ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Plain Talk: 'There are a big number of legislators who are tired of politics'

Sen. David Hogue and Rep. Mike Lefor, the newly elected majority leaders of North Dakota's Senate and House chambers, respectively, joined this episode of Plain Talk to discuss the upcoming legislative session.

House Majority Leader Mike Lefor, R-Dickinson (left) and Senate Majority Leader David Hogue, R-Minot, are pictured.
House Majority Leader Mike Lefor, R-Dickinson (left) and Senate Majority Leader David Hogue, R-Minot, are pictured.
Portraits via the North Dakota Legislature
We are part of The Trust Project.

MINOT, N.D. — Election Day has come and gone, and in North Dakota, that means a new session of the state Legislature is looming. There will be an organizational meeting and a budget address from Gov. Doug Burgum in December, and then the regular session commences in January, tasked with tackling issues ranging from income tax and property tax relief to child care and water needs.

And the Legislature will go about its business with new leaders. Two long-time chairs of the House and Senate appropriations committees are no longer in the Legislature. Two long-serving lawmakers who served as majority leaders last session have retired.

Their replacements — Sen. David Hogue of Minot and Rep. Mike Lefor of Dickinson, now the Senate and House majority leaders, respectively — joined this episode of Plain Talk to discuss the upcoming session.

They talked about the challenges a newly approved term limits amendment to the state constitution poses when it comes to recruiting competent lawmakers and mentoring legislative leadership. They also discussed how they'll approach their relationship with Gov. Burgum, who had a sometimes rocky tenure with their predecessors, and how they'll manage sprawling caucus that make up almost the entirety of the chambers they serve in.

Lefor, specifically, said he's focused on taking "the wind out of politics" in the House. "There are a big number of legislators who are tired of the politics," he continued, saying he'd like to tamp down the theatrics and get focused on policy debates.

ADVERTISEMENT

Hogue agreed, saying he'd like members of his caucus to take up "portfolios" of policy areas where they can serve as experts for their fellow lawmakers, though time will tell how well that works in a Republican supermajority that, in many ways, is divided against itself.

Want to be notified when new episodes of Plain Talk publish? Click here to subscribe — for free! — on the podcast platform of your choice.

MORE PLAIN TALK
Click here to subscribe to the Plain Talk Podcast!
The greatest cost of this scandal to our state isn't measured in dollars so much as lost trust in our public servants.
Democrats have embraced early voting, to their benefit. Republicans, following Trump's lead, have not, and it's hurting them.
If we're lucky, Trump's sway over the GOP will fade away, allowing the party to return to its status as the far more dignified opponent of Democratic rule in the future.
Data from this month's midterm election vote show the delegates showing up for the North Dakota Republican Party's candidate selection process are significantly out of touch with what North Dakota voters want from those candidates.
Supporters of independent candidates Rick Becker and Cara Mund, who both lost their races by landslide margins on election day, are clinging to the idea that these two are rising stars in North Dakota politics. The vote totals say otherwise.
"At this point, opposition seems more about obstinance than principle," Rob Port writes.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
What to read next
"After a couple of years of celebrating apart because of the pandemic, and also for having just lived through another rancorous national election, we all could use the joy and hope and anticipation that is promised us in Christmas, in the birth of a mighty little king born in a manger."
Katie Pinke looks at the positive impact of 4-H on youth.
Columnist Lloyd Omdahl writes, "The word 'sovereignty' suggests ultimate power, something that, in reality, Native Americans do not have. In American history, sovereignty rested with the folks who had the most guns.
"Six Nations speak of a principle called the seventh-generation teaching, where leaders are instructed to 'consider the impact of their decisions on the seventh generation from now.' That’s a profound teaching, and a stark contrast to America’s current political promises, four-year terms, special interest lobbying and decisions based on quarterly profits. How about if we thought long term?"