The most recent issue of the Cavalier County Republican, our official County newspaper, published a letter to the editor that contained a number of false statements. Interestingly, this was the last issue of the paper that will have full viewing before election. Also, the paper decided to forego their published policy concerning letters that make personal attacks and did not contact any of the three incumbent legislators criticized in the letter. If you’ve seen the letter, my response copied here will be more clear.
The tactic of last minute smear campaigns is nothing new to the opposition in our state, but I do not know if any of my opponents had knowledge of the letter prior to its publication. I am choosing not to publish it on this site simply because I’ve given it more attention than it deserves already. If you feel you must see it to clearly understand my response, leave a comment and I will make arrangements for you to access a copy.
Less than a week until election! I’m sure we’ve outworked our opponents but I’m pretty sure they’ve outspent us. To my constituents who have already cast your vote for me, a hearty “thanks!” And to those who will vote between now and Tuesday evening – I would appreciate your vote! Thank you all, & God bless!
Here’s my response that is to appear in the upcoming issue of the CCR.
To the Editor:
Harvey Hope’s letter in the October 27, 2008, Cavalier County Republican really doesn’t deserve a response. However, I would be remiss in not addressing Mr. Hope’s false statements, which he made with the intention of misleading the citizens of District 10.
First, let me address the comments directed specifically at me. The letter says I raised the issue that Legislators should not serve on other boards. Not true. Before the primary election, the issue of whether an incumbent county commissioner could devote the time necessary to do justice to a position in the Legislature was raised, but not by me. My only public statement saying that I don’t feel a person can do justice to both at the same time is on my website. The letter goes on to point out the fact that I serve on the Cavalier County Water Resource Board. If Harvey or any other commissioner thinks that compares to serving as a County Commissioner, I challenge him to agree to serve the rest of his term on the Commission for the same compensation with no benefits that our Water Board members receive.
Perhaps Harvey feels I was out of touch because I considered the well being of all my constituents and not just his wishes. What he needs to understand is that as a Legislator I do not represent just one person, government entity or board. I represent the interests of all the citizens of District 10, Republican and Democrat, whether we agree or disagree. If we wanted just the interests of a county represented in Bismarck, we would just send a commissioner from that county to the Legislature.
Although his letter implies that no effort was made to fund roads, Harvey knows very well that during the last Session I sponsored legislation to help all ND counties with road funding that would have come from the budget surplus at that time. Senator Olafson co-sponsored the bill and Rep. Monson voted for it. It didn’t pass, but it highlighted the needs of infrastructure and we have much more support for similar legislation going into the 2009 Session.
I can’t take sole credit for the $1+ billion projected budget surplus. Still, it was nice of Harvey to illustrate the results of my economic policies compared to his, the results of which appeared on the front page of the same issue of the CCR under the headline “Commissioners discuss road & bridge deficit”.
There are some general statements that should be addressed. The phrase “tens of thousands of dollars” is used numerous times in the letter. Harvey should have access to enough information to be quite a bit more specific on the actual dollar amounts. He was very specific in his personal accusations with much less factual basis.
Harvey has had HB1303 explained to him many times and he either refuses to hear or is unable to comprehend the truth. As for SB2032, it did return some of the surplus to the taxpayers even though not in the manner many of us would have preferred. As the legal deadline for the Legislative Session approached it became the only acceptable choice.
The general attitude of our Caucus is to oppose unfunded mandates. However, the notion that transferring fiscal burdens from local government entities to the state will save the taxpayer money is misguided. As I often point out, it’s still your money.
I take very little pleasure in having to write this type of letter. I work with and am friends with people in both political parties, so Harvey’s partisan choices do not offend me. I expect to have some criticism leveled against me and can accept that as well as differences of opinions. However, I will not leave unaddressed, statements that simply are not true. And it is my belief that ultimately, truth will prevail.
District 10 Representative