- Associated Press - Friday, March 11, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Minot Daily News, Minot, March 11, 2016

Nancy Reagan was a critical part in presidency

During the first half of the nation’s history, wives of our presidents received little public credit or even notice for their behind-the-scenes involvement in public affairs. But that changed to the point that thoughtful Americans have understood for many years that when they elected a president, they were getting a “package deal.”

The nature of that package has varied a great deal. Some first ladies were very public and very outspoken. Others preferred to keep low profiles. Their impact on the United States and the world around us has varied, too.

Nancy Reagan, who died Sunday at 94, was in the spotlight occasionally - but tried hard to avoid it. Except on her “Just say no” campaign against drug abuse, she shunned publicity. But in a very important way, she was exceedingly influential.

Her husband, the late President Ronald Reagan, is credited with truly great accomplishments. His leadership did very good things for the economy. It also helped change the world for the better.

He might never have been president had it not been for Nancy Reagan’s advice and her influence on him. And during his two terms in office, she was his fiercest, often very effective, defender. In that role, she was a “street fighter,” commented one of her husband’s biographers.

Clearly, Nancy was a critical, integral part of the Reagan presidency. As such, a nation mourning her should do so with great gratitude.


The Bismarck Tribune, Bismarck, March 9, 2016

City wise to gather tax advice

The decision to delay a vote on a 1-cent sales tax for Bismarck was a wise move.

Bismarck Mayor Mike Seminary has been pushing for a second sales tax to help pay for $228 million in road projects. Seminary argues the city is in danger of falling behind on projects and if they aren’t done in an orderly manner the cost will continue to rise. He originally wanted to put the issue on the June primary election ballot, but he shifted gears after a recent town hall meeting.

The meeting was well attended and there was a good degree of opposition to the sales tax and questions about some of the proposed road projects. Seminary’s proposal is opposed by two city commissioners, Steve Marquardt and Parrell Grossman. Commissioner Nancy Guy supports the vote and commissioner Josh Askvig says he wants more feedback before making a decision.

Seminary says he wants to delay the vote until the November general election so the commission can collect more information from the public. The mayor indicated he wanted a public forum before the city commission and other community groups are planning informational sessions.

Providing the public with more information, pro and con, is never a bad idea. This in a sense isn’t a yes-or-no proposition. The ballot measure has to be crafted by the commission and it doesn’t have to include everything the mayor has suggested. The number of projects can be narrowed, the amount of the tax can be changed and the project priorities can be altered. Also, Seminary doesn’t want an end date on the sales tax. He might need to compromise on that to get it passed. When all that is decided, the yes-or-no vote can be held.

Some might argue Seminary decided to wait because he didn’t think he could win in the primary. There’s nothing wrong with that. Conventional wisdom is that fewer people vote in the primary and issues with strong core support do well in primaries. Public discussions on the sales tax seemed to trend toward a no vote.

If the commission decides to hold a vote in November the presidential election could draw more voters to the polls. The primary, however, could have the attraction of the governor’s race between Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Doug Burgum. Burgum has announced he will run in the primary and Stenehjem is favored to get the convention nomination.

The Tribune believes if the commission decides to hold a vote the best time is November. when it’s likely the most people will vote. If leading up to the decision by the commission on whether to hold a vote it appears the measure will fail, the commission should wait.

The process needs to be transparent, the public needs to be heard and the commission needs to follow their advice.


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