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Your opinion: Hoeven's initiatives working

I read with interest Democratic National Committeeman Jim Maxson's political commentary regarding Gov. John Hoeven (Forum, Aug. 10). Maxson's negative partisanship is disappointing, not only because North Dakotans dislike it, but also because it ...

I read with interest Democratic National Committeeman Jim Maxson's political commentary regarding Gov. John Hoeven (Forum, Aug. 10). Maxson's negative partisanship is disappointing, not only because North Dakotans dislike it, but also because it attempts to divert attention from the things that are important to our state.

As a businesswoman and Republican legislator on the Education Committee, I've worked hard for economic development, education and policies that take care of people, and I've also worked closely with Gov. Hoeven. These are issues he's focused on, and he's getting results.

The governor believes education is key to economic development. Not only has he led efforts to increase support for K-12 education over the past two sessions, but he has also brought the university system into the mix, building a new approach to quality job creation.

His Centers of Excellence initiative, for example, combines research and economic development to create higher paying jobs and new opportunities for the citizens of our state.

The governor's new approach is working; a fact that is apparent based on a number of measures:

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- Despite a national recession, jobs in North Dakota are up and unemployment is down. In fact, annual average wages in North Dakota have risen by about 11.3 percent over the past three years -- faster than the national average.

- For the first time in state history, we are targeting resources directly for teacher compensation, $87 million in new money over the past two bienniums.

- The rate of growth in government spending has been cut in half.

- North Dakota is one of only three states without a budget deficit.

While we still face challenges and want to do more, we are making progress because we have enhanced our business climate. To take just a few examples, we have simplified and reduced our corporate and personal income tax rates, created venture and seed capital funds, and launched an aggressive marketing program for our state. Just look at how others are beginning to view North Dakota.

One day before Maxson's letter ran, an article in The Forum reported that Fargo-Moorhead ranked seventh in the nation on Employment Review magazine's 2003 list of the Best Places to Live and Work.

In a separate ranking, Fargo-Moorhead placed fifth in the nation on the Forbes-Milken list of the Top 10 Best Small Places for Businesses and Careers, Bismarck landed in the top 15 percent of the list, and Grand Forks in the top 25 percent.

Maxson may be focused on politics, but Hoeven is focused on the things that count for North Dakotans. He is holding the line on spending, taking care of our needy citizens and pushing hard to create high-paying jobs and genuine opportunities for every North Dakotan.

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Hawken, Fargo, has served District 46 in the Legislature since 1997. She is on the Education Committee and vice chairwoman of the Transportation Committee. She also is a member of the Fargo School Board. E-mail Hawken@aol.com

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