Saturday, September 30, 2006

North Dakota voting systems thoroughly tested and reliable

ConradI hope you will take the time to read this Letter to the Editor from Cass County Auditor Mike Montplaisir that appeared in today's Fargo Forum.

Seems that once again Kristin Hedger's attacks are off the mark. Nothing new there.

North Dakota voting systems thoroughly tested and reliable
By Michael Montplaisir
Saturday, September 30, 2006

machines,” published Thursday, Sept. 21, in The Forum, I feel it is my duty as an election official in North Dakota and as a member of the committee responsible for selecting the election equipment used in North Dakota, to correct any existing misconceptions.

Since the passage of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), a number of people have been involved in planning the future of elections in the state. In 2003, the Legislature passed legislation accommodating the provisions of HAVA. Shortly thereafter, a statewide planning committee, which included representation from no fewer than 13 interest groups and private citizens, prepared a State Plan for HAVA compliance, which was reviewed and approved by the federal government.

With the state’s plan in place, a statewide election equipment procurement committee researched equipment options and proposals and hammered out contract details for new election equipment for the state. Before any equipment was implemented, the equipment was tested, certified and accepted by the state, and extensive training was provided for the state’s 53 county auditors and their staff.

Through all of this, North Dakota’s county auditors have been very active and have received the best possible support and training from the secretary of state and his staff.

By law, the counties test the software and equipment publicly prior to every election, and North Dakota has proactively addressed any potential election day issues by providing every county in the state “back-up” equipment ready to use if needed. Cass County has been using election equipment from Election Systems & Software (ES&S) of Omaha, Neb. since 1984, and during that time, there have been numerous recounts on close races…and there has never been a problem with the results on the equipment.

Cass County and all North Dakota voters are secure in knowing their counties and the state are continually working to ensure every vote counts.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Matt Mechtel Comments on Public Expression of Religion Protection Act

Matt Mechtel, Republican candidate for Congress, congratulated the House of Representatives for passing the Public Expressions of Religion Protection Act. The Act would stop judges from awarding fees and legal costs to groups that sue states and local communities about religious and historical monuments.

“The U.S. House of Representatives stood up to the ACLU and other radical groups who are seeking to destroy our nation’s religious and cultural heritage. These groups not only seek to eliminate our religious heritage, but they also profit from liberal judges imposing excessive fees on local government units.”

He said that he disagreed with Congressman Pomeroy’s vote against the bill.

“The Congressman decided to vote with the ACLU and against the interests of North Dakota taxpayers and citizens. I would have voted for it and would have proudly been signed on as a sponsor.”

Mr. Mechtel noted that the American Legion, several major religious organizations, including the Southern Baptist Convention, and other groups, strongly supported the bill.“These extremist groups cherry pick leftwing, activist judges to hear these cases in order to ensure that the lawsuits are successful. I join with the American Legion and other responsible groups who support this legislation and urge the United States Senate to quickly act and pass this bill.”

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Minot Daily News: Tax Commissioner - Implementing Property Tax Plan Will be Simple

Tax commissioner: implementing property-tax plan will be simple
Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The owner of a $100,000 house in Minot would save about $242 in property taxes under a Republican plan headed to the 2007 Legislature.

State Tax Commissioner Cory Fong, who assisted in developing the plan, held a news conference Monday in the Ward County Auditor’s Office in Minot to discuss how counties would implement the plan. If passed by the Legislature, the tax relief would affect property-tax bills that go out in December 2007.

Gov. John Hoeven, along with state Sen. Dwight Cook of Mandan and Rep. Wes Belter of Leonard, unveiled a plan last week that provides $116 million for property-tax relief. The plan reduces property taxes by subtracting 10 percent of the bill from residential tax statements and 5 percent from agricultural and commercial tax statements.

Homeowners would get breaks totaling $77 million, businesses $22 million, and farmers and ranchers $17 million over the 2007-09 biennium.

The state would write a check to counties to cover the deductions. County auditors would distribute the appropriate share of the state money to cities, park boards, townships, fire districts and other taxing entities.

“We tried to look for a plan that was simple, fair, easy to implement and, obviously, sustainable going forward,” Fong said. “This is meaningful, and it has impact.”

To read the full story visit

Sunday, September 24, 2006

When Clinton Attacks.....

If you have not had the opportunity to see President Clinton's meltdown about failing to deal with Bin Laden on Fox News click here

It is hard to believe that President Clinton attacks President George W. Bush for failing to get Bin Laden in the first eight months of his Presidency when Clinton could not get the job done during his eight years in office.

Minot Daily News: Hoeven Property Tax Cut - "a great plan"

Minot Daily News

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Using surplus wisely

We support Gov. John Hoeven’s plan for North Dakota homeowners to get a 10 percent cut on their property taxes for each of the next two years, a plan that would cost the state $116 million over two years.
The plan is simple: County tax officials will calculate property taxes as they normally do, then simply reduce the tax by 10 percent. Owners of farm land and commercial property would get a 5 percent cut in their tax bills.
Opponents of the plan say the Hoeven administration has had the opportunity to push such an initiative before, but waited until two months before the election to announce the plan. Other Democrats say the plan doesn’t go far enough, that the plan doesn’t offer anything new for education funding.Certainly the timing of the announcement could be criticized, but saving such plans for election time isn’t anything new. The average citizen doesn’t care when the plan is rolled out – they’re just happy that property taxes would be cut 10 percent for the next two years.
With a projected budget surplus of more than $500 million, North Dakota is sitting pretty well right now. The obvious goal is to use that money in ways to best help everyone, including property tax relief and education funding. Hoeven says the property tax initiative won’t change his plan to push lawmakers to increase state aid to schools by at least $60 million over the next two years.
If the state can spend some of the surplus on property tax relief, some on education funding and save some for a time when we may not have a surplus, that makes sense to us. This sounds like a great plan.

Fong Proposes Clear Plan for Property Tax Relief

I hope you will take the time to read this Letter to the Editor from today's Bismarck Tribune.

While his opponent just talks, Cory Fong has put forward a plan to reduce property taxes.

Cory Fong is getting the job done as Tax Commissioner

Bismarck Tribune

Tax relief plan fair, sustainable


North Dakota is in the midst of an economic resurgence. Virtually every business sector is growing. Despite the drought’s impact on agriculture, North Dakota’s economy is expected to grow for years to come.

As a result of the strong economy and sound fiscal management, North Dakota has the resources to invest in our priorities like job creation, education and caring for our elderly, without raising taxes. We are in a position to provide, for the first time, direct property tax relief for our families, seniors, farmers and small businesses.

Since being appointed tax commissioner just over a year ago, I have spent a great deal of time and energy working with the governor’s office and legislative leadership to develop a property tax relief plan. I made the issue the centerpiece of my speech at this year’s North Dakota Republican Convention in April.

On Tuesday, we unveiled the fruits of our effort. Our plan will provide for direct property tax relief. It’s not just more government spending with the hope that it trickles down and lowers property taxes, but direct property tax relief that is fair, easy to understand and implement, maintains local control and is sustainable without future state sales or income tax increases.

Our plan provides $116 million in direct property tax relief to the people of North Dakota through a 10 percent reduction in residential property taxes and 5 percent reduction in agricultural and commercial property taxes. The amount of the relief will be subtracted from your county’s annual property tax bill, and the state will reimburse the county for the amount of your property tax relief.

For example, a homeowner with a $120,000 home will get an average of $217 credited a year on their property tax bill. The owner of a 1,300-acre farm or ranch will get an average of $372 credited. And a business owner with a $300,000 commercial property will get an average of $300 credited.

In addition to the efficient, effective management of our agencies, the No. 1 job for all elected officials must still be the creation of more well-paying jobs. With those jobs will come an even stronger economy and more money to invest in our priorities, including much needed property tax relief.

As tax commissioner, I am working hard every day to make North Dakota an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.

(Fong is running for election as tax commissioner in the November election. — Editor)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Hedger Campaign Full of Hot Air

Forum Editorial: Candidate needs to check facts

The Forum - 09/22/2006

The latest blast of hot air from the Democratic-NPL candidate for North Dakota secretary of state is more politics than policy. Kristin Hedger, who has been trying mightily to discredit the work of incumbent Republican Secretary of State Al Jaeger, lobbed more charges at Jaeger this week, none of which stand up to a fact check.

First, she said the secretary of state’s office “outsources” vote counting. Clever use of words, but a tad dishonest. “Outsourcing” is one of those hot-button terms designed to get attention. But in the context in which Hedger used it, it’s a misrepresentation of how Jaeger’s office has improved vote counting across the state in concert with county auditors.

North Dakota’s vote-counting systems were purchased from the Nebraska firm ES&S. The company won the work by competitive bidding, and its technology was vigorously tested. As with any new technology, there was a glitch or two, but nothing approaching the “hundreds of failures” Hedger suggests.

By the way, ES&S is a reliable company that has provided voting technology to the state for years – before 1993 when Jaeger was elected. His predecessor was a Democrat.

If you would like to read the rest of the editorial please visit:

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mechtel Hails House Vote to Ensure 'Safe Borders and Safe Ballot Boxes"

Matt Mechtel, Republican candidate for Congress, hailed the vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to require prospective voters to show proof of citizenship in order to vote.

“This vote shows that the Republicans in Congress are serious about keeping illegal aliens out of the voting booth. Voting is a basic right, reserved for citizens of this country.”

Mr. Mechtel noted that the Democrats in the House of Representatives strongly opposed stopping illegal aliens from voting. One of their stated objections was that this might suppress the vote.“Democrats know a great deal about suppressing the vote.

For a century, Democrats in the South suppressed the black vote. As late as 1964, Democrats were fighting against allowing blacks to vote. Led by Al Gore, Senior and Robert Byrd, they filibustered the Voting Rights Amendment. So, they know, full well, that yesterday’s vote had nothing to do with stopping qualified citizens from voting.”

He said that the Democrats’ opposition to stopping illegal aliens from voting is consistent with their opposition to securing our borders. “Democrats have shown that they do not want to secure our borders or our ballot boxes. The American people want, as Congressman John Mica says, safe borders and safe ballot boxes.”

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Poolman Protects Consumers

Issues Cease and Desist Against Fargo Insurance Agent
~ Will Proceed to Revoke Insurance License ~

Bismarck, ND – Insurance Commissioner Jim Poolman today issued a cease and desist order against David A. Skjerven, a Fargo insurance agent, who has allegedly been involved in a Ponzi scheme that has defrauded individuals in the Fargo area. The order bars Skjerven from engaging in the business of insurance.

The order has been issued as a result of Skjerven borrowing money from previous or current insurance clients and failing to repay money. State law prohibits a licensed insurance agent from soliciting or accepting a loan from any person with whom the agent has had an insurance relationship within the last ten years. It is alleged that Skjerven borrowed more than $2 million from clients.

Poolman said, "By taking this action today, I am working to ensure that insurance consumers are not harmed further by Skjerven and his illegal actions."

In a separate administrative proceeding, Poolman will move to permanently revoke the license of Skjerven. Skjerven has a right to request an administrative hearing on both the cease and desist order and the administrative complaint within 30 days of issuance.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Republicans Lead the Way on Reducing Property Taxes


BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. John Hoeven was joined by Sen. Dwight Cook and Rep. Wes Belter today to announce a $116 million property tax cut plan for North Dakota property owners. The plan would provide tax relief for residential property in the amount of 10 percent, for agricultural property in the amount of 5 percent, and for commercial property in the amount of 5 percent. This means over the next biennium North Dakota homeowners would receive $77 million, businesses would receive $22 million, and farmers and ranchers would receive $17 million in property tax relief, according to Hoeven.

Examples of average annual saving for various properties under the tax relief plan would be as follow:

House valued at $100,000 – $180.00 ·
House valued at $200,000 – $361.00 ·
Farm or ranch– $183 (average per section) ·
Commercial property valued at $150,000 – $150.00 ·
Commercial property valued at $300,000 – $300.00

“In addition, we have pledged at least $60 million in new funding to K-12 education, which will also help take the pressure off property taxes,” Hoeven said. “Between our property tax relief plan and our additional funding for K-12 education, we are bringing more than $175 million to reduce the burden of property taxes on our citizens. Our commitment to create a good business climate, and our aggressive economic development efforts, are building a growing economy, which makes this kind of tax relief possible.”

“In light of North Dakota’s strong economy and revenue growth, we are in a good position to provide property tax relief to our citizens,” said Rep. Belter. “This plan is an equitable way we can return some of those revenues to the people of North Dakota.” Belter is the chairman of the House Finance and Taxation Committee and will be the primary sponsor of the legislation in the House of Representatives.

“Property taxes are clearly the greatest tax concern of North Dakotans,” said Sen. Cook. “I welcome the Governor’s leadership and help in getting sound and meaningful tax relief passed in the next legislative session.” Cook is a member of the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee, and will be the primary sponsor of the legislation in the Senate.

Also joining the group was Tax Commissioner Cory Fong, who assisted in developing the plan.
“We worked together to develop a plan that is fair, simple, and sustainable without a tax increase,” Fong said. “Most importantly, this plan results in direct relief to the property owner, and is easy to implement.”

Hoeven and the legislators said direct relief would be calculated by county and dispersed by the state. The property tax relief deduction would be shown on property owners’ annual property tax statements. Funding for the plan will come from recurring revenue sources currently accumulating in the state’s reserve funds, which are projected to sustain growth even with property tax relief funding in place.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

North Dakota's Economy Continues to Grow!

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. John Hoeven and Jerry Thomsen, President of Trail King Industries, Inc., today announced company plans to construct a 160,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in West Fargo, North Dakota.

Trail King’s current operations in West Fargo employ a workforce of 150 people. Production in the new facility is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2007 and plans include increasing the workforce in West Fargo to 225 employees within the next two years, and up to 300 over the next five years. Trail King is a wholly owned subsidiary of Carlisle Companies Incorporated (NYSE:CSL).

“Trail King’s decision to expand in West Fargo is a testament to North Dakota’s outstanding business climate and a compliment to our remarkable workforce,” Hoeven said. “At the same time, it is a tribute to the vision and energy of the company’s officials, who have made this company a real success story, not only in North Dakota, but across America.”

“I am extremely excited to announce Trail King’s plans to expand in West Fargo,” said Jerry Thomsen, President of Trail King Industries. “Announcing plans to build new facilities is always exciting, of course, but even more important is the opportunity this provides to add to our already strong team of employees in the Fargo area.”

“After all, our decision to expand in West Fargo is based on people,” Thomsen continued. “It is based on our confidence in the great group of employees who are already part of the Trail King team here. It is based on our recognition of a talented, industrious, and available workforce in this area. And, it is based on a lot of talented, hard-working people from Trail King Industries, the West Fargo Development Corporation, and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development all working together to make this project a reality.”

“What this points out is that when the state and city work together, much can be accomplished for our citizens,” said West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern. “This is a great example of how well that strategy succeeds.”

Trail King manufactures a complete line of open deck and materials hauling trailers at its plants in Mitchell, SD; West Fargo, ND; and Brookville, PA. Trail King is owned by Carlisle Companies, Inc., which is based in Charlotte, NC, employing over 11,000 people in 9 operating companies around the world. Carlisle stock is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CSL.

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Dwight Grotberg "Senator Offers No Fixes"

I wanted to make sure you saw the guest editorial by Republican US Senate Candidate Dwight Grotberg in today's Fargo Forum.

Senator offers no fixes
By Dwight Grotberg
Published Sunday, September 17, 2006

Recently, my opponent, Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., expressed his fears about the federal debt and deficit. As the ranking member of the Budget Committee, as well as a senior member of the Finance Committee, I expected to see him address his concerns with ideas of how to fix them. Instead, I found his opinion piece (Forum, Aug. 29) to be a one-sided look at the economic policies of our current administration. He painted a bleak picture of our current deficit and debt and how they threaten our nation’s long-term security.

While I agree that debt is a risk, not presenting the other side of the balance sheet is far more dangerous in that we will make economic decisions that aren’t based on the whole picture. What Conrad chooses to ignore is the income side of our national economy and the story history tells of the economic policy of a nation at war.

To read the rest of the editorial please visit:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

President Bush Addresses the Nation

If you did not get a chance to listen to President Bush's speech last evening, I have posted it here for you to read.

THE PRESIDENT: “Good evening. Five years ago, this date -- September the 11th -- was seared into America's memory. Nineteen men attacked us with a barbarity unequaled in our history. They murdered people of all colors, creeds, and nationalities -- and made war upon the entire free world. Since that day, America and her allies have taken the offensive in a war unlike any we have fought before. Today, we are safer, but we are not yet safe. On this solemn night, I've asked for some of your time to discuss the nature of the threat still before us, what we are doing to protect our nation, and the building of a more hopeful Middle East that holds the key to peace for America and the world.

On 9/11, our nation saw the face of evil. Yet on that awful day, we also witnessed something distinctly American: ordinary citizens rising to the occasion, and responding with extraordinary acts of courage. We saw courage in office workers who were trapped on the high floors of burning skyscrapers -- and called home so that their last words to their families would be of comfort and love. We saw courage in passengers aboard Flight 93, who recited the 23rd Psalm -- and then charged the cockpit. And we saw courage in the Pentagon staff who made it out of the flames and smoke -- and ran back in to answer cries for help. On this day, we remember the innocent who lost their lives -- and we pay tribute to those who gave their lives so that others might live.

For many of our citizens, the wounds of that morning are still fresh. I've met firefighters and police officers who choke up at the memory of fallen comrades. I've stood with families gathered on a grassy field in Pennsylvania, who take bittersweet pride in loved ones who refused to be victims -- and gave America our first victory in the war on terror. I've sat beside young mothers with children who are now five years old -- and still long for the daddies who will never cradle them in their arms. Out of this suffering, we resolve to honor every man and woman lost. And we seek their lasting memorial in a safer and more hopeful world.

Since the horror of 9/11, we've learned a great deal about the enemy. We have learned that they are evil and kill without mercy -- but not without purpose. We have learned that they form a global network of extremists who are driven by a perverted vision of Islam -- a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance, and despises all dissent. And we have learned that their goal is to build a radical Islamic empire where women are prisoners in their homes, men are beaten for missing prayer meetings, and terrorists have a safe haven to plan and launch attacks on America and other civilized nations. The war against this enemy is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century, and the calling of our generation.

Our nation is being tested in a way that we have not been since the start of the Cold War. We saw what a handful of our enemies can do with box-cutters and plane tickets. We hear their threats to launch even more terrible attacks on our people. And we know that if they were able to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction, they would use them against us. We face an enemy determined to bring death and suffering into our homes. America did not ask for this war, and every American wishes it were over. So do I. But the war is not over -- and it will not be over until either we or the extremists emerge victorious. If we do not defeat these enemies now, we will leave our children to face a Middle East overrun by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons. We are in a war that will set the course for this new century -- and determine the destiny of millions across the world.

For America, 9/11 was more than a tragedy -- it changed the way we look at the world. On September the 11th, we resolved that we would go on the offense against our enemies, and we would not distinguish between the terrorists and those who harbor or support them. So we helped drive the Taliban from power in Afghanistan. We put al Qaeda on the run, and killed or captured most of those who planned the 9/11 attacks, including the man believed to be the mastermind, Khalid Sheik Mohammed. He and other suspected terrorists have been questioned by the Central Intelligence Agency, and they provided valuable information that has helped stop attacks in America and across the world. Now these men have been transferred to Guantanamo Bay, so they can be held to account for their actions. Osama bin Laden and other terrorists are still in hiding. Our message to them is clear: No matter how long it takes, America will find you, and we will bring you to justice.

On September the 11th, we learned that America must confront threats before they reach our shores, whether those threats come from terrorist networks or terrorist states. I'm often asked why we're in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The answer is that the regime of Saddam Hussein was a clear threat. My administration, the Congress, and the United Nations saw the threat -- and after 9/11, Saddam's regime posed a risk that the world could not afford to take. The world is safer because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power. And now the challenge is to help the Iraqi people build a democracy that fulfills the dreams of the nearly 12 million Iraqis who came out to vote in free elections last December.

Al Qaeda and other extremists from across the world have come to Iraq to stop the rise of a free society in the heart of the Middle East. They have joined the remnants of Saddam's regime and other armed groups to foment sectarian violence and drive us out. Our enemies in Iraq are tough and they are committed -- but so are Iraqi and coalition forces. We're adapting to stay ahead of the enemy, and we are carrying out a clear plan to ensure that a democratic Iraq succeeds.

We're training Iraqi troops so they can defend their nation. We're helping Iraq's unity government grow in strength and serve its people. We will not leave until this work is done. Whatever mistakes have been made in Iraq, the worst mistake would be to think that if we pulled out, the terrorists would leave us alone. They will not leave us alone. They will follow us. The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad. Osama bin Laden calls this fight "the Third World War" -- and he says that victory for the terrorists in Iraq will mean America's "defeat and disgrace forever." If we yield Iraq to men like bin Laden, our enemies will be emboldened; they will gain a new safe haven; they will use Iraq's resources to fuel their extremist movement. We will not allow this to happen. America will stay in the fight. Iraq will be a free nation, and a strong ally in the war on terror.

We can be confident that our coalition will succeed because the Iraqi people have been steadfast in the face of unspeakable violence. And we can be confident in victory because of the skill and resolve of America's Armed Forces. Every one of our troops is a volunteer, and since the attacks of September the 11th, more than 1.6 million Americans have stepped forward to put on our nation's uniform. In Iraq, Afghanistan, and other fronts in the war on terror, the men and women of our military are making great sacrifices to keep us safe. Some have suffered terrible injuries -- and nearly 3,000 have given their lives. America cherishes their memory. We pray for their families. And we will never back down from the work they have begun.

We also honor those who toil day and night to keep our homeland safe, and we are giving them the tools they need to protect our people. We've created the Department of Homeland Security. We have torn down the wall that kept law enforcement and intelligence from sharing information. We've tightened security at our airports and seaports and borders, and we've created new programs to monitor enemy bank records and phone calls. Thanks to the hard work of our law enforcement and intelligence professionals, we have broken up terrorist cells in our midst and saved American lives.

Five years after 9/11, our enemies have not succeeded in launching another attack on our soil, but they've not been idle. Al Qaeda and those inspired by its hateful ideology have carried out terrorist attacks in more than two dozen nations. And just last month, they were foiled in a plot to blow up passenger planes headed for the United States. They remain determined to attack America and kill our citizens -- and we are determined to stop them. We'll continue to give the men and women who protect us every resource and legal authority they need to do their jobs.

In the first days after the 9/11 attacks I promised to use every element of national power to fight the terrorists, wherever we find them. One of the strongest weapons in our arsenal is the power of freedom. The terrorists fear freedom as much as they do our firepower. They are thrown into panic at the sight of an old man pulling the election lever, girls enrolling in schools, or families worshiping God in their own traditions. They know that given a choice, people will choose freedom over their extremist ideology. So their answer is to deny people this choice by raging against the forces of freedom and moderation. This struggle has been called a clash of civilizations. In truth, it is a struggle for civilization. We are fighting to maintain the way of life enjoyed by free nations. And we're fighting for the possibility that good and decent people across the Middle East can raise up societies based on freedom and tolerance and personal dignity.

We are now in the early hours of this struggle between tyranny and freedom. Amid the violence, some question whether the people of the Middle East want their freedom, and whether the forces of moderation can prevail. For 60 years, these doubts guided our policies in the Middle East. And then, on a bright September morning, it became clear that the calm we saw in the Middle East was only a mirage. Years of pursuing stability to promote peace had left us with neither. So we changed our policies, and committed America's influence in the world to advancing freedom and democracy as the great alternatives to repression and radicalism.

With our help, the people of the Middle East are now stepping forward to claim their freedom. From Kabul to Baghdad to Beirut, there are brave men and women risking their lives each day for the same freedoms that we enjoy. And they have one question for us: Do we have the confidence to do in the Middle East what our fathers and grandfathers accomplished in Europe and Asia? By standing with democratic leaders and reformers, by giving voice to the hopes of decent men and women, we're offering a path away from radicalism. And we are enlisting the most powerful force for peace and moderation in the Middle East: the desire of millions to be free.

Across the broader Middle East, the extremists are fighting to prevent such a future. Yet America has confronted evil before, and we have defeated it -- sometimes at the cost of thousands of good men in a single battle. When Franklin Roosevelt vowed to defeat two enemies across two oceans, he could not have foreseen D-Day and Iwo Jima -- but he would not have been surprised at the outcome. When Harry Truman promised American support for free peoples resisting Soviet aggression, he could not have foreseen the rise of the Berlin Wall -- but he would not have been surprised to see it brought down. Throughout our history, America has seen liberty challenged, and every time, we have seen liberty triumph with sacrifice and determination.
At the start of this young century, America looks to the day when the people of the Middle East leave the desert of despotism for the fertile gardens of liberty, and resume their rightful place in a world of peace and prosperity. We look to the day when the nations of that region recognize their greatest resource is not the oil in the ground, but the talent and creativity of their people. We look to the day when moms and dads throughout the Middle East see a future of hope and opportunity for their children. And when that good day comes, the clouds of war will part, the appeal of radicalism will decline, and we will leave our children with a better and safer world.
On this solemn anniversary, we rededicate ourselves to this cause. Our nation has endured trials, and we face a difficult road ahead. Winning this war will require the determined efforts of a unified country, and we must put aside our differences and work together to meet the test that history has given us. We will defeat our enemies. We will protect our people. And we will lead the 21st century into a shining age of human liberty.
Earlier this year, I traveled to the United States Military Academy. I was there to deliver the commencement address to the first class to arrive at West Point after the attacks of September the 11th. That day I met a proud mom named RoseEllen Dowdell. She was there to watch her son, Patrick, accept his commission in the finest Army the world has ever known. A few weeks earlier, RoseEllen had watched her other son, James, graduate from the Fire Academy in New York City. On both these days, her thoughts turned to someone who was not there to share the moment: her husband, Kevin Dowdell. Kevin was one of the 343 firefighters who rushed to the burning towers of the World Trade Center on September the 11th -- and never came home. His sons lost their father that day, but not the passion for service he instilled in them. Here is what RoseEllen says about her boys: "As a mother, I cross my fingers and pray all the time for their safety -- but as worried as I am, I'm also proud, and I know their dad would be, too."
Our nation is blessed to have young Americans like these -- and we will need them. Dangerous enemies have declared their intention to destroy our way of life. They're not the first to try, and their fate will be the same as those who tried before. Nine-Eleven showed us why. The attacks were meant to bring us to our knees, and they did, but not in the way the terrorists intended. Americans united in prayer, came to the aid of neighbors in need, and resolved that our enemies would not have the last word. The spirit of our people is the source of America's strength. And we go forward with trust in that spirit, confidence in our purpose, and faith in a loving God who made us to be free.
Thank you, and may God bless you.”

Gov. Hoeven Goes to Washington to Fight for ND's Farmers!

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. John Hoeven is in Washington D.C. today to lobby the Bush administration and members of Congress for a federal agricultural disaster bill. Hoeven is joined by South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds, Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Gene Hugoson and agriculture producers from all three states. The group will be meeting with Hunter Moorhead, Agriculture Advisor to President Bush, as well as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns. Hoeven and Rounds will also lobby Congress.

“We are combining our efforts with other drought affected states to push for targeted drought relief for our farmers and ranchers,” Hoeven said. “Twenty other states have now joined our efforts supporting a disaster bill this year. It is important that we get assistance for our producers, and we will keep working for a disaster assistance package.”

Hoeven is also asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to partner with the North Dakota Trade Office by providing one dedicated Foreign Agriculture Service Officer in North Dakota. The new position would work with the Trade Office in expanding trade volume by identifying additional markets in as well as providing assistance with transportation issues.

While in Washington, Hoeven is covering other issues as well. He will meet with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works George Dunlop to discuss Missouri River water issues. Hoeven wants additional drought conservation measures to keep more water in the upper Missouri River basin reservoirs.

On Wednesday, Hoeven will meet with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Stephen Johnson regarding North Dakota’s state implementation plan for the energy industry. Hoeven is working with EPA to finalize their approval of North Dakota modeling on Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) standards, which is an important regulatory requirement for continued energy growth in the state, along with good environmental stewardship.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Mechtel has a 'big buck' philosophy

I hope you will take the time to read the article from today's Bismarck Tribune about Republican US House Candidate Matt Mechtel. Matt's campaign has really kicked it into high gear over the past month.

I hope you have the opportunity to meet Matt soon as he is going to make a great US Congressman!

Click here to read Matt Mechtel's profile

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Dorgan Works to Cover Up Clinton's Failures to Fight Terrorism

President Clinton and his defenders have driven themselves into a hysterical panic about ABC's movie about 9/11. They have demanded that changes be made to the movie. In fact, North Dakota's own, Senator Byron Dorgan, joined fellow Democrats in signing a letter to ABC demanding changes be made to the movie or it be pulled from the TV schedule.

Dorgan and his fellow Democrats' actions make me wonder if the movie strikes too close to home. Are they just trying to cover up President Clinton's failures in fighting the increasing threat of terrorism in the 1990's?

They are trying to censor a "dramatization". They are issuing a veiled threat to ABC. They are attempting to re-write history. This free society is not being well-served by their actions.

The Democrat's actions remind me of the saying: Where there is smoke ... there is fire.

I wanted to share this post from powerline blog ( that most clearly highlights Clinton's failure to address the growing menace of terrorism during his tenure.

September 07, 2006

Did the Dems Threaten ABC?

The Democrats have gone nuts over the ABC miniseries, The Path to 9/11. But it's a little hard to see why. Maybe it's because Disney and ABC have been reliably pro-Democrat in the past, so the Dems feel betrayed.

Looking at the big picture, though, it's a little hard to see what the Dems are complaining about. I haven't seen the miniseries, but I take it that it doesn't portray the Clinton administration as having taken very effective action against the growing threat from Islamic terrorists. What I don't understand is how the Democrats think they can rewrite history to challenge that characterization.

Click here to read more:

Is Bush to Blame for Falling Gas Prices?

Just a quick thought ...

Senator Conrad, Congressman Pomeroy and the Democrat Party have blamed President Bush for rising gas prices. I was wondering that since gas prices have dropped in North Dakota by between $.50 - $60 over the past three weeks will the Democrats give President Bush credit?

I will not hold my breath.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Hedger campaign little more than political, personal attacks

In case you missed it, I wanted to make sure you saw this letter to the editor that appeared in today's Fargo Forum about the race for Secretary of State.

Your opinion: Hedger campaign little more than political, personal attacks
By Rick Olson - 09/07/2006

Kristin Hedger, the Democratic-NPL-endorsed candidate for North Dakota Secretary of State, has been running a campaign that so far is way short on substance. In her campaign travels throughout the state, Hedger has basically been attacking Republican incumbent Secretary of State Al Jaeger personally, professionally and politically.

What Hedger hasn’t done (like so many Democrats before her and many will after her) is put anything of substance on the table. She has yet to convince the public that she would do a better job at running the secretary of state’s office. She offers no specific examples about how she would go about running the office if she were elected.

She’s put nothing on the table as far as ideas about how the office may be run more efficiently if she were in charge. All she’s doing is whining publicly about a subject of which she has little or no knowledge, other than the misinformation her handlers have undoubtedly been feeding her.
Her latest tirade concerns the requirement that North Dakota voters must produce a driver’s license at the polls when they vote in an election. That is only a half-truth. Further, Hedger has publicly stated that this rule is intended to disenfranchise voters who don’t have a driver’s license. Nothing is further from the truth.

North Dakota does allow for a voter who does not have identification to sign an affidavit under penalties of perjury to declare he or she is legally entitled to vote in a particular precinct.
In addition, North Dakota also allows for alternate means of identification, such as a state-issued non-driver identification card, an Indian Tribal identification card and others. All county auditors have a list of acceptable forms of identification.

The secretary of state’s main duty is the oversight of all matters pertaining to elections in North Dakota. Our state is unique in that it is the only state in the United States that does not have a formal system of voter registration in place and does not require its residents to register to vote. Yet, North Dakota has passed muster many times over with the federal government concerning the state’s election system.

All North Dakota requires is that a voter be at least 18 years of age, be a legal resident of the state and have lived in his or her voting precinct for no fewer than 30 days prior to an election.

The state does have a central list of all eligible voters in the state. So, if North Dakota gets a clean bill of health concerning its election system from the federal government, then what is Hedger’s beef?

She is also using the tired old line that she intends to make the office more “user friendly,” whatever that means. To most people, the secretary of state is strictly a behind-the-scenes official.

The office oversees all matters relative to the receiving and filing of state documents, such as all legislative documents to include all bills and resolutions that have been enacted by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor.

The secretary of state also has the duty of overseeing all statewide initiative, referendum and recall petition drives, as well as the certification of all such measures for the ballot. The office also handles such functions as the commissioning of notary publics in the state.

The secretary of state also serves as the state athletic commissioner and chairs the state boxing commission, which as the name suggests, regulates the sports of professional pugilism (boxing) and wrestling events in the state.

Jaeger gets my vote for re-election. Jaeger is running the secretary of state’s office in a most efficient and professional manner. In my opinion, there is no need for change. Hedger, a person who has absolutely no experience, is seeking to defeat Jaeger and in turn take control of this very important office.

Olson is from Fargo and describes himself as a casual political observer.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Hoeven Packs the House in Williston

Last night was one of the best nights I have had as Executive Director of the North Dakota Republican Party. I had the honor of attending the District One Republican Party Campaign Kick Off in Williston. You could not have asked for a more beautiful venue then Spring Lake Park. It is one of North Dakota's hidden treasures.

I got to see many old friends like former District One GOP Chair Jackie Williams and longtime GOP activist Dean Winkjer.

District One GOP Chair Bobbie Glodt told me that they had almost 175 people in attendance at the event. Way to go District One!

The crowd enjoyed rousing speeches from Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Tax Commissioner Cory Fong, Ag Commissioner Candidate Doug Goehring, US Senate Candidate Dwight Grotberg and US House Candidate Matt Mechtel. (If you want to visit the campaign's website please click on the candidate's name)

The main speaker of the evening was Governor John Hoeven. The Governor talked about his plans to keep diversifying and growing our state's economy, increasing aid to education and addressing the issue of property taxes. North Dakota continues to prosper under Governor Hoeven's and Republican leadership.

Let me tell you the excitement of the attendees was amazing. Talking to many of the people there last night, I know they are committed to returning Senator Stan Lyson to the State Senate and sending Pat Hatlestad and Gary Sukut to the State House as well as helping all of our Statewide candidates win Williams County this November.

Many people remarked to me last night that just a few weeks ago, Senator Kent Conrad was in town to headline a fundraiser for the District One Democrat Legislative Candidates and I was told that less than 30 people were in attendance.

I guess we can tell who the people of Williston wanted to see more.

Jason Stverak

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Grotberg offers a 'different perspective'

This past Sunday, the Bismarck Tribune did a profile of Republican US Senate Candidate Dwight Grotberg. I encourage you to read about Dwight, his family and his vision for North Dakota and America. You can read the article by visiting

Dwight's campaign has been criss-crossing the state all summer and making quite an impression on the voters of North Dakota! If you want to join Dwight's campaign and help send a Republican to Washington, I urge you to visit Dwight's website at

Monday, September 04, 2006

President Bush Honors American Work Force on Labor Day

I wanted pass along to the readers of this blog President Bush's Labor Message. I hope you take the time to read the President's comments

Paul Haul Center for Maritime Training and Education Piney Point, Maryland

11:38 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Please be seated. Happy Labor Day.

AUDIENCE: Happy Labor Day.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, thanks. Listen, I'm thrilled that Michael invited me to come and visit with you this Labor Day. But this isn't the first time he invited me. (Laughter.) He invited me for last year, and I committed. And then we had a terrible storm hit, and I hope you understood -- understand why I needed to be there than up here last year.

Now he invited me again. I couldn't wait to say yes, and couldn't wait to come here. I must confess, Michael, I didn't realize how strong your facility -- facilities are here. I wasn't sure what to expect, but this is a fantastic facility. It speaks to your leadership, and the leadership and the importance of your union. And so, here on Labor Day, I say to the union members who are here, happy Labor Day, and thanks for supporting leadership that is progressive, smart, capable, and has your best interests at heart. (Applause.)

I'm proud to be here with the family members. Michael, thanks for inviting family members. As you know, I think family is an important part of life, and that -- invite the family here -- families here today was a smart thing to do. I look forward to shaking as many hands as I can this morning.

Today, on Labor Day, we honor those who work, and we honor those who work because, in so doing, we recognize that one of the reasons why we're the economic leader in the world is because of our work force. And the fundamental question facing the country is, how do we continue to be the economic leader in the world? What do we do to make sure that, when people look around the world next year, and 10 years from now, they say, the United States is still the most powerful economy in the world? I think that's an important goal to have, because when we're the most powerful economy in the world, it means our people benefit. It means there's job opportunities. That's what we want. We want people working. We want people to realize their dreams.

And so the best thing to do is to keep pro-growth economic policies in place as the first step to making sure we're the most powerful economy in the world. And I think that means keeping those taxes low, letting you keep more of your own money. See, when you have more money in your pocket, you get to spend the money. You get to make the decisions. And the fundamental question facing government is, who best to spend your money, you, or the government? I believe you ought to do it. (Applause.)

So we ought to make the tax relief permanent. I like it when people are working for a living, have more after-tax money in their pocket. That's what I like. And I think that ought to be a policy of the United States government. So to make sure that we're the economic leader of the world, we got to keep taxes low.

But we also got to do some other things that's smart, and it starts with making sure our workers have the skills necessary to compete in the 21st century. And that's one of the primary reasons I came to this facility.

Now, I just happened to be over here at the training building, and they put me behind the wheel of a Coast Guard cutter in Baltimore Harbor, and they made the boat rock a little bit. (Laughter.) And I got slightly discombobulated. (Laughter.) It's one of the most amazing training tools I have ever seen. But it shows this union's commitment, along with industry's commitment, to making sure that those who pilot the boats, those who are engineers on the boats, have the absolute best training possible. See, as we constantly -- as the world constantly changes, we better make sure that our work force has the skills necessary to compete if we want to be the world's leading economy.

And so I applaud the Seafarers Union, and I applaud the employers working together to make sure that those who work for a living have what it takes to be competitive. And we got to make sure that's the case throughout all the work force, and we got to make sure that our community colleges are accessible to people who need to gain new skills of the 21st century. See, as the work force stays productive -- in other words, if you keep getting a good education, it increases your standard of living, but also helps this country remain strong economically.

A couple of other things we need to do, as well. We got to do something about energy, in order to make sure that we're competitive, that this economy will remain strong, that people are able to find work. By the way, the unemployment rate is 4.7 percent. That's a good sign for somebody looking for a job. It means people are working here in the United States. (Applause.)

But one things is clear, is that dependence on foreign oil jeopardizes our capacity to grow. I mean, the problem is we get oil from some parts of the world and they simply don't like us. And so the more dependent we are on that type of energy, the less likely it will be that we are able to compete, and so people have good, high-paying jobs.

And so I've got a plan to work with -- to spend money on technologies. See, the technological development here at this school has been dramatic. Well, we can achieve the same technological breakthroughs when it comes to energy. And that starts with how we drive our automobiles. You know, one of these days, you're going to have a -- batteries in your automobile that will enable you to drive the first 40 miles without gasoline, and your car doesn't have to look like a golf cart. (Laughter.) I mean, I bet the people down in this part of the world like to drive pickups, Mike. (Laughter.) But we're going to have a battery that makes those pickups go.
And the reason why is, is that we're spending money to develop new technologies to enable us to become less dependent on oil. And that makes sense. And so, in order to think about how we remain competitive as a nation, we've got to be aggressive in promoting new technologies, particularly on the energy front.

You know, in the Midwest, a lot of people are beginning to fuel their cars with more and more ethanol. Ethanol is derived from corn, so you've got to get out there growing corn; the corn goes into an ethanol plant and out comes fuel to drive the car. That seems to make a lot of sense to me to say, in order to become less dependent on foreign oil why don't we become more reliant upon America's farmers to produce energy for our automobiles? And that's the kind of things we're doing. (Applause.)

You know, we flew over -- coming here, we flew over a nuclear power plant, and it's a modern, safe plant. In my judgment, this country ought to continue to expand nuclear power if we want to become less dependent on foreign sources of energy. Nuclear power is safe; nuclear power is clean; and nuclear power is renewable. And so, what I'm telling you is, and what I want the country to understand is, is that technologies -- technologies has enabled this work force -- this union to have a more productive work force -- technology is going to enable us to become less dependent on oil. And we've got to continue to pursue technologies.

And finally, one of the ways to make sure that we're a competitive nation is to continue opening up markets for U.S. products. If I was somebody who was driving a ship, or an engineer on a ship, I'd want to hear a President say, we want you to be selling U.S. products -- transporting U.S. products around the world. See, we got 5 percent of the world's people here in the United States, which means 95 percent are potential customers. And therefore, it's important for us to be aggressive about opening up markets.

And my message to the world is this: Just treat us the way we treat you. That's all we expect. We just want the rules to be fair -- because I believe this country can compete with anybody, any time, anywhere, so long as the rules are fair. (Applause.) So Mike asked me to come and talk about ways to make sure we're competitive. He said, what you going to do, Mr. President? There you are, things are going okay now, but what about five years from now, what will the world look like? And I hope here are some good ideas for you to think about, about how to make sure that the United States is competitive.

In the meantime, it's important for Presidents to embrace the Jones Act. Sacco was constantly talking to me about that. I have, so far, five-and-a-half years as the President, supported the Jones Act, and will continue to do so as the President. (Applause.)

I can't help but look at a man over there in uniform and think about our military right now on Labor Day. First, thank you for serving. (Applause.) And our soldiers and sailors and Coast Guard men and Marines and Air Force have got to understand this -- that this country supports them in the mission; that they may hear all the political discourse going on, but the people of this country, the people of the United States of America stand squarely behind the men and women who wear our uniform. (Applause.)

And on Labor Day, we think about those who are sacrificing for our freedom and peace, and we think about their families, too.

And so I want to thank you for greeting me. I look forward to coming to say hello to you. I appreciate you taking time out of your day to say hi. I know you're a little disappointed that Laura didn't come. (Laughter.) You probably wish she'd have come and I stayed at home. (Laughter.) But she sends her greetings. God bless you all, and may God continue to bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

END 11:49 A.M. EDT

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Hedger Wrong Again... You Do Not Need a Photo ID to Vote in ND

I was amused to read today's press coverage of Kristin Hedger's latest attack against Secretary of State Al Jaeger. According to Hedger, North Dakota seniors have told her that they cannot vote because they do not have a valid driver's license. Nothing could be further from the truth!

According to the website of the North Dakota Secretary of State ( all of the following are acceptable forms of ID to cast a ballot:

Acceptable forms of identification with residential addresses are:

■ Valid Drivers License

■ Valid State Identification Card

■ Valid Federally Issued Identification Card:
(1) Passport (2) Agency Identification Card

■ Valid Tribal Government Issued Identification Card

■ Valid Student Identification Card

■ Valid United States Military Identification Card

■ Utility bill dated 30 days prior to election day
with name and residential address

■ Change of address verification letter from
the US Postal Service

In fact, if Hedger had done her homework she would have been able to tell these voters that you do not need a Photo ID to vote in North Dakota. Once again, according to the website of the North Dakota Secretary of State:

If you do not have one of the forms of identification listed above,
You still have the right to vote if:

■ An election poll worker is able to vouch for your identity and residence.

■ You complete a Voters Affidavit on which you certify, under oath,
your identity and that you are a resident within this precinct.

You would expect that a candidate running for Secretary of State would know North Dakota's Voting Laws and be able to educate voters if they have a question.

It unfortunate that with 65 days until the General Election, Hedger still has not even taken the time to learn North Dakota's voting laws and procedures.

Jason Stverak

Friday, September 01, 2006

Governor Hoeven Fighting for North Dakota's Ag Producers

Once Again, Governor John Hoeven leads the fight on behalf of North Dakota's Ag Producers. In a letter sent today, Governor Hoeven asked for Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns to issue a Secretarial Declaration for all North Dakota counties. If you would like to read the letter Governor Hoeven sent to Secretary Johanns', please visit

This is just another step in a series of actions Governor Hoeven has taken to help drought stricken areas throughout North Dakota this past summer.

Governor Hoeven said it best: "We will continue our effort to secure comprehensive disaster legislation to help farmers and ranchers," Hoeven said. "There is a clear need for additional resources to address significant damage to the agriculture industry and businesses associated with agriculture."

North Dakota knows Governor Hoeven will not stop fighting for North Dakota's farmers and ranchers.