Plain Talk: North Dakota Farmers Union president speaks out against term limits proposal


MINOT, N.D. — Last week North Dakota’s two largest agriculture groups, the North Dakota Farm Bureau and the North Dakota Farmers Union, came out against a term limits proposal that’s on the statewide ballot.

On this episode of Plain Talk the president of one of those groups, Mark Watne from the NDFU, joined to discuss why his group is opposed to the proposal.

Watne argued that it would diminish the amount of experience and seniority in the legislature, leaving the state’s law-writing body more susceptible to influence from lobbyists and the bureaucracy. He also noted that in some complex areas of policy-making, arriving at the right decision for the state can be the work of multiple legislative sessions.

An example he cited was the tension between farmers and ranchers and the hunters who want to access their lands. State officials have grappled with that divide between hunting interests and property rights for years, with several key lawmakers working closely with both sides to find an accord.

If we had term limits, some of the lawmakers working on the issue might have left office before they had a chance to see the issue through to the end.

Watne also said his organization has opposed term limits for some time, and that the position comes from the group’s rank-and-file membership which includes farmers from around the state.

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