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Editorial: December 2016

Our new chapter


Josh Kramer, NDAREC executive vice president and general manager
Josh Kramer

It is official. The voters have spoken, and the winners in this very divisive election cycle have been declared.

It is appropriate to thank all of those who ran for public office and congratulate those who were successful in their election campaigns.

While there were many interesting races, for North Dakotans, the biggest change coming is we will have new administrations for both our state and our nation.

Congratulations to Governor-elect Doug Burgum and President-elect Donald Trump. Both are successful businessmen, both are new to the governing scene, and both offer an outsider’s perspective. That appealed to voters this election cycle.

Ours is a state that is primarily rural and has an economy tied closely to the ebb and flow of commodity markets. Our citizens are in search of policies that will help deal with economic uncertainty and provide us a path to opportunity.

We look forward to working with our new governor – and our legislators – on solutions to the state’s current financial challenges, and creating approaches to governing that will continue keeping doors of opportunity open in our state.

Rural voters turned out in a big way this election, and are being credited by many as the primary demographic that impacted the election. What does this tell us?

I think it means rural America must continue to be heard. Going forward, our new leadership should work to ensure, as policies are crafted, they strongly consider the impact on rural America.

Even though fewer than 20 percent of the U.S. population resides in rural areas, much of the food, energy and resources this nation needs are provided by our sector. Rural America now has the prime opportunity to declare anew that we deserve public policy treatment that will preserve this important role. Programs to advance nationwide economic prosperity should not focus solely on our urban counterparts. Rural America is ready to stand in full partnership with those willing to pursue more economic opportunities and make further improvements to our nation’s quality of life.

Eighty years ago there was a monumental moment in modern times, when cooperatives brought electricity to rural America. This electrified – and empowered – rural America, triggering a major change for the better in our livelihoods and the life of our nation.

We look for leadership to keep us empowered. Cooperatives, and our way of doing business, can continue to be part of the solutions that lead our nation to more prosperous days ahead. In the key areas that concern our country – good-paying jobs, good quality-of-life services – cooperatives can demonstrate how success is achieved.

Let’s get started.

Josh Kramer, editor-in-chief of North Dakota Living, is executive vice president and general manager of the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives, Mandan. Comments can be mailed to Josh Kramer, NDAREC, P.O. Box 727, Mandan, ND 58554-0727 or by email