Letter to the editor: Holmberg got it wrong with criticism of TaylorSen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, got some attention with his Feb. 11 letter in The Sun when he criticized Sen. Ryan Taylor, D-Towner, for trying to help Minot flood victims in the last legislative session.
By: Curt Stofferahn, The Jamestown Sun
Sen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, got some attention with his Feb. 11 letter in The Sun when he criticized Sen. Ryan Taylor, D-Towner, for trying to help Minot flood victims in the last legislative session. Holmberg was attempting to defend the small amount of support Republicans provided to the flood victims because they were foolishly banking on an unrealistic amount of Community Development Block Grant program funding from the federal government. Holmberg then attacked Taylor for offering a higher level of support because, Holmberg wrote, the federal government is “obligated” to cover all the damages caused by disasters like the Minot flood and that Taylor was putting North Dakota on the hook.
Of course, Holmberg knows that his letter was full of inaccuracies because he knows how federal funding works in a disaster. Holmberg knows, for example, that it is the Federal Emergency Management Agency that has an obligation to people who suffer in declared disasters — not the agency that administers CDBG funds. He also knows that the Federal Highway Administration provides emergency highway funding to areas hit by disasters. But most importantly, Holmberg knows that the CDBG funds Congress approved for Grand Forks in 1997 and Minot in 2011 are neither guaranteed, nor an obligation of the federal government.
Holmberg also knows that when Republicans assumed North Dakota would receive $235 million in CDBG monies that they were being wildly optimistic.
So when Taylor stepped up and said we need to be prepared for an amount lower than $235 million, he showed what true leadership looks like.
What Holmberg and his colleagues did will result in fewer projects being addressed and much more uncertainty for those impacted by the flood in Minot. And, contrary to what Holmberg said in his letter, Taylor was more realistic, more knowledgeable, and would have provided much more help to the disaster-stricken residents of Minot.