By Carol Salwicki | Fargo, N.D.

Rob Port’s never-ending tirades against our organization are just flat-out wrong.

Port objects to our organization for its national contributions, yet the initiative he endorses is funded by the Greater North Dakota Chamber, dominated by numerous large corporations with strong out-of-state ties.

Port himself has worked for a Koch brothers-funded dark money group. That’s out-of-state money with an attitude - the Chamber and the Kochs are, in effect, buying public policies that make things easier and more profitable for them.

In contrast, North Dakota Voters First puts voters first. Our goal is to further transparency in government and strengthen the political power of individual voters, including maintaining the public’s current right to initiated measures. Here and throughout the country, people like us are investing in revitalizing democracy by donating to organizations like Represent.Us, which, in turn, invests in local organizations working for such causes. Our out-of-state funders get no direct benefit from our work. And that is probably in sharp contrast to the motivation behind this new Chamber-funded initiative.

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North Dakota Voters First is non-partisan. It doesn’t work on partisan candidate races or with political parties. It’s that simple. The board of directors is composed of North Dakotans from around the state. Yes, many of us have been involved in past political work. Why is it a surprise to Port that individuals who did political work in the past are now involved in public policy organizations?

North Dakota Voters First helped defeat over a dozen extreme voter-suppression bills during the 2021 legislative session. We remain focused on fair, transparent legislative districting in North Dakota as the committee of legislators works this summer through fall.

Our results have been very positive for North Dakota voters. We will continue that good work.

Sawicki is chair of North Dakota Voters First.