For those of us that believe in limited constitutional government, dealing with the North Dakota Legislature can be a frustrating thing. Yes, it’s true that our legislature has a Republican super-majority, but for far too many of them their Republicanism ends with the (R) next to their name. The last decade of Republican spending is evidence of that.
Nevertheless, amid the frustrations, there are times when we find someone or something that acts as a breath of fresh air and gives us hope for the future of our state. Yesterday, that breath of fresh air came from Rep. Luke Simons (R- District 36) in the form of a Facebook video he titled, “Why push the big red button?” Rep. Simons is a freshman legislator, but he obviously understands the proper role of government.
Setting the stage for his video, Simons tells a story of House Majority Leader Al Carlson jokingly telling him that, “I need to talk to you, Luke. Luke, right beside the red button here there’s a green button and occasionally don’t be afraid to push it. It won’t shock you or anything.” Simons then goes on with his list of times to hit the red button. Here’s the list:
1. “When expanding the state government.”
2. “When expanding the federal government.”
3. “When stomping on other people’s rights, freedoms, or ways of life.”
4. “When imposing freedoms on other people.”
5. “When increasing tax.”
6. “When voting for entitlements.”
7. “When in doubt, push the big red button.”
Perhaps Rep. Simons should print this out, laminate it, and distribute it as a cheat sheet for his colleagues in the legislature. Many of whom, based on their voting records, could use the help. Which is something Simons acknowledges towards the end of his video when he says, “These used to be things that us as Republicans used to hold to be self-evident, but obviously not so much anymore.”
It’s a new era in the state capitol of Bismarck. The big government establishment ways of the Republican super-majority cannot continue. They’re not sustainable, which is something that was clearly evident when the legislature was called into special session last August to address a budget shortfall.
In this new era, the state of North Dakota – and in particular the citizens of District 36 – are fortunate to have Rep. Luke Simons in the North Dakota Legislature. Now if he can just convince Al Carlson and his cronies to familiarize themselves with the big red button.