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Rep. Bob Skarphol, Published October 07 2012

Berg’s outstanding legislative work qualifies him for Senate

Robert Carlson, former president of the North Dakota Farmers Union, in a recent letter to the editor, extols the virtues of Heidi Heitkamp saying, “She’ll work with both sides to put the country first, create jobs and balance the budget.” Those words are easy to say, and Carlson may believe that, but we have to look at Heitkamp’s record. She was a lawyer for the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is one of the agencies that is keen on over-regulating everything related to agriculture and energy.

She was a lawyer in the North Dakota Tax Department and was later appointed tax commissioner and then elected to that position for one term before she was elected North Dakota’s attorney general for two terms. Her work history has been one of administration – totally. At least that is the expectation of being in those state-elected positions.

Former Gov. Ed Schafer got it right when he said he wasn’t interested in a run for the U.S. House or Senate because he was an administrator, not a legislator. He knew his strengths.

Heitkamp has been out of office for 12 years. Why would we think she would be effective in working with “both sides to put the country first?” Does she have a record to prove that? And what has been her experience in “creating jobs and balancing the budget?”

All of us can aspire to achieve great things. But my observation is that those who are successful have a proven track record of experience. When you are working in the legislative arena, you develop skills and abilities to do that job. Based on her background, I see legislative experience lacking in Heitkamp’s resume.

Congressman Rick Berg has many years of legislative experience in the North Dakota Legislature. He knows how to navigate the process and has done that in our state with considerable success. And in Washington, he worked untiringly to get the House Republican leadership to bring the House ag committee-passed farm bill to the House floor for a vote. It is well documented that he tried every avenue open to him to get that job done. Berg is one of 435 voices in the United States House of Representatives. He spoke up loud and clear in making his case for bringing the farm bill to a vote on the House floor. In my opinion, he exhausted every avenue he could in attempting to get that done. He has assurances from House Republican leadership that the farm bill will be high on the House agenda when Congress returns to complete their work for the year after the election.

It does little good for a candidate or their allies to finger-point when they have not had time in the trenches to accomplish a similar feat. I don’t see where we would be better served sending Heitkamp to Washington in a job for which she has no experience or background. It just doesn’t make sense to me. I am putting my vote behind Berg, who has years of experience and know-how in the legislative arena. He has been successful in the Legislature, and he will deliver for North Dakota in the U.S. Senate, too.

Skarphol, R-Tioga, represented District 2 in the North Dakota House from 1993 to 1997 and since 2001.