Balance the Budget — But Not Like This

By Pam Gulleson

Somewhere along the line, our leaders lost their commitment to shared prosperity and financial responsibility and became more concerned with looking out for millionaires than standing up for the middle class.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the budget plan recently outlined by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

Like Ryan, I believe that reducing our debt needs to be a priority.

But unlike Ryan, I don’t believe we’ll get there by putting the burden on the backs of middle-class families, farmers, veterans and seniors.

The scheme that Ryan is proposing — and that Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., has supported — would end the Medicare guarantee.

That would shift substantial costs onto seniors, increase costs to the state and reduce access to quality care.

Ryan’s budget would give the wealthiest few Americans an average tax cut of at least $150,000 while cutting Medicare spending by an estimated $5,900 per senior citizen.

For North Dakota, a state with more than 100,000 residents on Medicare and a senior population expected to grow by 58 percent over the next 20 years, that’s unacceptable.

The plan also calls for $30 billion in cuts to farm and crop insurance and would turn the food stamp program into a block grant with a limit on funding.

Those provisions all but guarantee that there will be no farm bill this year.

For our state, which got about $1.5 billion in crop insurance indemnity payments in 2011, Ryan’s budget signals disaster for North Dakota agriculture.

Where would the farmers whose crops failed last year be without those payments?

Education — the basis of our nation’s upward mobility — would also be on the chopping block.

The plan would implement $115 billion in cuts to the Department of Education, and 9.6 million students would see their Pell Grants fall by more than $1,000 in 2014.

Currently, more than 30 percent of North Dakota college students get Pell Grants to help pay for their education.

At some North Dakota universities, that number is as high as 62 percent.

Without the funding, these students would not have access to the education they need to be able to compete in a global economy.

Furthermore, at a time when veterans who have selflessly served our country have just returned from Afghanistan and Iraq, the budget plan would cut $11 billion from veterans spending and make across-the-board spending freezes and cuts.

These veterans, many of whom rely on Veterans Affairs services, deserve better.

Not only is the Ryan budget unfair, it’s simply bad policy.

The middle class will be forced to shoulder an increasing burden, which will derail economic growth and development.

Cuts to agriculture, Medicare, education and veterans are not what our nation needs to build the future.

I’ve opposed this measure from the start, and I call on my opponents in the race for U.S. House to stand with me.

It’s time to stand up for what’s best for North Dakota.


A former North Dakota state representative, Pam Gulleson is the state Democratic-NPL-endorsed candidate for U.S. House and a Rutland resident.

Happy President’s Day

As we celebrate George Washington’s 280th birthday, and Abraham Lincoln’s 203rd birthday this month, I can’t help but think the achievements of our great American leaders aren’t given enough credit. Their wise words are lost in the hyper-partisan political climate of today’s world.

So, this Presidents Day, I ask you to pause and remember the political courage of our nation’s greatest leaders.

GEORGE WASHINGTON: “We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.”

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: “It often requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong.”

THEODORE ROOSEVELT: “Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.”

FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”

We must also remember that more important than the words they spoke, were the actions they took at critical times in the history of the United States – to preserve it, to improve it, to guide it, and to build it.

Those presidents who were great presidents had visions and dreams for America that were larger than themselves. Their purpose aimed this country toward goals many considered unattainable.

I remember what Harry S. Truman said about the promise our our nation. 

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbounded determination to do the job at hand.”

God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.
[Pam Gulleson]

Pam Gulleson puts Rutland on the map

The following article is reprinted from the Fargo Forum – Published September 26, 2011.

Forum editorial: Candidate for House gets roses
PRAIRIE ROSES: To former North Dakota legislator Pam Gulleson for jumping into the nomination race for a chance to run for the state’s congressional seat. Gulleson, a Democrat, wants to challenge the Republican candidate for the seat being vacated by Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., who is running for the U.S. Senate seat now held by retiring Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. We’re a long way from newspaper political endorsements, but Gulleson’s candidacy is noteworthy. She has excellent legislative experience, including leadership. She worked for former Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and therefore has experience in federal policy that affects North Dakotans. She is from rural North Dakota with roots on the farm near Rutland. At this point, the only other announced candidate in the race is Republican Brian Kalk, a North Dakota public service commissioner. The campaigns have just started, but it’s good to see an experienced candidate like Gulleson in the race.

Building The Future

By Pam Gulleson

I come from a family of builders. My grandfather was a mason, a skilled bricklayer, who built the school, and many buildings on Main Street, in my hometown of Oakes. How did he build those buildings without the benefit of modern technology? He did it brick by brick, one upon another, and he worked with others to get the job done. It was hard work, but he had a vision of the community he was building, so he rolled up his sleeves and got at the task.

Now, at a time when our nation is facing some of its most difficult challenges, the political vision and will needed to get us back on track are in short supply.

As Americans, we have faced up to tough times and tough problems throughout our history, and dealt with them head on. Think of the men and women who built this nation. They had a vision of what had never been, and said, “Why not?” They homesteaded farms on the prairie, started businesses, and built the schools, churches, and hospitals that grace our communities. They brought us power, paved the roads, and built the factories that made America strong. They fought in brutal wars to preserve our way of life, and came home to continue serving their communities as volunteers and leaders. We owe them every opportunity we have.

So, how can we repay their sacrifice & service? By taking up their mantle of leadership. I believe that we need to address our greatest challenges head on. Instead of lamenting all that is wrong, let’s build on what is right. Instead of drawing lines in the sand, lets work together to find solutions. The future of our country is at stake.

We need a national energy policy that gets us on the path toward energy security. We need to direct our innovation and resources to fully develop all of our domestic energy sources–wind, oil, coal, solar, hydrogen, renewable, natural gas – everything. We’ll create jobs and wealth and bring security to this nation.

Debt and deficits make us less competitive and hold us back from advancing this nation in world market.We need to stop the political postering and adopt a plan of budget and tax reform to address spiraling debt, declining revenues and wasteful spending. Preserving Medicare and securing social security needs to be a priority.

Let’s start building things in this country again. We have the best workforce in the world. We need to challenge the leaders of this nation’s great companies to invest in America again. We need to remove the tax incentives that encourage moving these companies out of the country, and bring those jobs back home. We need to provide incentives to start up businesses and entrepreneurs to create new jobs for Americans.

These things, and more, we need to get done in order to get our country back on track, and to continue building the American dream that is our heritage. Now is not the time to say, as some do say, that we can build no more. Now is not the time to dismantle that which has been built. Now is the time to build upon the foundation that has been laid. Now is the time to improve on that which we have been given. Now is the time for a vision that sees a future of economic strength and broad based prosperity. Now is the time for leadership that takes inspiration from the past to create a vision for the future.

The Rooster Crows – February 22, 2008

By Bill Anderson

Well, the weather roller coaster ride continues. Thirty-five above on Saturday, February 16 was only a teaser, as the mercury then commenced a slide that hit 25 below zero by Wednesday morning. On the bright side, a brisk breeze accompanied the falling temperatures, bringing in a continuous supply of crisp, fresh air. The record cold temperature for February 20 of 30 below zero was set back in 1889, the year of North Dakota’s Statehood.

Was it romance, or was it just the aroma of delicious food, that was in the air in Rutland on the evening of February 14, St. Valentines Day? According to Gretchen Vann, 53 diners enjoyed a special St. Valentines Day 5 course steak and lobster dinner at the Rutland General Store, and more than 100 enjoyed steak and torsk at the Lariat Bar. The dinner at the General Store featured a crab cake appetizer; potato Parmesan soup; Caesar salad; the entrée of grilled steak, lobster tail and baked potato; and, lemon dessert. The Store’s regular once-a-month Sunday brunch will be served this Sunday, February 24, at the Store. A special Easter Sunday Brunch will be served by the Rutland General Store and the Rutland-Cayuga Volunteer Firemen on Sunday, March 23, in the Rutland Town Hall, and advance tickets for that event are available from local firemen and at the Store. Ms. Vann also states that another special gourmet dinner with an “April In Paris” theme is being planned for the month of April.

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