Q & A with Jack Dalrymple on state issuesThis is the final story in a three-part series taking a look at North Dakota’s governor candidates. Gov. Jack Dalrymple is featured this week. Republican Paul Sorum and Democrat Ryan Taylor were featured in prior weeks.
This is the final story in a three-part series taking a look at North Dakota’s governor candidates. Gov. Jack Dalrymple is featured this week. Republican Paul Sorum and Democrat Ryan Taylor were featured in prior weeks.
I’ll return to your Ask Your Government questions next week. Here are Dalrymple’s answers:
There has been vocal criticism of the state Board of Higher Education. Do you think it’s time to change the structure of higher education in the state (and if so, how?) or do you think the current system works but is undergoing some setbacks?
I think that we need to always be looking for ways to improve our governance and our funding of higher education. I think that some of the recent events have been, you know, somewhat random events and certainly not anything that could have been predicted. And when two or three things happen in a confined period of time, sometimes people try to see a pattern in it.
I don’t see a pattern there. I see separate events, and I think at times we forget that by most measurements, we actually have one of the better systems of higher education in the country, both in terms of performance and in terms of the commitment that we make as a state.
What I have worked on myself is trying to improve the formula under which we finance our 11 institutions. I believe that the method of funding our campuses can be improved.
What do you see as the biggest challenge with K-12 education right now and what would be your plan to address it?
Let me say first of all, we’ve made a tremendous amount of progress in reforming our financing and our expectations of K-12 education. And I’ve had the privilege of being part of that as chairman of the Commission on Education Improvement.
Looking forward, I think the work from now on will focus on improving the equity and the adequacy of our funding formula even further. I have recently done some work to try to integrate our property tax relief program with our main school funding formula. We also continue to work on improving outcomes from K-12 education, and this will come from improvements in teacher performance as we go forward. Work needs to continue on improving our quality of instruction.
What would you consider to be your top three priorities for the 2013 legislative session at this point in time?
We will continue to manage our state budget very carefully. That means we do not want our ongoing expenditures to exceed our ongoing revenues.
At the same time, we will probably make more significant investments in infrastructure as we did in the last legislation session, or as I promised in the last legislative session, because of the rapid growth in development of our state, especially in the 17 oil- and gas-producing counties.
These investments can be made from cash reserves that we have accumulated in the last few years, and they are considered one-time investments that will not add future financial obligations to the taxpayers of North Dakota.
We will continue our efforts to create career opportunities for people in North Dakota, and we will also look to our visioning project called 2020 and Beyond for new initiatives to improve the quality of life in our state.
Western North Dakota’s economy and infrastructure has received the most attention lately. What is your vision for the eastern half of the state?
I’m from the eastern side of the state, and it’s true that there are great needs in the eastern half of North Dakota as well, even though it does not get as much attention publicly.
Our highways and roads are in need of investment in every county, and we will continue to make those investments through our regular budget commitments.
Why should you be North Dakota’s next governor?
I think that I have been part of North Dakota for some time in both the private sector side and the public sector side. I’ve had a lot of experience in agriculture and business. I had 16 years in the state House of Representatives, 10 years as lieutenant governor and, by the election, about two years as governor.
I think that provides me with, you know, some very valuable experience in being able to handle the challenges that are coming in the future and also to seize the opportunities that we will encounter in the years to come.
The ability to capture great opportunities for our citizens will require a good deal of experience and also the ability to create a vision for the future of our state.
Teri Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum