MINOT, N.D. — "It has not impacted my job." That's what North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger told me during an interview on my radio show this week (you can catch the audio at SayAnythingBlog.com if you're interested). He was talking about his struggles with alcohol addiction, and I pushed him hard on the issue. It's a sensitive one. I'm certain Rauschenberger is uncomfortable talking about it. Who wouldn't be?
The audio from today’s radio show is below. If you want the audio of every show delivered directly to your device, subscribe to the podcast . Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger joined me on air today. He’s seeking a second full term in office. He was appointed by former Governor Jack Dalrymple to the Cory Font’s uncompleted term and won election to a term of his own in 2014.
The environmental activism aimed at impeding, and sometimes even blocking, the build-out of energy infrastructure such as pipelines and refineries/processing plants is bad for the environment. Don’t believe me? Witness the problems the oil and gas industry is having in addressing the flaring issue here in North Dakota. Back in 2014 our state developed, along side said industry, a plan for reducing the amount of gas flared in the state. It featured a cap on the amount of gas allowed to be flared that has reduced over time.
Yesterday Governor Doug Burgum gave a thorough, 90-minute “state of the state” address on the campus of Minot State University. In it he spoke of his administration’s efforts and accomplishments in 2017, the first year of Burgum’s term in office, as well as his vision going forward. Here’s the full video of the event if you missed it:
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp was one of the few Democrats who voted with Republicans to keep the federal government open. Good on her, though the vote looks more calculated than authentic when you consider which other Senate Democrats voted like Heitkamp did. The list, in addition to Heitkamp, includes Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Doug Jones of Alabama. The common denominator among these Democrats? Aside from Jones, the rest are up for re-election this year in states President Donald Trump won in 2016.
Governor Doug Burgum is set to deliver a State of the State address in Minot today (a livestream begins here at 10am if you’re interested). It’s not typical for North Dakota governors to deliver such addresses in between legislative sessions (former Governor Ed Schafer as the first and last to do it) or outside of Bismarck (that’s Burgum’s innovation).
In North Dakota we harbor a skepticism of government regulation that is almost cultural in its pervasiveness. Don't get me wrong, we support the rule of law. Anarchy is not the North Dakota way. But we are, as a state, deeply suspicious of regulatory overreach. Which is why Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak needs to pump the brakes. Fedorchak is a fine public servant, with a bright future in Republican politics, but of late she's been overstepping the boundaries of her office.
Yesterday Governor Doug Burgum voiced unequivocal support for making North Dakota’s seat belt law a primary enforcement law. Currently the law is a secondary enforcement offense. Which means the cops can only ticket you for not wearing your seat belt if they’ve already pulled you over for something else.
Dear Julie, I think you’re a great public servant. I’m glad you’re on the Public Service Commission. It pleased me when it was reported that you might be interested in seeking a seat in Congress at some point, including possibly challenging Senator Heidi Heitkamp this cycle . But we need to talk.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem’s office is in the process of defending North Dakota’s voter ID laws from a legal challenge. Those laws were enjoined by a federal judge shortly before the 2016 election, and the judge required that the state go back to allowing people without ID’s as long as they sign affidavits saying they are, in fact, legal and eligible voters.