Marilyn and I have attended most of the Dem/NPL Conventions for the past 30 or 40 years. In the 70’s and 80’s we lived in Steele County so were delegates for District 23. In the early 90’s when we moved to the Mayville area we have followed District 20. This year’s convention had some differences worth noting.
Why? For the past year or so, the party leadership has been Kylie Oversen, Chair and Rob Haider, Executive Director. Anyone who knows them would classify them as young and talented. Looking around at the attendees at the convention, it was obvious that something has changed likely due to their influence. There were a lot of young people including a lot of young women. The Convention theme was Building for the Future while Honoring the Past. Currently, the ND Dem Party is at a low point when considering our presence in the Legislature and in statewide offices. The Republicans have a super majority in the Legislature, as well as every elected state office.
Even with that depressing thought, I came home energized by the candidates we did choose and the Dem/NPL message for the upcoming election.
Marvin Nelson and Joan Heckaman will be seeking the Governor and Lt. Governor positions. They have legislative experience and work experience that will bring a contrasting message to the campaign once the Republicans figure out who they will be supporting. Marvin, when he arrived at the ND House of Representatives quickly became a leader because of his intellect and quick grasp of the complexity of state policy. Joan, because of her time on senate appropriations and her background in education is an expert on all issues, especially those that impact people. Together, they will be able to emphasize some of the failures of the current Republican leadership that put the state into the situation that we are now experiencing.
US House candidate Chase Iron Eyes is a young man who is energetic and intelligent with a message that will point out the inadequacy of state and federal policy for those who are often forgotten. Many of those he will speak for need a boost in health care, in education, or employment, and, if so, can become contributing members of our society. His opponent is openly supporting the incompetent Donald Trump. This points out just how far away our current member of Congress has moved from the beliefs of mainstream citizens of North Dakota. The word CHANGE in capital letters certainly fits in this situation.
While Governor and now as Senator, John Hoeven has been guilty of leading from the back, letting issues come to him as they were developed by others. I’m excited that my colleague, Eliot Glassheim, who has a lot of experience at both the city and state level, is challenging the Senator. Eliot has a deep wealth of knowledge and is one of the best, can I say orators, in the Legislature. When Eliot speaks, everyone listens. I look forward to him putting his words together to clearly show how his opponent has not always been on board with what is best for North Dakota’s citizens.
Finally, I have to speak about a candidate who may be challenged in the primary by one from her own party. The Superintendent of Public Instruction is officially non-partisan and the Dems did not endorse anyone else for that position. Kirsten Baesler, supported at the Republican convention, has done a great job and needs to have the opportunity to continue in her role as our school leader. Her far-right opponent at the Republican convention says he may challenge her in the primary. If he prevails in the primary and is elected in the fall, he will move education in North Dakota backwards.
I closing, I have to say that we enjoyed the convention, the program, the speakers, visiting about the past with old friends and meeting many new young leaders, evidence that the ND Dem/NPL is “Building for the Future”. Rick