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Published October 30 2012

Forum editorial: Schmidt, Hamm, Peterson

Kelly Schmidt has done an outstanding job for two terms as North Dakota’s treasurer. She’s earned a third four-year term.

The office was not performing up to par when Schmidt won election in 2004. She immediately began the work of modernizing procedures, building a strong staff and rebuilding relationships with legislators. Her efforts worked, and she has continued to strengthen the office as demands for its services increased.

Schmidt’s opponent is Ross Mushik. He’s tried to make the case that Schmidt has allowed big fees to be paid to out-of-state investment firms. It’s a sideshow issue that suggests Mushik does not fully understand the treasurer’s mandate.

Schmidt will continue her good work in a third term.

Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm’s low-key, professional approach to his responsibilities earns him another term. He’s been on the front lines of helping lawmakers negotiate the federal Affordable Care Act, and has made recommendations that comport with North Dakotans’ assessment of the health care reform law.

Moreover, Hamm has worked quietly with the insurance industry to keep premium rates as low as possible. That’s a major focus of his job.

Tom Potter of Grand Forks wants Hamm’s job but has not made a convincing case why that should happen. His one-note campaign seems to be his support for the ACA.

Hamm should stay on the job.

Auditor Bob Peterson is sometimes accused of being invisible. That’s a good thing. Rather than call news conferences or seek confrontations, Peterson merely does the job of auditor very well. Like most state agencies, he could use more help, and he should request more from the 2013 Legislature. Demands on his office are escalating as activity in the Oil Patch increases.

Fargo lawmaker Scot Kelsh wants the job. He has alleged the office has not conducted all the local government audits mandated by law. That’s quite possibly true, but it’s likely because the auditor’s resources have been burdened by the state’s growth. And it is not cause to toss out an incumbent with a good record of service.

Peterson should be re-elected.


Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.