Jack Dalrymple, in his two years as governor, saw the challenges of an unprecedented flooding on the Missouri and Souris rivers and the state’s intense climb from fourth to second in the nation in oil production. He and his administration proved to be up to the challenges. The state responded in a timely and broad-reaching manner to the flooding emergency. And in oil-producing western North Dakota, Dalrymple has proved to be a good manager of the conflicting and enormous demands on local and state infrastructure, as well as an organized and thoughtful response to those demands.
On those credentials alone, the Tribune could endorse Dalrymple for a full term as governor.
Challenging the sitting Republican governor is Democrat Ryan Taylor. It is the most respectful of all the statewide races. Both men can take credit for that effort in civility.
Taylor has been a good legislator. His programs are not all that different than Dalrymple’s. He stresses more communication and more spending of state money at the local level, especially in the oil patch.
During the 2011 Legislature, Dalrymple put together one of the largest infrastructure spending plans of any governor the state has had. He was able to do that because of strong state tax revenues. Dalrymple managed to move a generous budget package for western North Dakota through a Republican Legislature that has a history of being no more kind to Republican governors than Democratic ones.
The budget not only addressed transportation infrastructure needs, but additional troopers for the Highway Patrol and mechanisms to address the housing shortage in the oil patch. There was also money, shepherded through the Legislature, for Minot flood recovery.
Dalrymple’s policies have been as moderate and conservative as they could be given North Dakota finds itself on top of an oil boom and leading the nation in economic growth. Although there’s a grown desire by some North Dakotans for the Dalrymple and the state to slow down growth in the oil patch.
It’s a tribute to the state that the race for governor has two more than competent candidates.
Four years ago, Dalrymple was elected John Hoeven’s lieutenant governor. When Hoeven was elected to the U.S. Senate two years ago, Dalrymple stepped up, more than just symbolically. He’s been a strong governor for North Dakota.
The governor’s chair may be one that Taylor sits in someday, but now it belongs to Jack Dalrymple and he’s done the kind of job that deserves re-election.