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Excerpts from recent North Dakota editorials

Too many N.D. kids live in poverty

The Bismarck Tribune, Bismarck, Oct. 8, 2015

During a time when North Dakota’s economy has been considered booming, there’s been a growing problem behind the scenes. There has been an increase in child poverty across the state.

No, you won’t find a child in rags begging on a street corner. There are, however, too many children living in homes under the poverty level. Their parents work, possibly multiple jobs, but because of one reason or another, struggle to make ends meet. This shouldn’t be news to us. It’s been well documented over the last few years that some children are homeless, jumping from one home or another, sleeping at friends’ or relatives’ homes. They have no place to call home.

Carrie’s Kids has worked for 10 years in the Bismarck area to call attention to the plight of many children. The program has strived to find solutions and put children in better situations.

A national census survey released last month showed North Dakota with the third-highest increase nationwide in child poverty rates from 2013-14. The survey was conducted for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a children’s welfare foundation.

The survey shows children with homes also are in difficult situations. North Dakota had a 25 percent increase in its child poverty rate over 2013-14, according to the survey.

Alaska, New Hampshire and Minnesota were among the states with the highest increases, which ranged from 7 to 33 percent.

According to Karen Olson, program director for North Dakota Kids Count, one out of three children in the state lives in a low-income family. The reasons these families are struggling are varied: some have relocated for better-paying jobs and find the cost of living higher than expected; more financially struggling families are moving into the state; and illnesses in the family.

Olson points out that the problems aren’t due to parents’ lack of employment or education.

There are programs to provide assistance to these families, but many are dependent on help from the public. As we head into winter and the holiday season we need to remember to provide a helping hand.

We also need to remember these are working parents trying to make a go for their children, many without asking for help.

We shouldn’t ignore the problem, it’s time to help.

It’s about abusing power

Minot Daily News, Minot, Oct. 8, 2015

This is the United States of America, where the government is not supposed to attempt to intimidate members of the press, use the Internal Revenue Service to harass opponents of the White House, retaliate against public employees who try to protect sick veterans or go out of its way to embarrass congressmen who demand the Secret Service do its job.

But it has happened. All of it. And in the face of truly un-American behavior, President Barack Obama’s administration has not fired a single person involved in activities listed above. And though clear violations of the law have occurred, no one has been prosecuted.

Perhaps you have heard about most of the situations. But the Secret Service outrage is brand new.

Among those demanding reforms at the agency, which has tolerated repeated failures in its duty to protect top government officials, has been U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.

Scores of Secret Service employees became aware that in 2003, Chaffetz applied to become an agent. He was turned down, for reasons unknown other than a notation on his file, “Better Qualified Applicant.”

Secret Service Assistant Director Ed Lowery suggested the file be leaked to retaliate against Chaffetz. “Some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out,” Lowery wrote in an email to another agency official.

“It’s intimidating,” Chaffetz said of the episode, adding, “It’s what it was supposed to be.”

Indeed. Lowery — and probably others at the Secret Service — meant to send a message to other members of Congress: Don’t make us mad. We may have a file on you, too.

Both Democrat and Republican lawmakers have expressed outrage about the situation.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson apologized to Chaffetz, and said those involved in the outrage “should be held accountable.” He provided no details of how that may be done.

If history is any guide, a few bureaucrats may be allowed to retire early — with full benefits, of course — but no meaningful punishment will be meted out. That almost never happens in Washington.

That, too, sends a message to government officials. It is about abusing power and getting away with it, even in America.

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

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