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Jeff Fox, Minot, N.D., Published April 02 2014

Letter: ND Republicans should deny Goehring their endorsement

The time is here for North Dakota’s political party endorsing conventions. We are fortunate to live in a state that is small enough to allow its residents to meet and question elected officials, and those who are seeking election to office, regardless of political affiliations.

To delegates at the North Dakota Republican convention this week in Minot, I urge you to support Judy Estenson in her effort to gain the endorsement to run for ag commissioner. It is time for a change.

Recent actions of the current commissioner leave me to question his efficacy as an advocate for North Dakota’s farmers, ranchers and landowners. Not to mention his ability to best represent the interests of North Dakotans through his seat on the Industrial Commission.

In 2012, Commissioner Doug Goehring failed to challenge the Humane Society of the United States when it funded a measure that was couched as an animal abuse protection measure, but which, if passed, could have seriously eroded ranchers’ ability to properly manage their livestock operations. Also in 2012, Goehring exhibited serious leadership and judgment deficiencies through insensitive comments and actions toward members of his staff.

Most troubling of all, Goehring supported proposed policy changes that could erode the rights of private property owners through the implementation of the attorney general’s “extraordinary places” review proposal.

It is apparent that the minority party and many of its candidates intend to drive a wedge between the state’s energy and agriculture industries in an attempt to gain a foothold. The dual role of the ag commissioner with his seat on the Industrial Commission is to advocate and manage policies that enable both industries to not only coexist but to be mutually beneficial to one another and to the residents of this state.

We need a commissioner who is fully capable of just that, and I believe that Estenson is the best candidate. Join me as a delegate to the GOP convention. And join me in supporting the endorsement of Estenson for ag commissioner.