Charles Mertens letter: Once again, voters cut out of process
The Devils Lake Journal on Tuesday, Dec. 31, printed an AP story from Casselton, N.D. The news was that Vonnie Pietsch was appointed, not elected, to the North Dakota House of Representatives. The citizens of North Dakota should be outraged that ...
The Devils Lake Journal on Tuesday, Dec. 31, printed an AP story from Casselton, N.D. The news was that Vonnie Pietsch was appointed, not elected, to the North Dakota House of Representatives. The citizens of North Dakota should be outraged that this was done because of actions taken by the last legislative session. "All it takes for evil to prevail is that good men do nothing." That quote explains how government can become corrupt.
This is not about Bill Pietsch or Vonnie Pietsch or even Sen. Gary Lee, R-Casselton. This is about appointing members to the Legislature rather than electing them. The new Legislature has the opportunity to repeal this law and if our election laws need to be changed to allow quick action upon the death or resignation of a member, they should do it.
When Sen. Paul Wellstone died during the last election, a new candidate was endorsed in six days and the election held within two weeks. Surely in this day of computers, fax, and other technology, our legislators can draft a bill to fill vacancies in a very short time. Voters elect a person not a political party. Both parties, to circumvent the will of the people, will use the present law.
The record so far shows the danger of the law. Sen. Gary Nelson, R-Casselton, resigned to take a federal appointment and Gary Lee was appointed to fill the vacancy. Rep. Bill Pietsch, R-Casselton, resigned shortly after a general election and his wife Vonnie was appointed by 60 people to fill the vacancy. Elections seem to be going out of style in District 22. How long will it take to spread statewide?
Once again, this is not about the people involved. They are all good North Dakota citizens and may have won in an election. Why not do it the right way? Political parties serve a very vital role in political elections but they should never, never appoint people to elected positions. So far the record is clear. Give them the chance and they [political parties] cannot resist.
Devils Lake, N.D.