Student government holds forum to discuss issues with District 42 candidates

Sean Cleary, Copy editor

The campaign to determine who will represent District 42 in the North Dakota Legislature is nearing its conclusion.

Last week, Thursday, UND Student Government hosted a forum between the two teams of candidates. The district is currently represented by Sen. Mac Schneider and Rep. Kylie Oversen, and they have been joined by Grant Hauschild to round out the Democrat-NPL ticket. On the Republican side, Former Rep. Curt Kreun is challenging Schneider for the Senate seat, while Jake Blum and Emily O’Brien are seeking to be elected to the North Dakota House of Representatives.

The forum’s opening moments revealed commonalities between the candidates, as both teams touched on themes that have been present throughout the race, like the importance of quality education and producing high-paying jobs in the state. However, the forum revealed several distinctions between the candidates on issues ranging from LGBT issues to campaign finance reform.


The Dem-NPL candidates all expressed support for legislation that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in North Dakota. Legislation that would have added sexual orientation as a protected class was defeated over the past two sessions.

Kreun voted against similar legislation while serving in the Legislature in 2013, while Blum said he would support legislation that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. Historically, a majority of Republicans in the state have voted against adding sexual orientation as a protected class under the law, arguing there was not sufficient evidence discrimination was occurring.

When asked for their perspective on the Presidential race, most of the candidates expressed a desire to focus on local issues and didn’t mention particular presidential candidates by name.

However, Blum noted that Oversen cast a vote for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention, with Blum calling Clinton “truly the most corrupt candidate to ever run for President of the United States.” Oversen responded by saying she wasn’t ashamed to support a nominee like Clinton, saying Clinton had spent a large portion of her career providing legal services for low-income families.

Campaign finance was another area of disagreement amongst the candidates. Current North Dakota law doesn’t require candidates to disclose campaign expenditures or donations that are less than $200.

Kreun argued that the current disclosure limit of $200 allowed for people to donate small amount to candidates they support without worry of causing argument with their friends and neighbors. Additionally, O’Brien said that she carefully tracks money raised and spent by her campaign and additional reporting requirements were not necessary.

The Dem-NPL candidates argued the law should be changed, with Schneider explaining that a candidate could hypothetically spend money raised for their campaign on personal expenses. A bill which was supported by Schneider and would have prohibited campaign contributions from being spent on personal expenses was defeated during the last legislative session.

Budget and Economy

Hauschild argued that contingency budgeting could allow the state government to better adjust during times when revenue was lower than expected. Essentially, the legislature would pass a budget that would take effect if revenue dipped below a certain amount. This would prevent across the board budget cuts, Hauschild argued.

O’Brien said that increased public-private partnership could help students pay back loans and retain college graduates in the state, proposing a program where employers could match student workers contributions into an account that eventually could be used to repay student loans.

In North Dakota House races, the two candidates who receive the most votes are declared the winners, regardless of their party affiliation. Election day is Nov. 8; check for more information on how and where to vote.

Sean Cleary is a copy editor for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]