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Stan Stein, Wahpeton, Published March 18 2013

Letter: North Dakota succeeds because of visionary Republican leaders

The chairman of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party, in another futile attempt to make his party relevant, said in a recent letter that his group is for a “vibrant economic and business climate” for our state. He then goes on to trash North Dakota and the progress it has made.

Contrary to every nationally recognized business journal, he describes a state that none of us recognize. Bob Valeu, a career politician, basically says that North Dakota is a wasteland, an economic failure, a desolate and barren land, and one that offers no opportunities to its residents. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you want to talk about desolate, just look at states – like Illinois – that are totally controlled by Democrats. There is true desolation – a crime-ridden, corrupt economic wasteland that offers no opportunity for its residents and no solutions for the future.

Or, if Valeu would prefer, we can learn from North Dakota’s recent past. Prior to 1992, when Democrats were in control here, we really were a depressed and moribund economy. Thousands of jobs left the state, young people went elsewhere to find meaningful employment, and our state was moving backward. What was the Democrat’s solution then? Same as now: They attempted to raise taxes by $300 million. North Dakotans responded by voting instead for pragmatic, conservative ideas, and when Ed Schafer became governor our state began to move forward again.

Since then, North Dakota has become an economic pacesetter in the United States. We have the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, our economy and personal income are growing faster than any other state, and our young people are finding bright futures right here at home.

We are funding education, social programs, infrastructure improvements and services for seniors and children at unprecedented levels. We have cut taxes while the rest of the states were raising them. This year, the Republican Legislature and our governor will return

$1 billion to North Dakotans in tax cuts and reforms while maintaining a healthy surplus and a growing reserve for future needs.

Given all these successes, why would we want to return to the days of Democratic control? We have challenges to meet in this economy, that is certain. But unlike in Democrat-controlled states, our challenges come from a vibrant and growing economy, not a dying and decaying one.

As a full-time farmer, not a career politician, I am proud of our state’s success and thankful for the leadership the Republican Party and its elected officials have provided North Dakota.

Stein, Wahpeton, N.D., is chairman, North Dakota Republican Party.