Voting is a big deal, but sometimes it is difficult to make your choice when you haven’t heard a lot about the candidates. Personally, I have become so focused on the presidential election that the other categories had slipped my mind until I received my absentee ballot in the mail and looked at all of the names I didn’t recognize. We get so used to voting based on what we see in the media instead of doing our own research that sometimes it is frustrating to not know who a candidate or what they stand for.
An example of this would be the people running for the governor of North Dakota. When I got my absentee ballot in the mail, I had to do research on many people running because I didn’t want my vote to be an uneducated one.
There are three options for Governor and Lt. Governor, and then as always, you have the option to write someone in. The three pairs running include Doug Burgum and Brent Sanford, Marvin E Nelson and Joan Heckaman, and Marty Riske and Joshua Voytek. After weighing my options, I decided to cast my vote with Doug Burgum.
Burgum has experience in many different things, but really no political background. He is a well-known businessman and has won many awards. One of these awards includes the highest honor within the state, the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award given to him by former North Dakota governor, John Hoeven.
Burgum was the president of Great Plains Software which he sold to Microsoft. He then worked with Microsoft as the Senior Vice President of Microsoft Business Solutions Group until 2007. He has been the creator, CEO or on the board of various companies like Kilbourne Group and Arthur Ventures, and he has many investments within the state of North Dakota.
Burgum has also been involved in many philanthropies, including starting his own to focus on youth, education, and health called the Doug Burgum Family Fund.
One of the main reasons I support Doug Burgum is because he is against Common Core in the education system, which is also something I am strongly against.
Just two years ago, I volunteered to assist a classroom of fourth graders. My allotted hour per day happened to be during the time they children had their math lesson. The math problems I saw them working on were not like the ones I was taught in elementary school. I am fully capable of fourth grade math problems, but I had to teach myself the meaningless processes they were doing in order to help them. The unnecessary steps common core takes seems to be only confusing kids more than the way students were taught before.
Burgum also supports gay rights. He thinks it is not something that should be discriminated against. In an interview with the Grand Forks Herald he stated, “I would put it right up there with race and gender and religion.”
I completely agree with his statement. Although it is legal for same-sex couples to get married in the United States now, there are still some discrimination issues going on just as there is in race, religion, and gender that need to be solved.
When it comes to the very controversial topic of abortion, Burgum is a bit unclear of where he stands. He realizes it is a very difficult topic to assess as he has never been in such a position to make that choice. He agrees that all abortions are tragedies, but expresses that we need to focus on preventing unintended pregnancies in the first place.
He is also all for the 2nd Amendment. He is a gun owner and a hunter himself and believes we all have the right to own and carry firearms.
If you consider yourself to have mostly conservative views, Burgum is your best choice. Just like Burgum, I would say I am a Republican, who is for marriage equality and but is also on the fence about the abortion issue.
No matter which side you’re on or who you agree with, the most important thing is that you get out and vote. If you aren’t from Grand Forks and you haven’t acquired the proper forms to vote here because you are a student, make sure to get your absentee ballot mailed to you, so you can do your civic duty. Even if you refuse to vote for a presidential candidate, the state-wide candidates still need your votes.
Emily Gibbens is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]