Yesterday while guest hosting the Jay Thomas Show I had Lt. Governor Drew Wrigley on as a guest. Our topic, for a bit of Friday afternoon fun, was North Dakota’s 125th anniversary of statehood celebration and the fantastic LuvND.com website the state has set up to promote tourism. I’m not usually one to get too drippy over the state’s tourism efforts, but I really love the off-the-beaten-path fun you can have in North Dakota and the website does a really good job of highlighting that.
Anyway, after Wrigley hung up a caller asked about an issue Democrats have been making about a speech Wrigley gave in western North Dakota. Certain Democrat mouthpieces on the radio have been making an issue out of it, and there have been a couple of letters to the editor in the newspaper about it as well as a critical article in the Bowman Pioneer.
Obviously, North Dakota Democrats are pushing an election year narrative about western North Dakota being in shambles and Republicans not caring about it. It seems Wrigley’s speech has been twisted to fit that narrative.
But, I wasn’t in the room for the speech and all I’ve heard of it is second hand accounts, so I thought the best thing would be to have Wrigley explain for himself. So I had Jay’s producer Larry get Wrigley back on the phone and he explained it.
That’s the audio above.
His point was to illustrate the irony that is people who promote policies that probably would have prevented the oil boom from happening in the first place – restrictive regulations, high taxes, etc. – setting themselves up as the answer to western North Dakota’s challenges. Wrigley also pointed out that the challenges western North Dakota faces today – housing, infrastructure, etc. – are a better problem to have than the problems of five or six years ago when communities were shrinking, schools were closing and businesses were boarding up the windows.
It’s a point well-made. Maybe something got lost in translation, or maybe the point was so well-made that Democrat partisans had to make the comments into something they were not.
That Bowman Mayor Lyn James thought Wrigley’s speech was great, and said as much in a letter to the editor, suggests that maybe the liberals are just playing politics.