GOP candidates: Heinrich and Satrom seeking the GOP District 12 nomination for Senate seatThe two candidates for the Republican nomination for the District 12 Senate seat are both businessmen with offices in downtown Jamestown and they have both lived in Jamestown since the 1970s. They do offer different opinions on a number of topics.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
The two candidates for the Republican nomination for the District 12 Senate seat are both businessmen with offices in downtown Jamestown and they have both lived in Jamestown since the 1970s. They do offer different opinions on a number of topics.
Dwaine Heinrich and Bernie Satrom are competing for the Republican nomination in the June 12 primary election. The winner will face Democratic nominee John Grabinger in the November general election.
The winner of the November general election replaces Sen. Dave Nething, R-Jamestown, who has served in the North Dakota Senate since 1966 and is retiring from office.
The candidates were asked what they think is the biggest issue facing the state.
“The biggest topic is having someone representing Jamestown in the Senate that understands our city and its needs,” Heinrich said. “Someone who has shown a past commitment to the city.”
Heinrich served on the Jamestown City Council from 1998 to 2008.
Satrom is running his first campaign for public office.
“The biggest thing is I’m concerned about the world we’re leaving for our children and grandchildren,” he said. “The biggest single topic is planning our future. Managing growth. It is like North Dakota has won the Lotto. We have billions of dollars in surplus but the money belongs to the people. We need to be careful not to make down payments on things we can’t pay for in the future.”
Satrom views Measure 2, the initiated constitutional amendment to eliminate property taxes, as a sign that the tax structure needs to be updated.
“I don’t think it will pass,” he said. “But the bigger issue is our tax structure needs to be reviewed. The business climate in North Dakota is ranked 29 of the 50 states. If it weren’t for the good years in agriculture and oil we would be in serious trouble. We need to rethink taxes and this is a wake-up call to the Legislature.”
Heinrich said he does not support the measure.
“The reason I’ll vote against Measure 2 is the amendment doesn’t give a solid direction as to how to replace the taxes,” he said. “I believe in local control and this leaves it up to the Legislature how to replace the funds. I believe we’re too heavily dependent on property taxes but I don’t believe the average person wants to create a situation where we’re beholding to Bismarck to dole out the money as they see fit.”
On road and infrastructure concerns both candidates agreed on the cause of the problem.
“A lot of infrastructure problems are the result of the unprecedented high water cycle we’re in today,” Heinrich said. “We have an elected City Council and County Commission. These are the bodies that should decide what needs to be done. The infrastructure we plan for has to make economic sense.”
Satrom also sees the weather as a factor in the infrastructure problems.
“Part of the problem is we’ve had some very bad years from a weather standpoint,” he said. “The counties and townships are playing catch-up. The infrastructure plans should come from the commissioners and taxpayers.”
Related to road issues in North Dakota, Satrom also saw additional infrastructure needs in western North Dakota.
“The Oil Patch has an extreme situation,” he said. “They need to get proper infrastructure for the safety and sanity of the people living there.”
Heinrich touted his experience in economic development.
“Jamestown has done a good job in economic development,” he said. “The field has changed so much in the last 15 years. Back then creating jobs was necessary just to put people in our area to work. The larger issue now is how we get people to move here.”
Satrom said changes in the tax structure would help jobs creation.
“The best economic development is providing a tax climate where business can thrive,” he said. “Regulations are causing businesses to think twice before expanding.”
Satrom is the founder and president of Maranatha Custom Churches in Jamestown. The business designs and constructs churches all around the United States.
Heinrich is the owner and manager of Heinrich and Company. The business provides independent insurance adjustment services with offices in Minot, Bismarck, Devils Lake and Jamestown.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org