Sen. Tim Mathern
It appears the Trump administration finally ended its policy of separating families at the border. After weeks of heartbreaking news stories and thousands of social media messages, President Trump heard what most Americans have been saying since the policy was announced: This is not who we are.
The attacks against Sen. Heidi Heitkamp by out-of-state partisans follow a predictable formula: Find a wedge issue that inflames people on both sides. Manufacture an outlandish attack against Heidi, no matter the facts. Amplify the attack louder and louder until it drowns out North Dakotans' better judgment. I'm not buying it, and neither should you.
U.S. Senate Republicans are making another attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This time, it is called the Graham-Cassidy, G-C, plan. I would call it the Gut and Cut plan. This plan isn't really new, it has a lot of the same bad pieces from the previous attempts. Women would be particularly impacted by this legislation as it removes protections for things like maternity care. It slashes public and private insurance options, which thousands of North Dakotans rely on.
As a candidate for the state treasurer during the last election, I highlighted the inefficiency and redundancy of the treasurer's office. This helped start a conversation about the need to eliminate redundant government functions and close the treasurer's office once and for all. At the start of the legislative session, the issue of closing the treasurer's office once again came to light. HCR 3004 is a resolution, with Republican and Democratic-NPL sponsorship, that would allow the voters to decide whether the treasurer's office should be shuttered.
The Forum gave me the leafy spurge award for suggesting that we remove references to the Jamestown State Hospital from the Constitution. Leafy spurge is a long lived perennial; I'm back with the rest of the story. Every person employed at the state hospital is needed. My proposal is that we do more in mental health and substance use services, not less. The Jamestown jobs and facilities can all be used for treatment of prisoners. Without treatment they go back to prison at near $40,000 a year expense.
Like the old-fashioned telephone booth that was on Broadway in Fargo, the North Dakota Treasurer's Office once had a purpose. As times change, needs change. Like the telephone booth — now replaced by cell phones, laptops, and other technologies — the work of Treasurer's Office has been replaced by the Tax Commissioner, Office of Management and Budget, and Bank of North Dakota.