I, along with many other political observers, were surprised when Democrat Agriculture Commission candidate Ryan Taylor came out against Measure 5. He did so during a debate with Republican incumbent Doug Goehring, and many saw it as an unexpected move from Taylor who is seen as something of an ideologue when it comes to energy and environmental matters.
But it turns out that before the debate Taylor refused to answer the question when the Grand Forks Herald editorial board ask him about it. Herald publisher Korrie Wenzel wrote about it today:
Eventually, the discussion with Taylor on Oct. 3 turned to another issue on the upcoming ballot: Measure 5, which, if passed by voters, will stockpile a percentage of the state oil extraction tax and then spend millions of dollars annually for the sake of conservation.
After earlier discussing what he called a “failure of leadership” by the current ag commissioner — Goehring — Taylor wouldn’t tell us how he planned to vote on Measure 5.
“I’m not making my personal position public on that,” he said. “I think, again, that’s a sort of leadership issue. This is going to very contentious, and when that measure is settled Nov. 4, we will want an ag commissioner who can bring both ag and conservation (sides) together.”
So when Taylor was first asked about Measure 5 he was evasive about his position. But clearly, when it became obvious that the question wasn’t going away, he came out against the measure.
Reluctantly. He said he was “not here to kick the conservation folks in the shins on this issue.”
Or, put another way, Taylor was acknowledging that he’s just taking this position so he can get elected.
That’s ironic given the attack ads Taylor is currently running against Goehring, questioning his leadership.
“He’ll bring integrity back as Ag Commissioner,” Taylor’s most recent television ad says.
He could start by being honest about his positions.