Author Archives: Rob Port

Shelley Lenz, right, Democratic candidate for North Dakota governor, meets local voters during a picnic in June at Lincoln Park in Grand Forks. At left is Sheryll Weisenberger. (Forum News Service file photo)

Dem-NPL Gov Candidate Doesn’t Want to Be Called a Democrat, Stumbles on Mask Mandate Question

Dem-NPL Gov Candidate Doesn’t Want to Be Called a Democrat, Stumbles on Mask Mandate Question

MINOT, N.D. — If a candidate demands a mask mandate, shouldn’t they be prepared to tell you what the consequences would be for violating it? Democratic-NPL gubernatorial candidate Shelley Lenz isn’t. Monday I guest-hosted the “Jay Thomas Show” on WDAY AM970 and had nearly an hour-long conversation with Lenz. I like Lenz. I think she’s an

Third-grade students work on projects on their first day of class on Tuesday, Sept. 8, at S.G. Reinertsen Elementary School in Moorhead. Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum

Why Did North Dakota’s Universities Get More Than 5 Times the COVID-19 Funding K-12 Schools Did?

MINOT, N.D. — Let’s do some math. The fall 2019 enrollment number for full-time equivalent students in North Dakota’s public K-12 schools was 110,797. All of those kids are North Dakota residents. The fall 2019 enrollment for North Dakota’s public institutions of higher education was 35,353 full-time equivalent students. Nearly half of them, something like

NDUS Chancellor Mark Hagerott addresses a committee during the 2019 legislative session in this Herald file photo. (Sydney Mook / Grand Forks Herald)

MINOT, N.D. — I’ve been writing about higher education for a long time, and when it comes to budgets and how our state’s universities react to them, there are two simple truths. Any budget increase will be treated as a cut because it wasn’t as large an increase as the universities requested. Any actual cut

Shelley Lenz, Democratic-NPL candidate for governor

Gov Candidate Lenz’s Pandemic Plan Amounts to Appointing Someone Else to Lead

MINOT, N.D. — The governor’s job is to govern. The governor’s job is not appointing other people to govern. After reading her plan for addressing the coronavirus pandemic, I’m not sure Shelley Lenz, the Democratic-NPL’s gubernatorial candidate, understands this. The plan was released this week. It tosses a few bones to placate the nascent authoritarians

North Dakota Democratic Party Chairwoman Kylie Oversen. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Democratic-NPL Says NDGOP Legislative Candidate Is Ineligible Because He Lives in Wyoming

MINOT, N.D. — Earlier this year the Democratic-NPL stubbornly refused to acknowledge that one of their candidates for statewide office, Travisia Martin, who was running for Insurance Commissioner, was ineligible for the ballot. Despite clear evidence that Martin had cast a ballot in Nevada in the 2016 election — something that, if done legally, requires residency in

Superintendent Kirsten Baesler, left, and challenger Brandt Dick, right

Superintendent Challenger Questions Incumbent Baesler’s Qualifications for Office

MINOT, N.D. — The race for North Dakota Superintendent is heating up, with challenger Brandt Dick taking a shot at incumbent Kirsten Baesler’s qualifications. In a recent Facebook post, Brandt questioned Baesler’s descriptions of her résumé and education experience. “If my opponent applied for a Principal or Superintendent job in any ND school district, she

North Dakota Voters First organizers haul nearly 37,000 signatures into the state Capitol Monday, July 6, for review by the Secretary of State's Office. (Adam Willis / The Forum)

Are North Dakotans OK With Companies Paid to Collect Signatures for Ballot Measures?

MINOT, N.D. — I much admire my friend Tony Bender as a writer, but there’s no escaping the fact that he is a profoundly partisan thinker. For Tony, if Republicans are for something, then that something must be harmful, and there isn’t any need for a more thorough analysis than that. You can see how

The Big Jake dragline excavator works the BNI Coal lignite mine Wednesday, May 13, near Center, N.D. (Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor)

Today’s Coal Power Isn’t the Same as Yesterday’s

MINOT, N.D. — There are two myths about coal that need be destroyed. The first is that the economics of coal don’t work anymore. This is true only insofar as lobbyists promoting the energy industry have been successful in politicizing the energy markets. Coal is asked to compete with energy sources like wind and solar

Officers with the Mitchell Police Division escort Reed Bender from the Monday evening meeting of the Mitchell Board of Education. Bender was removed from the premises after he refused to put on a face mask at the meeting, which is in violation of a district mandate that states all people on Mitchell School District property to wear a mask. Bender was not arrested and no charges have been brought against him at this time. (Erik Kaufman / Republic)

How Much Violence Are You Willing to Use Against People Who Won’t Wear Masks?

MINOT, N.D. — Monday, a man at a public meeting in South Dakota was frog-marched out of the venue by police officers for refusing to wear a mask. As the ugly and bafflingly political divide over masking grows, I think we have to ask ourselves how comfortable we are with that image. Because the path we’re on?

This statue of a Native American man stands outside the Chieftain Conference Center in Carrington, North Dakota (photo by Rob Port)

Fargo Democrat Picks a Fight With Carrington Restaurant Over Native American Statue

MINOT, N.D. — Do you ever wonder, when you see people complaining about a business online, if that person even attempted to talk about the problem with the business before complaining about it online? Many people seem more interested in online griping than working with someone out in the real world to actually solve the

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