NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — He was a former Democratic member of the North Dakota State Senate from 2007 to 2010 before being appointed in March to fill the remainder of Senator Erin Oban’s term. 

Josh Meny sat down with Democratic-NPL candidate for District 35 State Senate, Tracy Potter.

Senator Potter, you were appointed after former Senator Erin Oban was appointed to USDA Rural Development Director. In February you decided you’re going to run and you say the driving issue that you’re running on and that what got you into the race is property tax. Tell us about your plan.

“It’s aimed at residential homeowners, and it’s a simplified version of something that I introduced in 2007 and passed that year later without my name on it. But it gives a 10% property tax credit on your income tax to residential homeowners. It’s the simplest, most direct way that I can think of to provide relief without harming local control. You know, schools, the park districts, they all have their own local boards, they set their budgets. The problem is it all falls on property tax owners, property owners,” said DemNPL District 35 State Senator Tracy Potter.

Earlier this week, some Republicans in the Senate Don Scheibel introduced a property tax plan that would use more than 300 million from Legacy Fund earnings, but also give the state responsibility to take a greater amount of funding for K through 12. How does your property tax plan differ from that plan?

“Well, they’re not in competition necessarily. I heard Senator Shively present to the Tax Committee, I presented that same day. And, and I told him, it’s not an either-or, it can be both. It’s a great idea for the state to pick up a bit a bigger share of educational costs, and they are a burden. But the other units of government also, you know, what are we going to do about that about County, but the city, but the parks districts, and so. And we’ve done this in the past, we’ve tried to give money to these entities and then hope that property taxes go down, and they just don’t, my plan is to give it directly to the taxpayer. So that the relief comes to the taxpayer to the owner of the residential loan, you know, and, and that way, and I’ve talked to the Tax Commissioner about it, it’s simple, easy to implement, and would be effective at reducing the burden without reducing the property tax.” explained Potter.

You sit on the Government Administration Committee. Your committee is investigating the $1.8 million overrun on a building lease by the AGs Office. This office is co-owned by Representative Jason Dockter. He also owns the contractor, which was a lot of what the bill for the overrun included because the building itself, it was essentially unfit for housing, the AGs departments. What does this look like for you? I know you’re running on transparency, right?

“To me, this is the reason why there’s a loyal opposition. You really, we really need to be able to get to the bottom of things and not have them covered up. And I’m afraid too often in state government, one office covers for another office. But I have to give credit to Josh Gallion, the State Auditor for we all had a lot of questions. And in fact, the gentleman told me last night, you asked good questions. Well, yeah, I asked him, but I didn’t get the answers. Josh Galleon got the answers. And clearly, there was double-dealing that was self-dealing. And we need to tighten up our procedures and state government,” said Potter.

In a couple of seconds. Will you continue pushing the Attorney General’s office to look into the 20 years of deleted emails?

“Absolutely. That was a violation of a code and records retention requires that the archivist to have those and now we find out that Microsoft wasn’t even asked if they could recover it,” answered Potter.

Senator Tracy Potter confronts Attorney General Drew Wrigley in his office about why they are not allowing for an independent investigation into the deleted state email accounts of former Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and former Deputy AG Troy Seibel. North Dakota century code states that knowingly tampering with public records is a class C felony if a person knowingly, without lawful authority, destroys the record.

Potter served as President of Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation for 21 years.