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Sen. Jessica Unruh, Published March 02 2013

Letter: Legislators meet needs of our state

The 63rd legislative session has met its halfway point, known at the Capitol as crossover, and Republican legislators are meeting North Dakota’s many needs. Our citizen Legislature provides our state with the truly unique ability to recognize the needs of North Dakota residents and therefore implement policy and ratify expenditures to best reflect those needs.

We recognize the immediate need for infrastructure investments in our state. This need resulted in the Legislature working with the governor to “fast track” two essential pieces of legislation to provide funds for statewide highway and road improvement projects and rural water projects to be completed in 2013, totaling more than $750 million already committed to infrastructure improvements.

Further investments relating to infrastructure are identified in Senate Bill 2012, which outlines enhanced state highway investments. This appropriates $2.7 billion, which includes the “fast tracked” portion, to improve roadways and other infrastructure throughout our state and addresses the needs for western North Dakota. Bypasses, upgrades from two-lane to four-lane highways, bridge reconstruction, and highway maintenance and repair are among many specific items addressed in this legislation. While major investments are being made at this time, a large portion of this bill is specific to one-time investments that will not require continued spending in future biennia.

Continuing to provide water to our rural residents in the western half of our state by utilizing current rural water programs has been prioritized by the Legislature this session. We are assessing both funding and policy changes for these projects to continue to provide clean and safe drinking water to our residents.

As a freshman senator, I bring all I have to the table. As a true legislator of the people, I use my experiences to determine the needs of my constituents. As a Republican, I intend to keep our promise to make our state a better place to live, and I personally do this with my faith and the support of my family, friends, and people of District 33.

Unruh, of Beulah, represents District 33 in the North Dakota Senate. She is a graduate of North Dakota State University and works for the Freedom Mine as an environmental specialist and serves on the Mercer County Soil Conservation District board and the Beulah Little People Pre-School board.