The people of District 47 have a rare opportunity ahead of them on June 12th. There will be a conservative Republican on the primary ballot to challenge incumbent Representatives George Keiser and Lawrence Klemin. That challenger is 34-year Navy Veteran, Duane Sand.
Some North Dakotan’s may remember Sand as a candidate for federal office back when Democrats dominated North Dakota’s seats in Washington, DC. Sand took on the likes of Senator Kent Conrad (2000) and Rep. Earl Pomeroy (2004 & 2008). That was before running against current NDGOP Chairman Rick Berg for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2012. Berg won that race and later lost in a general election squeaker to current Senator Heidi Heitkamp.
A lot has changed in North Dakota politics since the first time Duane Sand ran for office in 2000. Yet, one thing has remained the same— the men he’s running against for a spot in the State House. Rep. Keiser was first elected in 1993 and Rep. Klemin in 1999. Unfortunately, their conservative rankings aren’t very impressive.
According to the American Conservative Union’s 2017 Ratings for North Dakota, both Keiser and Klemin scored a paltry 50%. Whether it was bills favorable to homeschooling, allowing competition in dentistry, civil asset forfeiture reform, ending Common Core, or government funding of the arts; both incumbents were unimpressive.
When it comes to more of the economic side of things, Keiser and Klemin didn’t fair much better. In the 2017 North Dakota Watchdog Legislative Scorecard, Klemin came out with a 58% (D) and Keiser a 50% (F). As a matter of comparison, even Democratic Rep. Marvin Nelson scored out at 80% (B).
The issues section of Sand’s website gives us a glimpse into those he sees as a priority. A few of my favorites are his recognition of the out-of-control spending, a desire to reduce taxes, and seeing the potential for reducing property taxes by the state meeting its constitutional obligation to provide 100% of the funding for K-12. In addition to those are things like reforming higher education, ending crony capitalism, and protecting the initiated measure process. Not to mention that his Facebook page shows that he’s pro-life.
As an entrepreneur and CEO of White Horse Water, Sand’s business background would be a welcome asset to the North Dakota Legislature. But even more important than that is the fact that he understands the importance of family. He and his wife Holly have been married for 24 years and have two children.
With projections showing another funding gap, and Governor Doug Burgum calling for budget cuts, we need state legislators who are willing to hold the line by advocating for a more limited government and eliminating government waste. The 2019 Legislative Session is going to be a tough one. We don’t need more of the same. We desperately need change. And the voters of District 47 can help make that a reality by casting their ballot for the conservative alternative known as Duane Sand.