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Shaw: Term Limits, vaccines and other thoughts

Shaw weighs in on the number of commissioners on the Fargo City Commission. He writes, "Five is too small for a city of Fargo’s size, which has about 130,000 people. Thus, Fargo has a very high commissioner to resident ratio. With only five commissioners, any given commissioner has too much power and influence."

Jim Shaw
Jim Shaw
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Some random thoughts as I wonder why saving the filibuster is more important than saving democracy….

Good to see ultraconservative North Dakota legislators are pushing for term limits for fellow lawmakers and the governor. We don’t have enough turnover in the Legislature. Once people are elected, they become entrenched. They stay too long. Many of them become out of touch. Some only run and stay because of the free health insurance. I highly doubt there’s another job in the state where anyone gets free family health insurance for only working full-time for four months over a two year period.

We constantly need new blood and new ideas in Bismarck. Term limits are quite common elsewhere. There are 15 states that limit the terms of legislators and 36 states that limit the terms of governors. The last time an incumbent governor lost in North Dakota was in 1984 when Democrat George Sinner defeated Republican Allen Olson. My criticisms of this proposed ballot measure are that legislators can serve eight years in each chamber, when it should be 12 years total, and that the proposal is not retroactive.

There’s no need for a ward system on the Fargo City Commission, as Commissioner Tony Gehrig proposes. The city is better served when commissioners represent the entire city, rather than a given neighborhood. They need to be thinking about what’s best for the entire city, rather than just their ward.

However, Gehrig is right to push for an increase from five to seven city commissioners. Five is too small for a city of Fargo’s size, which has about 130,000 people. Thus, Fargo has a very high commissioner to resident ratio. With only five commissioners, any given commissioner has too much power and influence.

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Good to see the Fargo Catholic Diocese drop the name of Sullivan Middle School. There’s no way they could have justified keeping that name, after they learned that former Fargo Catholic Bishop James Sullivan was confirmed to have sexually abused two boys in Michigan.

Republicans who oppose the establishment of the select Congressional committee to investigate the Jan. 6 violent coup attempt because they say it’s too political, are unpatriotic phonies. They had a chance to establish a bipartisan, independent commission with no members of Congress, but rejected that. The reality is they disgracefully just want to forget Jan. 6, which was one of the worst days in American history. To them, a violent attempt to overthrow the government is apparently no big deal, and we should ignore Donald Trump’s role in that.

I can’t understand why anyone would choose not to get vaccinated. The vaccines save lives. They are very effective. Why do people risk their lives and the lives of others by not getting vaccinated? The numbers say it all. Specifically, 99.5% of people who died from COVID-19 in recent months were not vaccinated.

Just wondering if North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer will ever tell us whether or not he’s been vaccinated.

Click here for more from columnist Jim Shaw.

Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

Opinion by Jim Shaw
InForum columnist Jim Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.
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