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Barry Nelson, Fargo, Published March 09 2013

Letter: ‘Grow up!’ too simple for senator

Sen. John Andrist, R-Crosby, N.D., felt stung by The Forum’s assertion that they (the state’s Republicans in the Legislature) were “stingy, mean and tone-deaf” when rejecting a bill to provide milk to North Dakota’s poorer children. My first instinct was to just respond to the senator by saying, “grow up.”

But, that would also too greatly simplify the issue as the good senator was accusing The Forum and I suppose every other North Dakotan who questioned this stingy action. Oh, if milk was the only thing that the state’s Republicans were denying its children. Let’s look at other actions of the North Dakota super majority party, which seems drunk on its own power. Let’s look at the fact that they have rejected consideration of any funding for the Head Start program, where the House has stripped funding from a pre-K pilot funding program. There is the rejection of funding for an innovation program that would include arts in our school system adding it to the STEM. There appears that there will be little or no monies for child care centers even with the “beyond crisis” of a lack of child care. Health care for children? Is this Republican majority concerned at all about the fact that a large number of our poorest children go without health care?

No, it appears the Republicans are concerned only with forcing women who dare have sex to carry that child to birth and further punish her by making sure no support exists for the mother and the child post birth.

And, as seems typical of this Republican Legislature, Sen. Andrist warns that the greatest evil this state government could foist upon its citizenry would be “lending a hand” thus “making us more dependent.” The North Dakota Republican legislators love lecturing us on the evils of a woman having control over her body, of thinking things change quickly in North Dakota in terms of human rights, of making sure that this state does not step in and assist our children since that evil federal government at one point provided that assistance.

So, my advice to Sen. Andrist? Get a little thicker skin if in fact you are going to maintain this level of stinginess in the face of all of North Dakota’s surplus and opportunity.