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Letter: Governor's attire was not the story of the day

I must admit, I was a bit annoyed when I read (Forum, Feb. 17) that Gov. Doug Burgum was kicked off the Senate floor for wearing jeans. The governor was in the Senate chamber because some students, who were at the capitol for the 2017 K-12 Technology Showcase, asked him to pose for some pictures, and he obliged. I know this because I was there. I am the father of one of those students. I took the picture with my phone (so did many others).

My daughter was fortunate enough to be one of eight Centennial Elementary students chosen to represent the school at the showcase. The kids spent the last three weeks working with their teachers preparing and building their exhibit. They were excited to show it off, and they specifically wanted the governor to see it.

The kids had their booth set up in the Great Hall, which is located in between the governor's office and the Senate. Shortly after lunch, Gov. Burgum showed up in the Great Hall. He mingled with the students and parents (eight schools were represented at the showcase and there were students from other events as well).

The Centennial students asked him to come to their booth and check out their exhibit, which he did. The kids were pumped. They ran through their presentation and knocked it out of the park. The Governor was genuinely interested and engaged. When the kids' demonstration did what it was supposed to do, he gave them high-fives.

My daughter was, quite literally, as giddy as a schoolgirl. She was beaming with confidence, and I was very much the proud papa. Now, to be fair, that wasn't just because of the governor. It was the lawmakers as well. Nearly all the senators and representatives that happened by also stopped to speak with the kids. In fact, there was a steady stream of people at the kids' booth all day. Everyone at the capitol was great.

Shortly after the kids made their presentation to the governor, we went into the Senate chamber for the photograph. The chamber was chosen, I was told, because we were invited by one of the senators (but I can't confirm that). I didn't know that jeans weren't allowed (we were all wearing jeans).

I left the senate floor before the governor, and I didn't see what happened after I left. I didn't know there was an issue until I read the story in the paper Friday.

Regardless, if I were to write a headline based on what I saw at the capitol on Wednesday, it would read "Governor and state lawmakers help teachers inspire North Dakota's leaders of tomorrow at the 2017 K-12 Technology Showcase."

Heidenreich lives in Fargo.

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