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Excerpts from recent North Dakota editorials

Dalrymple’s years of service impressive

The Bismarck Tribune, Bismarck, Aug. 30, 2015

Some might argue that Jack Dalrymple became governor with a silver spoon in his mouth. He didn’t have to run for office, becoming governor in 2010 when John Hoeven was elected to the U.S. Senate, and the state was in great financial shape. When he moved up, however, he didn’t inherit any easy tasks.

Dalrymple’s decision not to seek another term provides an opportunity to put his career in perspective. He’s spent a long time in public service and should be commended for his achievements. Most North Dakotans are familiar with the last five years as he’s guided the state through the challenges of the oil boom. He’s worked to get funding for infrastructure improvements in the oil patch, find ways to reduce housing costs, deal with safety and environmental issues and much more.

His term has been about more than the oil boom. Dalrymple worked to improve school funding while reducing property taxes and he managed to get record budgets through a Republican Legislature. His finest hour may have come during the 2011 floods in Bismarck and Minot. He provided steady leadership, comfort and help — there’s a photo of him and his wife, Betsy, arriving with shovels to help fill sandbags in Bismarck. They joined the other volunteers without any fanfare and filled bags.

He also played a key role in the Hoeven administration. As lieutenant governor he chaired a committee that provided solutions to a foundation aid program that had divided secondary schools across the state. As a former legislator — he served from 1985 to 2000 — he acted as a liaison between Hoeven and the Legislature. He helped smooth the way for Hoeven as he learned the ins and outs of dealing with lawmakers.

Dalrymple has had his setbacks. He lost the 1988 Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate. In 1992 he ran against Kent Conrad in a special Senate race to replace the late Quentin Burdick and was defeated. His business dealings were criticized and his acceptance of campaign donations from oil companies drew fire. He came through those situations without any lasting impact on his reputation.

He still has two years left in the governor’s office and he made it clear he’ll still be in charge. “My last budget will not be a token or throwaway budget. It is a very important part of the process,” he said He plans to lead until his last day in office. He cites as challenges in the next year the continued reduction of flaring, conditioning oil for rail transport and providing more oil regulators and law enforcement.

There will be a scramble to replace him. There are a number of Republicans expected to enter the race and the Democrats are waiting to hear whether Sen. Heidi Heitkamp will seek the office. Most observers didn’t think Heitkamp would run if Dalrymple ran again, another sign of his popularity.

Dalrymple’s decision not to run will likely energize both parties during the upcoming election. Depending on who decides to enter the race it could result in changes in other state offices. It will be interesting to see what role, if any, Dalrymple plays in determining the outcome of the GOP nomination.

We do know his decision has changed the political landscape and after the 2016 election there will be big shoes to fill.

Related: With Dalrymple out, speculation begins on next ND governor

Bullying: Much is at stake

Minot Daily News, Minot, Sept. 1, 2015

The enormous harm bullying can do to the children who are targets is bad enough. But the “collateral damage” can be much, much worse.

Last week, a 14-year-old student at Philip Barbour High School in Philippi, West Virginia, walked into class with a gun. For about 45 minutes, he held a teacher and about half a dozen students hostage.

But for the brave, capable way the teacher reacted, then a police chief and a pastor who talked the lad into surrendering, the situation might well have ended in a bloodbath.

It turns out the boy had been bullied “to the point where he just snapped,” Pastor Howard Swick explained later.

Not all the violence in schools results from bullying. But a substantial number of the killings in such cases are by children, usually teenage boys, who were bullied.

Most schools have anti-bullying campaigns. Again, they are to be supported in every way solely to help youthful victims. But it should be clear from occurrences such as that in Philippi that far more is at stake, too.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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