Mike Brandenburg Column: Not Every Farm Bureau Member Is Against Doug Goehring


OFFICE POLITICS: A former employee accuses Agricluture Commissioner Doug Goehring of creating a hostile work environment, and department exit interviews indicate low morale. Goehring says it's office politics, and that he's given employees too much leeway.

I cannot begin to express how disappointed I am in the negative, mean-spirited and personal attacks the Estenson Campaign and a small group of Farm Bureau insiders led by Eric Aasmundstad have launched against North Dakota Commissioner of Agriculture Doug Goehring.

Not only do these perpetrators violate Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment of “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican,” but the claims are wholly untrue and false.

THE TRUTH: Doug has been a key player in growing our state’s agriculture exports by 50%. As the North Dakota Commissioner of Agriculture and Trade Office board member, Doug has led many foreign trade missions to open new markets and streamlined processes to help sellers and buyers more easily do business internationally.

THE TRUTH: Doug has been a champion of private property rights. Despite pressure from the main stream media, Doug opposed having private property included in the Extraordinary Places Initiative recently considered by the North Dakota Industrial Commission.

THE TRUTH: Doug did authorize construction in his office, but not for his personal use. The minor remodeling project allowed Doug’s office to also be used for staff meetings and as a general purpose conference room. The fact is that Doug is so frugal that he hasn’t even replaced his 20-year-old office furniture.

THE TRUTH: Doug has been at odds with a small group of Farm Bureau insiders on some policy issues. Doug supported the Farm Bill passage, these insiders did not. Doug supported the coalition of farm groups including the Stockman’s Association that worked to craft common sense animal cruelty legislation, these Farm Bureau insiders did not.

Doug Goehring has refused to be a rubber stamp for a small but extreme faction of North Dakota Farm Bureau insiders. The truth is that landowners, ag producers, legislators, energy producers and, yes, even Farm Bureau members like me from across the state are supporting Doug Goehring.

These latest attacks are a desperate attempt to save a failing campaign. In fact, they sound more like those a Democrat might make than a fellow Republican. And unfortunately, these attacks have emboldened the Democrats and brought their strongest candidate, Ryan Taylor, back into the race for North Dakota Ag Commissioner after he bowed out last fall.

Now, more than ever, we need a proven winner as our candidate for Ag Commissioner. Doug won his 2010 election with nearly 70% of the vote. A statewide poll showed Doug with a commanding lead over Ryan Taylor. And Doug has already raised over $125,000 for the election and currently has $112,000 on hand.

Please join me in support of the one candidate who can keep the Office of North Dakota Commissioner of Agriculture in Republican hands…Doug Goehring.