Name: Ryan Taylor/Ellen Chaffee
Race: Governor/Lt. Governor
Questions for Governor candidates:
1) How do you expect to tackle the issues of housing and infrastructure in western North Dakota?
Housing and infrastructure needs affect everyone from new workers to age-old residents to employers struggling to hire. Ultimately, balancing this oil development with the infrastructure and housing necessary to accommodate it means getting the oil taxes we collect in Bismarck back to our western communities.
I would start by calling the legislature to act and would advocate improving our existing tax incentive housing program by asking the legislature for direct funding. When we're proactive, we spend smarter and save money rather than putting out fires after the damage is done.
As chair of the Industrial Commission, I would instruct our state-owned Bank of North Dakota to find innovative ways to partner with local lenders, investors and builders by providing secure, affordable financing.
For the families who helped build Western North Dakota, it's crucial that we protect their quality of life in the midst of all this activity.
2) What will you do to promote increased exports of North Dakota products?
Competitive exporting of the products we produce, whether from agriculture, energy, manufacturing, technology or other homegrown industries, requires up-to-date transportation systems to get those goods to market. Proactively maintaining and addressing infrastructure needs is a must.
My experience as a small-business owner has proven that marketing and exporting goods depends on building relationships with potential customers. As Governor, I would be dedicated to helping North Dakota companies foster those relationships anywhere in the world that presents opportunity.
Potential customers look for many attributes before establishing a business relationship - high quality, competitive pricing, unique products, and partnerships with people and places where they are proud to do business. I would ensure our trade office, universities and state agencies have the resources they need to be effective, and as Governor, I would be North Dakota's strongest advocate.
3) What can be done to control the escalating price of farmland in North Dakota?
The rising price of farmland is greatly due to the demand for it, fueled by strong commodity prices, low interest rates and optimism for the future of food production. State government cannot control that, but when escalating farmland prices begin to reduce the ability for the next generation to assume the reins of the family farm, or for new farmers and ranchers to put together a feasible operation, we need to be creative.
I've long supported lending and finance programs for young farmers and ranchers to assist them in getting started. Our state-owned Bank of North Dakota provides tools for first-time buyers of farmland, and those tools need to be supported by the governor who oversees the Bank as chair of the Industrial Commission. We can find innovative ways to connect retiring farmers and ranchers with ambitious young men and women who wish to pursue life in the agriculture industry.
4) If elected, what legacy would you like to leave behind as Governor?
At a time when North Dakota faces great challenges and greater opportunities, 'good enough' won't cut it. Without bold leadership and big visions, we risk mismanaging this moment and selling ourselves short.
North Dakotans deserve a Governor who will lead us through this pivotal crossroads with our values intact and who will make the investments and provide the leadership necessary to protect our special quality of life. As Governor, I will have succeeded if people can look back at this unique opportunity and say that my policies and leadership created world-class education opportunities, a thriving, diversified economy, beautiful landscapes, and a responsive government for our children and grandchildren.
Growing up here, working here, and raising my family here has shown me this is a place unlike any other. My legacy will be that those who follow will have that same affection and pride for this state we call home.