Plain Talk: Supt. Baesler Says She’ll Plead Guilty to Any Charges Stemming From Arrest, Regrets Refusing Sobriety Tests


North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler announces the gathering of a task force to look into future options the state has for the assessment of students during a press conference on 5-8-2015 at the state Capitol in Bismarck.

A week ago Superintendent Kirsten Baesler was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. On today’s episode of Plain Talk she talks about how she came to be arrested, why she refused to take sobriety tests, what she’s seeking in terms of treatment and counseling, and why North Dakota voters should give her another four years in office despite this incident.

First off, Baesler made it clear she’s not resigning and she will continue her re-election campaign.

As for the incident, Baesler said she drank three “craft beers” while at a Bismarck restaurant with a colleague and was talking on her phone when the law enforcement officer stopped her. The officer told her she had crossed the fog line on the road multiple times.

“In hindsight that’s something I wish I hadn’t refused,” Baesler said when asked why she didn’t take a breathalyzer or blood test (she says she did agree to a field sobriety test). She says she was “confused” about what the officer was asking her to do, and knows little about DUI laws. She denied that the alcohol she consumed contributed to this confusion.

She said she has reached out to an organization for input on treatment, and has been told that outpatient therapy is what is needed. She says her desire for help is real and not politically motivated. “I would never use this for a public or political reason,” Baesler told me, adding that she doesn’t know if she’s an alcoholic.

Baesler does believe she’ll have to work less while she seeks treatment. “I believe I’ll be able to come to work Monday through Friday,” she said, but added she may need to cut down on her weekly workload to 50 hours or less.

Asked if she plans to continue drinking, Baesler said “it’s not something that’s a part of my life now.”

What would she tell students who are hearing about her arrest? She would tell them to take responsibility. “You don’t shy away,” Baesler said. “Don’t let yourself get swallowed up in the shame of this.”

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