In North Dakota Republicans Govern While Democrats Complain


North Dakota Democrats, particularly the younger ones, seem more interested in melodrama than policy and governing. I’ve written about this often. Thoroughly marginalized, and denied the authority to make decisions in the legislature, previous generations of Democrat lawmakers sought ways to work with Republicans and influence legislation as best they could.

But there’s a new generation of younger Democrat in the Legislature which would rather make headlines than policy. They’d rather throw rhetorical rocks and cast aspersions.

Case in point, state Senator Tyler Axness (D-Fargo) who is grumping on Twitter about a new pipeline oversight program. According to Axness, this program had to be put in place because North Dakota’s elected leaders aren’t doing their job.

Now, to be fair, Axness isn’t exactly the brightest light in the Senate. Last year he ran for the Public Service Commissioner, but rather than making a solid argument to get that job he revealed that he doesn’t seem to know what the PSC actually does.

But this tweet is a new low for Axness. He says it’s a failure of leadership from Republicans, but he couldn’t be more wrong.

For one thing the legislation creating the program, SB2271, was a Republican bill. The prime sponsor was Senator Jessica Unruh (R-Beulah), and all of the co-sponsors except one were Republicans. Obviously, since the legislation is the law now, it was passed by the Republican majorities in both houses of the Legislature – 89-3 in the House, 41-6 in the Senate – and signed by Governor Jack Dalrymple, also a Republican.

For another, now that the program is law, it is being implemented by Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. You know, one of those statewide elected officials Axness says isn’t doing their job.

Axness saw a need for this program. Clearly, so did Republicans, which is why they passed this Legislation. But Axness complains anyway, because he’s of the younger generation of hidebound, hyperpartisan, far-left Democrat lawmakers.

Of course, the previous generations of legislative Democrats weren’t exactly winning over the electorate with their more conciliatory stance towards Republicans. Maybe this younger generation thinks they can get some traction by throwing bombs.

But I doubt it.