Earlier this month, the North Dakota Dem.-NPL part elected State Representative Kylie Oversen party Chair. Oversen, who serves a Grand Forks area district, is currently in her first term. When not serving in Bismarck, Oversen is a law student at UND and has previously worked at the UND Alumni Association and Foundation and is the past Student Body President at UND. She is 26 years old, which I am willing to bet makes her the youngest part Chair in the nation.
Needless to say, her appointment has turned a few heads, and my hope is we continue to talk about her. Rep. Oversen is the exact type of leader the North Dakota Dem-NPL party needs.
To start with, the Dem.-NPL party has proven that promoting party elders to the position does not work. When I was more active in party politics a few years back, I quickly grew frustrated with the actions of the party elders. Many of these elders were holdovers from the George Sinner administration and seemed committed to running 1980’s type campaigns. That system is broken and should be left behind.
In addition, while the party was committed to winning US House and Senate elections, they seemed disinterested in building for the future of the party and developing a bench of future candidates.
The election of Rep. Oversen signifies a significant change in that direction. Over the past few years, the party has been much more dedicated to finding and training the future of the party. Rep. Oversen is a result of these efforts, and now her job is to help build more leaders.
Second Rep. Oversen being young can help bring the party into the 21st century. The Dem-NPL party has been slow to embrace internet based messages. There is no better example than logging on to their website today; I found an article on their front page promoting the tax plan of Jason Astrup, the formerly endorsed candidate for Tax Commissioner. The article was dated 10/21/14.
It is unacceptable that four months after the election, and in the middle of a Legislative session, a minority political party is still showcasing postings on their website promoting candidates who lost.
Every day in Bismarck important issues are being debated that Democrats support, and every day Republicans are doing things to embarrass themselves and their party. (Dwight Kiefert I’m looking at you). Yet our party website is doing nothing to get the message out.
Finally, identity politics do matter. Many on the right are convinced that Rep. Oversen only got her appointment because she is young and female. However, she got her job because she is young, female, and extraordinarily talented. Those who have worked closely with Rep. Oversen know that she is very bright, passionate, and personable. She is the kind of person who people want to be around. Her charisma can help to create a new identity for the Dem-NPL party.
We need that, and I am truly excited to see Rep. Oversen go to work on improving the image of our party.
In closing, welcome to big time politics Rep. Oversen. Remember, the only thing worse than “them” talking bad about you is them not talking about you at all. We’ve had enough of that in the Dem-NPL. We needed a change, and I am glad you are that part of that change.