- Associated Press - Friday, October 28, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Bismarck Tribune, Bismarck, Oct. 23, 2016

Republicans get the nod to lead North Dakota

It’s been a remarkably quiet fall election campaign for statewide candidates and there’s no reason to anticipate any close races.

The measures on the ballot are attracting more attention than the candidates. The Democrats, in fact, couldn’t find anyone to run for state auditor.

Sen. John Hoeven and Rep. Kevin Cramer, both Republicans, appear headed to easy re-elections. They are the best candidates and the Tribune Editorial Board endorses them. Hoeven’s opposed by Democrat Eliot Glassheim and Libertarian Robert Marquette. Democrat Chase Iron Eyes and Libertarian Jack Seaman are challenging Cramer.

The most exciting race was in the June primary when Doug Burgum challenged Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem for the Republican nomination for governor. After winning the primary, Burgum has run a more subdued race this fall. It appears he’ll win easily and the Tribune feels he’s the best candidate for the job. He offers a more business-like approach to the governor’s office, plus his tech background could lead to some interesting improvements in state government. Burgum likely bring a different mindset to government.

His opponents, Democrat Marvin Nelson and Marty Riske of the Libertarian Party, haven’t been persuasive in arguing they are better options. Burgum has used the general election to mend fences with legislators, stressing cooperation in the upcoming legislative session.

The Tribune also endorses the incumbents or the Republican nominees in the other five state races.

Kelly Schmidt is seeking her fourth term as treasurer. She’s run an efficient office, keeping an eye on a variety of funds. Her Democratic opponent, state Sen. Tim Mathern of Fargo, wants to abolish the office. That’s something he can try to do while in the Legislature. Voters have already rejected efforts to abolish the office. She’s also opposed by Libertarian Eric Olson.

State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler has the Republican letter of support as she seeks a second term at the Department of Public Instruction. She drew criticism for common core during her first term and now is taking the state in a different direction. She needs another four years to finish the work she started. Her opponent is Joe Chiang.

Two Republican officeholders are retiring. Robert Peterson will leave the auditor’s office next year after serving since 1997. His father held the office before him. Republican Josh Gallion who works for the Public Service Commission is seeking to replace Peterson. The Tribune believes he’s the best candidate. The Democrats didn’t nominate anyone for the office. Libertarian Roland Riemers also is running.

State Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm will leave office in January. Republican Jon Godfread, Democrat Ruth Buffalo and Libertarian Nick Bata are competing for the office. The Tribune believes voters should elect Godfread.

Republican Julie Fedorchak who was appointed to the Public Service Commission is seeking her first full term. The Tribune endorses her over Democrat Marlo Hunte-Beaubrun and Libertarian Tom Skadeland.

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Williston Herald, Williston, Oct. 23, 2016

Delegation right to ask for more federal support

North Dakota’s congressional delegation has done the right thing by pressuring the federal government to offer more support to law enforcement involved with the Dakota Access protest.

As the protest has dragged on, it is costing millions of dollars and thousands of hours to ensure the safety of workers, residents and the protesters themselves. This expense not only impacts the budgets of the state and places like Morton County, but also keeps police officers and sheriff’s deputies from handling other problems.

The federal government needs to step in and offer either money or manpower to help ensure peace and public safety.

The federal government’s responsibility goes beyond that, though. With the Army Corps of Engineer’s decision last month to reconsider the easements for the Dakota Access Pipeline, the entire construction process was thrown into uncertainty.

The concerns raised by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe deserve consideration, but they are getting that - in the court system. By changing the process after the fact, the Corps and the Justice Department has not just caused a company uncertainty, it has also put the livelihoods of thousands of workers in a precarious position.

The state and federal governments have a responsibility to ensure the safety of drinking water and cultural artifacts, but that is part of the planning process. Once a project has been approved, assuming it followed the rules - which the Dakota Access Pipeline did - work needs to be allowed to progress.

We wholeheartedly support the efforts of Sen. John Hoeven, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Kevin Cramer to press the federal government to make a decision on the easement under Lake Oahe. They have shown that they are willing to support the efforts of law enforcement while still respecting the rights of the protesters, which can be a delicate balance.

We hope they continue to pressure the Corps to make a final decision on the easements and to press the Justice Department to offer more support for local and state law enforcement.

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Minot Daily News, Minot, Oct. 25, 2016

Positioned for the future

One would be hard-pressed to find a business operator in Minot who did not reference the return of higher oil prices when trying to forecast the economy of the near future. When oil hits $65 a barrel (or another perceived benchmark), businesses now languishing will accelerate once again, conventional wisdom seems to be when asking around.

While it’s perilous for individual businesses to plan for the much anticipated boom to return, it is a reasonable enough assumption that it is wise for planning on a larger scale to consider. That’s why it’s wise that both North Dakota and Minot specifically appear to be or moving toward being well positioned for a high energy market future.

North Dakota has made much of the long-term investment (a good portion of it one time only) in infrastructure necessary to better handle increase in energy activity in the western part of the state. The state government has also done a good job at creating systems to appropriately channel funds generated by the oil activity into education and other savings and investment funds thus preparing for the long haul.

Having witnessed a dramatic increase and then decrease in population resulting from the Bakken boom, Minot continues to push ahead despite the slowdown. Plans remain in the pipeline for further development, public and private. Housing stock continues to increase in anticipation of increased demand in the not-too-distant future. Much needed infrastructure improvements downtown continue to move along. Whether it’s discussion and debate over the future of the Souris River or plans related to the Resilience funds, public and private sector entities are looking to a bustling future.

Some communities in a lull and dependent on commodity prices might remain static until change comes along. Others move forward proactively. That North Dakota and Minot fall into the latter category will pay considerable dividends. The only question is when.

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