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North Dakota Lawmakers: All Hat and No Cattle

Editorial | January 18th, 2023

By Sabrina Hornung

sabrina@hpr1.com

Our opinion: The sound of ND collectively holding its breath

As the legislative session nears one may notice a certain stillness in the air as a good part of North Dakota’s population collectively holds their breath.

There’s a lot at stake this session as women CONTINUE to fight for their bodily autonomy and to be viewed as more than a brood sow by our state. If women get pregnant it’s “God’s will,” if men become impotent Viagra can be discreetly shipped to your home, and heck, Insurance will even cover it. What about “God’s will” on that topic? Maybe our Gods are different, because I sure think that the decisions I make regarding my body are just as important as any man’s, in fact I was just thinking about that as a friend of mine was showing me how to castrate a steer last week.

Trans lives are at stake this session as SB 2199 and HB1254 are introduced. One collectively removes trans people from any legal acknowledgement and the other seeks immediate action to cease care for trans youth.

For a party that rallies for “less government” they certainly like to regulate our bodies, dictate how we handle them, dictate which bathrooms we use, and dictate how we express ourselves.

It’s tragic that my trans friends reach out to me wondering if trans hate crimes will still be considered hate crimes if any of these bills pass. It breaks my heart that a couple of brave Fargo trans-women have created a non profit for trans folks to seek asylum on friendlier turf due to LGBTQIA hate being on the rise in America. Their organization TRANSport has gained NATIONAL attention.

Hello North Dakota are you there? Please pick up– please WAKE up. Why are you actively discriminating against your own citizens? Is it any wonder young people are moving out of our state at an alarming rate?

As a woman I rarely make stops after dark when I’m on the road but some of the anti-LGBTQIA language and attitudes I’ve encountered while out and about genuinely scare me. The amount of ignorance and propaganda spewed out by certain conservative news sources and religious leaders is appalling.

Sharing how you would like to be addressed, self expression, showing affection, and merely existing isn’t shoving anything down anyone’s throat. Think of this next time you hold hands in public, introduce yourself, or even just dress yourself in the morning.

A couple of my older LGBT friends have shared stories with me about hate they endured in the 70s. Have we really regressed 50 years? How did this happen?

Theodore Roosevelt would be rolling in his grave

I worry about my friends and I worry about the future of North Dakota. I worry about my friends who continue to vote for people who are against their best interest.

I worry about the fate of rural North Dakota as our anti-corporate farming law is threatened yet again. The ag industry is rural North Dakota’s lifeblood. If corporate farming gets greenlighted this place will be a ghost town. Livelihoods and communities are at stake.

Sure, there are corporations among the family farms in ND, but at least they don't have to compete with Bill Gates and China for land and market prices. I've heard from a number of people, who are farmers, who come from generations of farmers, that if that goes through they're done; this is the end of the line because they can't compete.

Why aren’t there more incentives and opportunities for more young producers to jump in the game? Why aren’t we encouraging the passing of the torch instead of opening the floodgates and drowning ourselves in the process?

Another friend of mine mentioned that after driving in Downtown Fargo they noticed a number of RDO signs and got to thinking, what’s the connection– is there a connection? Why is Burgum all of a sudden so interested in getting rid of a depression era law designed to protect North Dakota farmers from opportunistic corporate entities preying on the misfortune brought on by the great depression?

After a quick google search an article from Forbes popped up, “The sultan of spuds,” dated May 19, 1997, celebrating the success and wealth accumulated by Ron Offutt. North Dakota Agribusiness leader, philanthropist and America’s largest potato producer, and years later RDO and Burgum’s very own Kilbourne group would partner in Downtown Fargo.

"Why the anonymity? The burly, cowboy-booted Offutt says he doesn't want to stir up envy. Besides, anti corporate farming laws and other vestiges of populism still exist in the Great Plains states. Offutt skirts that problem by not incorporating his farm division. He also spreads his acreage over ten states and leases or swaps about half of his land. This helps him camouflage his holdings and gives him a hedge against disastrous weather like the floods that recently turned patches of North Dakota into the ice-age lakes they used to be."

Is this another reason Burgum is so adamant about repealing this law? Why are you working for your billionaire buds, Doug? Why aren’t you working for the people who voted for you and TRUSTED you to work for their wellbeing?

For someone who claims to be so fascinated by Theodore Roosevelt, Burgum should know that Roosevelt gained a reputation as a trust buster. For standing up for the little guy and for breaking up corporations. Sure you can throw Teddy’s name around, speak of his legacy and get your billionaire pals to throw their money around too, what’s another tax write off anyway? You’re all hat and no cattle, Governor Burgum, and I have a feeling that if Teddy knew what you were doing to our state he’d be rolling in his grave and I KNOW I’m not the only one disappointed by you.



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