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Charles Linderman , Published March 30 2013

Letter: Republicans misrepresent fact with their claim of ‘rescuing’ ND

I was amazed to read the opinion piece by Republican State Chairman Stan Stein. His ludicrous land of make believe would make good material for Stephen Colbert.

He continues the false claim that Republicans rescued North Dakota from extreme distress caused by Democrats and now because of Republican leadership, we are the envy of the nation. Let us look at the facts.

The majority of North Dakota’s economy is based on a couple of extractive industries, namely agriculture and energy. In the 1980s, farm commodity prices were low and the price of crude oil was low. Consequently, farmers were hurting and drilling new oil wells was nearly at a standstill. That means two-thirds of our state’s economy was depressed.

It is fortunate that we had a strong leader in Democratic-NPL Gov. George Sinner, who had the political courage to promote the tough choices that were necessary.

Several things happened in recent years. Farm commodity prices reached previously unheard of levels. Many farmers have prospered beyond their wildest dreams. Also, crude oil prices tickled $100 per barrel. More oil-bearing formations were discovered. The technologies of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing were developed, making oil-bearing strata like the Bakken very profitable. As a result, our extractive industries are generating economic activity as never before. Our lack of diversity has become our strength.

Now, I am quite sure the North Dakota Republican Party had nothing to do with any of this.

Stein also makes a false comparison between North Dakota and Illinois, whose problems he blames on Democrats. Fact is, many other states, including those with Republican governors and legislatures, are hurting due to the slow economy. It is also a fact that our current economic troubles started under the Republican administration of George W. Bush.

What we must do now is use our new wealth to develop an economy that will survive future change. The fact is we still have a narrowly based economy. It could go the other way again.

So, let the Republicans in control of state government use our wealth to build a strong infrastructure, develop a world-class educational system, and create a diverse and sustainable economy. Give us an economic, social and cultural climate that will truly make North Dakota the envy of the nation. Then they can take credit.

Linderman farms near Carrington, N.D.