MINOT, N.D. — This morning Rep. Scott Louser, a lawmaker from Minot-area District 5, called me to say he'd recently been charged with driving under the influence.
The details weren't immediately available via the state's online criminal records database, but Louser issued a statement owning up to the incident.
"Transparency and accountability in public service has become increasingly important in our of society. To that end, I must disclose that late Thursday night / early Friday morning, I was pulled over in Bismarck and cited for driving under the influence," he said in the released statement.
When I spoke to Louser, he said the incident was just a traffic stop. He was pulled over and tested over the legal limit.
"I have begun taking what I believe to be the necessary next steps including an evaluation process. I want to apologize to those close to me, the residents of District 5, my colleagues in the state Capitol and to so many others for any disappointment this may have caused," he said in the statement. "Finally, as I work to rebuild any lost trust, I want to ensure that something like this will never happen again."
North Dakota voters have shown a lot of forgiveness when it comes to DUI charges. Superintendent Kirsten Baesler, also a Republican, was cited for DUI ahead of the 2020 election cycle, and still won re-election with nearly 60% of the vote. Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger, another Republican, has seen his struggles with alcohol come to public light ahead of each of his last two re-election campaigns and won decisively in each.
Several lawmakers have also been charged with alcohol-related traffic offenses with little in the way of consequences, politically.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.