Hoeven should be re-elected governorNorth Dakota’s progress under Gov. John Hoeven has been nothing short of historic. Despite the near certainty of a national economic downturn, the state is positioned well to weather the storm. Hoeven can take a large measure of credit for the state’s good condition because he has championed investments in people and programs that are visionary and sustainable.
North Dakota’s progress under Gov. John Hoeven has been nothing short of historic. Despite the near certainty of a national economic downturn, the state is positioned well to weather the storm. Hoeven can take a large measure of credit for the state’s good condition because he has championed investments in people and programs that are visionary and sustainable.
Hoeven’s Democratic opponent is Fargo state Sen. Tim Mathern, a highly competent veteran legislator whose passion for helping people is the motivator of his admirable commitment to public service.
Mathern has been a champion of using government to create opportunities for people, although his methodologies for achieving that end are sometimes flawed. A native of Edgeley, N.D., he was raised on a family farm and has always been sensitive to the needs of rural North Dakota, even as he served in the state Senate for more than 20 years from one of the most urban districts in the state, Fargo’s 11th.
But none of that is enough to replace Hoeven with Mathern. The governor’s initiatives over the past eight years have revolutionized everything from the way the state funds teacher salaries to the state/federal/ private role in university research. During his tenure, the state’s economy has grown and diversified — so much so that North Dakota no longer depends on one or two sectors of the economy for economic health.
The governor’s critics contend he’s merely lucky, that positive changes in the national and global economies are the major factors in North Dakota’s good fortune. That’s partially true.
But smart leadership recognizes opportunity and develops public policy to maximize the state’s potential. Hoeven’s done just that in concert with a sometimes intransigent Legislature and an all-Democratic congressional delegation.
The team of the governor and Lt. Gov. Jack Dalrymple has been extremely effective in developing productive economic development relationships among higher education, business and governments. In the process, universities have thrived, the private sector has invested millions of dollars and produced tens of thousands of good jobs, and government at all levels has found common ground for the common good.
Mathern doesn’t disagree with the basic elements of the state’s success. His campaign theme, however, has been that Hoeven has not done enough or has not set lofty enough goals. That charge might be a good political sound bite, but it fails to recognize that planning, development and investment — whether in energy or education, health care or research — take time and care. Setting unrealistic goals in a campaign can be politically satisfying, but a governor is obligated to do pragmatic analyses.
Hoeven’s work for the state has been distinguished by bipartisanship, well-crafted initiatives, optimism and a vision predicated on the proposition that anything is possible in North Dakota. His job approval rating is in the stratosphere because North Dakotans know good governance when they see it. They should re-elect him to a third term.
(Major endorsement editorials represent the opinion of Forum Communications management and ownership)