Republicans from Districts 12 and 29 gathered tonight for a Lincoln Day dinner and fundraising auction. And as fate would have it, guess who the keynote speaker was? None other than North Dakota’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Kirsten Baesler.
According to information passed on to The Minuteman, those in charge of tonight’s festivities decided it would be appropriate to auction off wine— signed by Kirsten Baesler. And not only signed by her, but named after the Superintendent as well. I’m not kidding. You can see the picture evidence below.
As you can see, there was “Supt. Baesler’s Honor Roll White” and the “Baesler Bulldog Red”.
What message does this send about how Republican leadership from these districts feel about Baesler’s troubles?
Does it make a mockery of the Superintendent?
Does it reflect a lack of seriousness when it comes to DUI’s?
Was this an appropriate thing to do in the aftermath of Baesler’s arrest?
I suppose this shouldn’t surprise us. After all, it was District 29 Rep. Craig Headland (R) who ended up being arrested for a DUI back in October of 2018. He ended up being reelected just a month later. And his running mate — House Majority Leader Chet Pollert — sent him to a Legislative Summit in Nashville just ten months later. Yes, that same $90,000 summit that turned into a party with lobbyists for many of those attending.
I won’t pretend to know exactly what was going through the minds of those who decided this wine auction was good idea. I’m guessing it was planned before her arrest earlier in the week. But given the circumstances, they didn’t have to carry through with it. And they shouldn’t have.
In my opinion, this was a really dumb move by district leadership. And make no mistake about it, this certainly doesn’t reflect well on Kirsten Baesler either. As someone who has a history with alcohol abuse, this doesn’t exactly send a message that she’s learned much from her experience this week.
On a larger scale, the NDGOP has a problem as well. In the last two and a half years, not only have we seen DUI’s from Baesler and Headland, but Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger too. And what’s the response? Reelection, a paid for legislative trip, and bottles of wine named after one of the offenders. And in the case of the latter, signed by her too.
As a side note, chalk it up as one more reason some of us don’t take the state’s Vision Zero initiative seriously either.
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