Bob Harms, Bismarck, Published July 16 2013
Letter: Consistent Republican policies make North Dakota successfulThe Forum editorial of July 6 suggested that Democrats are energized because of Republican “arrogance,” “bullying” and policies some would try to call missteps. As the newly elected chairman of the Republican Party, I must respond and set the record straight.
Democrats might be energized and hopeful, but that doesn’t equate to success. In the end, the party that has the best ideas to move the state forward will have the taxpayers’ support. And for the past 20 years, that’s been the Republican Party.
The Forum is right that Republicans best not rest on their laurels – and we’re not. Look at what was accomplished this year: billions of dollars invested in road and water infrastructure – much of it in oil-impacted communities; fully funding priorities such as education; $800 million toward property tax relief;
$250 million in tax cuts; more resources toward law enforcement; and additional oversight of energy development. All this done with a balanced budget and with reserves responsibly set aside for the future.
North Dakota has been blessed with abundant natural resources, including the Bakken, and is currently enjoying handsome commodity prices. But remember, other states have natural resources and commodities, too, but are not enjoying the same success as North Dakota. Why is that?
It is because for the past two decades we have fostered consistent, fair-minded, business-friendly policies that have helped nurture the economic success we now enjoy. Other states have not. Republicans are thankful for our blessings, but we are also proud of the policies we’ve championed that have led to economic growth and opportunity.
I was in business during the 1980s and joined Gov. Ed Schafer in 1992 to begin rebuilding the North Dakota economy. Those were tough times. It’s taken hard work and focused determination to put the right policies in place. But that hard work has paid off. Now we are the envy of the nation, and we are able to fund important priorities, invest in the future, and at the same time provide tax reductions and property tax relief to residents across the state.
But that didn’t all happen by accident. Voters made that choice. And those voters do not want to go back to the years of population exodus, sagging incomes and economic depression. For our part, the Republican Party will remain focused on the kinds of common-sense, pro-growth policies that led to our current prosperity, and the resulting success – both in the ballot box and for the state and its people – will speak for itself.
Harms, Bismarck, was elected chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party in June.