District 45 is filled with good, hard working individuals who deserve the type of representation that puts their lives first. For too long, we’ve had politicians who have chosen partisanship over public service. As a community organizer, non-profit manager and volunteer, each day I lead a life of public service. It has been an honor to do so. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been walking the district, knocking on doors and meeting as many of you as I can.
I want to take a moment to tell you more about myself. I know you have a history of voting in our district and a brief encounter with me at your door, at the dog park or in the grocery store may not tell you why I think I’m a good candidate to represent you at the State Legislature.
As a young adult I made a commitment to building community through my involvement through leadership positions in civic organizations and youth commission with the city of Fargo. In fifteen years, I’ve worked for positive change in our community. I credit my early years of appointed service with the City of Fargo to former Fargo Mayor Bruce Furness, a Republican favorite appointed by Governor Hoeven as the interim director for North Dakota’s Workforce Safety and Insurance office. Furness appointed me to the Metropolitan Area Youth Commission in 1995 and at his recommendation, I was named Young Woman of the Year in 1998 by the YWCA of Cass Clay. I have continued to work with the City of Fargo, serving on the Fargo Human Relations Commission since 2002, serving as Chair of the group three years in a row, to when I recently had to step down to run for elected office in July of 2010.
My first taste of politics was in non-partisan public policy, it was about building good community and affecting people’s lives for the better. Over the last four legislative sessions I’ve worked with legislative committees to ensure rights for people with disabilities, veterans, our diverse population, and our young people, by advocating for curbing tuition hikes and loan forgiveness programs. I feel the skills I’ve developed and insight into government can be put to use for our district and the people of North Dakota.
You, my neighbor in District 45 deserve the type of representation that will put your quality of life first. We deserve leadership that listens to our concerns and believes there are workable solutions that will enhance the quality of life, not only for the individuals of District 45, but for the State of North Dakota.
My call to serve you is a great one, and I ask you for your support this upcoming election. Allow me to expand on issues that I feel should be a priority for the people of District 45, and the State of North Dakota.
Securing Flood Protection
The need for flood protection has been evident since 1997. Numerous homes in our community have been affected by flooding and flood protection is vital to the economic viability of our region. I was there with our neighbors in 1997 sandbagging shoulder to shoulder with my classmates. I was there again in 2008, 2009 and once more in 2010 sandbagging, patrolling dikes and cooking late night meals for many of our volunteers. It is my obligation to provide leadership on this vital issue to the level our residents deserve, never to allow our flood fighting efforts to go in vain. If elected to serve you, I will absolutely work tirelessly to secure comprehensive flood protection that involves all entities. I will work tirelessly to secure a cost-effective diversion that does not pass the burden on to you. The State of North Dakota has been blessed with an abundance of financial resources. It is time we put these resources to good use and protect our communities in the Red River Valley.
Property Tax Reduction
Throughout the last thirteen years, the per capita tax burden for our residents has gone up over $1,500. Furthermore, our district’s property taxes have been among the highest in the state and 25% more than the national average. In 2009, the State of North Dakota provided a short-term property tax reduction package of $400 million. Due to the absence of permanent property tax reduction, individuals in District 45 will continue to face high property taxes, putting a strain on homeowners, families, and seniors.
If elected to serve you, I will work to provide permanent property tax reduction. Again, with a record state surplus, it is time we provide long-term solutions to this critical issue. By working collaboratively, I will address the underlying causes of high property taxes, such as sustained public education funding, while ensuring the burden isn’t placed back onto property owners.
Strategic Education Investments
District 45 is a beacon of education for the State of North Dakota. We are a thriving community full of determination and promise. Our best and brightest are the envy of employers and schools around the world. Nothing is more important than the education of our children. Whether in kindergarten or college, we have a duty to provide them with the best education possible. Several areas of education have continued to be neglected. For too long, teachers pay in North Dakota has been amongst the lowest in the nation. Long-term funding of K-12 education at 70% has not been committed. Higher education discretionary spending has lacked oversight, while tuition rates have continued to increase.
Investing in public education is one that provides multiple positive effects for children, parents, teachers, and homeowners. If elected, I will work to significantly increase teacher pay. I will seek to provide long-term funding of K-12 education to 70%. I will advocate for improved oversight of higher education discretionary spending, while not punishing educators and students. All of these actions will work to provide a more efficient and productive educational system for our children.
As a first time candidate, I ask you to support me in my call to serve you, and the people of District 45. If elected I intend to push legislation that will invest in North Dakota’s finest asset, the people. Running for the legislature allows me do more for the people of my district and my state. In ND, politics is not so much political as personal, and my background as a young professional, a Native American and long-time public servant will bring a much needed perspective to the decision making table of our state government. I want to work to pass legislation that will further the major agenda of the constituents in my district and of most North Dakotans; how we can earn a decent living and how we can raise our children successfully.
My work involves bringing people together, appreciating differing perspectives, understanding the legislative process, researching the nuances of hot-button issues, and communicating the concerns of ordinary citizens to elected officials. I’ve found that government works best when stakeholders sit down to discuss our shared challenges. My professional and community experience helps me facilitate that discussion and by working together, we can pass meaningful legislation that addresses the needs of all North Dakotans.
Thank you for taking a moment with me. I hope you will support me in my call to serve you.
Most sincerely, in service,
Prairie Rose Seminole