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Bob Valeu, Bismarck, Published March 13 2013

Letter: Republicans in ND Legislature make a travesty of governance

The critics are wrong about North Dakota Democrats. The North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party is very much aligned with the interests of North Dakota business. More importantly, the Democratic Party and its legislators are standing up for a balance between a vibrant economic and business climate and a family-friendly state.

The Republican Party leadership, with its supermajority in the Legislature and complete control of state government, is dead set on political payback to their large, out-of-state corporate contributors, and they’re doing so with our state revenue. They need to stand down and rethink the havoc they are legislating on North Dakota. Their approach is simply misguided.

The Republican record so far is neither business- nor family-friendly:

• Denying low-income children a carton of milk while giving 10 out-of-state corporations $45 million in tax breaks.

• Walking us backward on discrimination.

• Passing legislation that will give 82 percent of tax relief to 50 percent of out-of-state companies.

• North Dakota has now dropped from No. 2 to No. 19 in “well-being.”

• North Dakota ranks second in the nation for workplace injuries.

• Our communities are seeing downgrades in bond ratings. Republican insistence on reducing the oil extraction tax at this time is simply wrong. It smells of political payback.

The oil industry will drill 30,000 to 40,000 more wells. So far we have only drilled upward of 5,000 wells, with devastating effects, including $5 billion to $8 billion in unmet needs across North Dakota. Our residents and businesses deserve to have these public improvements made first. Republicans have had seven years and hundreds of millions of dollars to get ahead of energy development. They have failed.

So far this legislative session, they are making a travesty out of governance: Public infrastructure is in dismal disrepair; businesses struggle daily to keep up with demand; lines are the norm for food, medical services and routine public services; our local public officials are stressed out; our day care system is in crisis; and the housing crisis has now led to working homeless families. After seven years of Republican control, we have an incomprehensible problem with solid waste, fracking water, liquids, chemicals and now toxic radioactive waste disposal.

One thing is clear: The residents of North Dakota are signaling a desire for two-party governance. The Democratic Party is energized, organized and committed to a very competitive election in 2014 and a full-fledged discussion about which party best represents the interest of North Dakota residents and our business community.


Valeu, Bismarck, is state chairman, Democratic-NPL Party.