Is all this hand-wringing about Trump’s trade fight with China and its potential impact on North Dakota’s agriculture economy based on reality? Or is it hyped politics from Democrats anxious to drive a wedge between President Donald Trump and rural voters who cast their ballots for him? Eugene Graner, President of Heartland Investor Services, told me on my radio show today that it’s the latter. “It’s gonna be just fine,” he said of the soybean markets, noting that prices today are higher than they were a month ago.
The headline read: "80 percent of ND oil spills wouldn't have been reported under new law." It accompanied a recent article by my colleague Patrick Springer. The subject of his reporting are new spill rules, passed during the 2017 legislative session and implemented in August, which no longer require the reporting of oil or saltwater spills that are smaller than 10 barrels and contained. Previously, all spills greater than 1 barrel, or 42 gallons, had to be reported.
MINOT, N.D.—Mac Schneider should send Tom Campbell a fruit basket or a nice flower arrangement or something. Campbell lost the endorsement for the U.S. House at the NDGOP convention by a wide margin. Despite the race being hotly contested by no less than a half dozen candidates, state Senator Kelly Armstrong emerged victorious with 847 vote. In second place was Campbell with 480 votes, just a bit more than half Armstrong's total.
If the state party conventions are a measure of enthusiasm of political activists in the state, Republicans seem to have a major advantage. I’m attending the NDGOP state convention in Grand Forks today, and a party official confirmed to me that they now have over 1,600 delegates registered. To put that in context, the North Dakota Democrats topped out at 612 seated delegates for their hotly contested House endorsement race at their state convention (also in Grand Forks) last month. The NDGOP, meanwhile, had about 1,700 delegates at their state convention in 2016.
As we head into the NDGOP state convention this weekend we have heard a lot from the Republican candidates about how much they line up with President Donald Trump’s agenda, and how much their Democratic opponents do not. That makes a certain sort of sense. After all, President Trump got nearly 63 percent of the North Dakota vote in the 2016 election, beating Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton by nearly 36 percentage points.
Do you ever read the public notices in your local newspaper? I pay attention to them. I once broke a story about a public housing official in Grand Forks engaging in some blatant nepotism because of a notice published in the Grand Forks Herald. I actually scooped the folks at the Herald, if you can believe it. One of their reporters at the time quipped that I got the story because they weren't reading their own newspaper. But outside of nerds like me, are those notices still of value to the public?
Last night at a candidate forum put on by the Cass County United Republicans Committee state Senator Tom Campbell, a candidate for the U.S. House, claimed his campaign has paid for very few delegates to attend the NDGOP’s state convention. He also claimed that those delegates paid for were college students he intended to help get involved with the party. “That was so blown out of proportion by you know who,” he told radio host Scott Hennen in an interview after the forum, referring to my coverage of the story (because I’m flipping Voldemort or something).
According to an analysis of the Trump tax cuts conducted by the Tax Policy Center – a group backed by the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution – North Dakotans will see the largest average tax reduction in the nation thanks to the Trump tax cuts. The analysis, “indicates the average tax cut in each state as measured across all filers in that state – those getting a tax cut, those facing a tax increase and those who will see no change at all,” CNN Money reports .
You don’t have to look very far in North Dakota to find references to our 26th President. Teddy Roosevelt, who was born in New York and spent most of his life there, ranched in North Dakota for about four years in the 1880’s. After that he visited frequently for recreation. There’s no doubt he loved our part of the country. By his own testimony, the time he spent in North Dakota was an important chapter in his life. He once described our state as “the romance of my life began.” That’s important history worth celebrating, but are we getting carried away with it?
MINOT, N.D. — Dear Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, I was bemused recently to hear that you, from the sycophantic environs of your brother's radio show, referred to me as a "snowflake." Your brother, perhaps hoping he might goad me into giving his show some press by way of rebuttal, was griping about me as someone holds forth from my mother's basement. My mother doesn't have a basement. So that's kind of fake news, don't you think?