NDGOP Leaves North Dakota on Wrong Track for Working Families, State of the State

BISMARCK, ND — The Democratic-NPL Party Chairwoman Kylie Oversen delivered the Dem-NPL perspective on the State of the State, today. The virtual address highlighted the failures by Gov. Burgum and the Republican majority to address the needs of working families, including out of control costs of living as well as access to affordable healthcare and healthy food. Oversen’s address also introduced Dem-NPL priorities that include diversifying our economy and investing in local infrastructure priorities like roads, bridges, and gas lines as well as the resources and services that make raising a family and earning a living wage possible like education, affordable housing, childcare, and healthcare.

Many North Dakotans are unable to afford their basic needs and twice the number of North Dakotans are unemployed, compared to last year. Our state and communities pride ourselves on feeding the nation, but an increasing number of North Dakotans who work full time are forced to choose between food or shelter because fixed costs are higher than available wages.

A lack of affordable childcare has working families in a bind, and insufficient support for educators left more than half of our teachers considering leaving their profession altogether. In a vast state where access to a doctor’s office or hospital can mean a lengthy drive to Fargo or Bismarck, our hospital stays are longer than in most of America and our hospital bills are higher than every other state. And the pandemic, like most systemic problems harmed Tribal Nations and Native Americans disproportionately. 

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The Democratic-NPL Party Chairwoman Kylie Oversen said:

“By failing to make true long term investments in education, local infrastructure, childcare, and healthcare, we lose the opportunity to take the reins of our state economy as the world around us rapidly changes. North Dakotans should be in the driver’s seat of our economic future, but Republican leadership is keeping us from being there. Diversifying our economy isn’t giving up on any one industry. It’s protecting our way of life, creating opportunity for our children, and attracting the workers our communities desperately need. By locking us in a holding pattern, the majority party continues to leave us exposed to the shifting tides of presidential administrations, foreign price wars, and rapidly fluctuating rainfalls.” 

Oversen continued:

“In order to truly address the injustices built into daily North Dakota life, we must consistently listen and better collaborate with Tribal leaders on issues like healthcare, infrastructure, economic development and education while bringing new focus to land rights and access to the ballot box. Our state leaders must commit to openly negotiating fair, equitable tax agreements with our Tribal Nations. Relationships have been damaged by mistrust and abuse over the years, and our Tribal partners deserve better than what we’ve seen from those in state leadership.” 

In conclusion, Oversen said:

“Our strength is in our work ethic, our independence, and our bank of incredible natural resources. But skyrocketing rent, increasing costs of childcare, limited access to affordable healthcare, lack of support for education, inadequate investment in local infrastructure, and the systemic racism that underlines this all, is preventing our communities and working families from living the lives they are capable and deserving of. North Dakotans deserve far better than we are getting from the majority party.”