel good about Obama’s federal government-centered society and think it is best if Washington has more control and more decisions should be made from Washington, D.C., Heitkamp should get your vote. She has been a strong supporter of the ever-growing federal programs, Obamacare and the massive bureaucracies needed to manage them.

On the other hand, if you think the federal government is too large, with burdensome taxes, policies and regulations, Berg should get your vote. Berg has been a strong voice for smaller, less intrusive federal government.

If you think federal tax rates are just fine, that small businesses and some individuals should pay even more, and that the federal government needs more tax dollars to do their work in Washington, Heitkamp should get your vote. She has been a strong supporter of Obama’s trillion-dollar spending deficits and the taxation needed to run the massive federal programs. On the other hand, if you think individuals, families, and businesses should be able to keep more of what they earn, that less taxation would create new jobs and that we should keep more decisions at the local and state level, Berg has been fighting for you in Congress since his election in 2010.

Nov. 6 is really a mandate about Obama and his vision for our wonderful country. Look simply at their records, not what candidates or ads are saying these past few weeks. Heitkamp and Democratic U.S. House candidate Pam Gulleson would be strong supporters of Obama and his policies, just as Franken is in Minnesota. Berg and Republican U.S. House candidate Kevin Cramer would stand with Hoeven in strong opposition to much of what Obama has done in the past, and will do if re-elected.

Voters could not have a more clear choice for senator and representative from North Dakota. Mark your calendar, and no matter which candidates you choose, exercise your right to vote on Nov. 6.

Scheel is chairman/CEO of Scheels, a Fargo-based, multistate retailer

of sporting goods, hardware and home furnishings.