Meet The District One House Candidates

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2002 was the last time Democrats fielded a full slate of candidates in District One in Williston.
But this year, the party has filled up the slots.
Jim Olson talked with the three Democrats and three Republicans hoping to represent the city in Bismarck.
Tonight, the focus is on the race for District One House.

(Lindsay Walsh, (D) Dist. 1 House Candidate) “Why don’t more people get involved? 

Lindsay Walsh couldn’t figure out why Democrats have so seldom filled the ballot in recent years in Williston. So she threw her hat into the ring and is joining another first-time candidate, Crysta Parkinson, to run for District One House. Walsh is a six-year resident of Williston who is in law school at UND. She thinks making oil hub cities and school funding more long-term is critical.

(Lindsay Walsh, (D) Dist. 1 House Candidate) “For me it’s all about making sure we have school funding and a formula that’s going to work long-term and is going to keep families in Williston permanently because the more people we have as a community, the better it’s going to be for all of us.”

Fellow Democrat Crysta Parkinson says the failure of a school bond issue in Williston spurred her interest in running. She’s lived in Williston since 2004 and thinks previous legislators haven’t seemed to keep Williston at the forefront.

(Crysta Parkinson, (D) Dist. 1 House Candidate) “I want to speak up for Williston. Looking back at the voting records of our legislators, I don’t feel like sticking up for Williston is their number one priority. So I feel it’s really important that we look at Williston’s priorities and Williston’s needs, and really focus on those.”

One the Republican side, there’s one newcomer to legislative politics, and one long-time representative seeking reelection. The new face is David Richter, a longtime school board and regional education association member. He thinks the so-called “Operation Prairie Dog” to adjust oil funding distribution and make it long-term rather than two years at a time is the right approach.

(David Richter, (R) Dist. 1 House Candidate) “Every two years it’s back to the drawing board and there’s the discussion every two years and so when the political subdivisions go to borrow money, get bonds, they’re based on well we know we have funding for two years. So also included in this legislation is a no-sunset clause which means now you can plan five-six years down the road, the funding stream is not going to be pulled out from underneath your feet.”

Fellow Republican Patrick Hatlestad has served 12 years in the state house and agrees the new funding legislation makes sense. He says legislators must also acknowledge that Williston continues to be a hotbed for population growth.

(Rep. Patrick Hatlestad, (R) Dist. 1 Candidate) “The growth is still an issue, infrastructure is still an issue, school funding I think will always be an issues but especially here now with the rapid growth and the need for new buildings, and property tax issues – so money and sustainability of that funding is critical.”

So it’s an unusual year with four names on the District 1 House ballot. The top two vote-getters will win seats in the 2019 State Legislature. Jim Olson, KX News.

Here are more quotes from the candidates as they were interviewed for this story:

(Lindsay Walsh, (D) Dist. 1 House Candidate) Grew up in Twin Cities – Living in Williston for six years – HS & undergrad in Minn, came to Will for job and now in Law School at UND
(Lindsay Walsh, (D) Dist. 1 House Candidate) Traditionally we don’t seem to have a lot of options on the ballot and I thought why is that, why don’t more people get involved? So I got involved to see if we could get more options – more people on the ballot could mean more people will vote.”
(Lindsay Walsh, (D) Dist. 1 House Candidate) “School funding, infrastructure funding, and now that I’ve been in law school in Grand Forks, I hear things about Williston that don’t make me feel positive about how we are perceived across the state.”
(Lindsay Walsh, (D) Dist. 1 House Candidate) “It’s very important to make sure we retain as much as we can because we’re the ones putting in the work, putting in the hours. It’s our community that takes the hit when it comes to roads and needs of families that come with everyone working to make that money.”
(Lindsay Walsh, (D) Dist. 1 House Candidate) “I think when we changed it and reduced the tax, it was maybe unnecessary because when you look at the economics behind the oil industry, there’s not a ton the state could do to promote our industry beyond what we’ve already done, so when we reduced that tax, I think it may have been to the detriment. Especially when the market did what it did – we really felt the pains out in western North Dakota.”
(Lindsay Walsh, (D) Dist. 1 House Candidate) “One of the things I want to make sure we’re focusing on long-term planning, and not just the next biennium. I’m 31 years old and Williston is where I make my home and it’s where I have my life and want to have my future there as well. I don’t want to be putting everything I have into a community that’s not going to survive long-term. So for me it’s all about making sure we have school funding and a formula that’s going to work long-term and is going to keep families in Williston permanently because the more people we have as a community, the better it’s going to be for all of us.”
(Lindsay Walsh, (D) Dist. 1 House Candidate) “I was curious why that was (not a full ballot) – everywhere I’ve lived there were Republicans and Democrats and Independents and Libertarians..”

(Crysta Parkinson, (D) Dist. 1 House Candidate) Moved here in 2004 to work in newspaper – first time candidate
(Crysta Parkinson, (D) Dist. 1 House Candidate) “We had a school bond fail this spring and it really became obvious that we need to do something about the school funding formula and figure out how we’re going to build schools because these kids have nowhere to go.”
(Crysta Parkinson, (D) Dist. 1 House Candidate) “The three major issues are the school funding formula, the need for mental health care in the west, and doing something about property taxes – long-term reform.”
(Crysta Parkinson, (D) Dist. 1 House Candidate) “We need to find a school funding formula that works. What we have going on right now is not working. Williston is getting its hub cities funding but 75% of what the schools get is coming back off for next year so we’re just getting farther and farther into debt for our schools.”
(Crysta Parkinson, (D) Dist. 1 House Candidate) “If hub cities funding is the solution then we need to make it unencumbered and something we can rely on, not just something they find out at the last minute whether they get it or not.”
(Crysta Parkinson, (D) Dist. 1 House Candidate) “When you’re having to drive to Minot or Bismarck or Jamestown to get services, that’s just not going to work for most people. And even just seeing a counselor is very difficult so we need to figure out ways to work in private-public partnerships, to enable those organizations that already have the ability but need the resources in order to really start solving that problem.”
(Crysta Parkinson, (D) Dist. 1 House Candidate) “I want to speak up for Williston. Looking back at the voting records of our legislators, I don’t feel like sticking up for Williston is their number one priority. So I feel it’s really important that we look at Williston’s priorities and Williston’s needs, and really focus on those.”

(David Richter, (R) Dist. 1 House Candidate) Will school board, Great NW regional education assoc, state board of public education, school boards assoc, first legislative race
(David Richter, (R) Dist. 1 House Candidate) “Hub city funding or the infrastructure needs of the community, we have lots of jobs and low unemployment and need to be able to recruit people into the area and infrastructure is a huge thing to bring people into the hospitals and into the schools and business in general.”
(David Richter, (R) Dist. 1 House Candidate) Ag and oil need the infrastructure to move their products
(David Richter, (R) Dist. 1 House Candidate) “Williams County needs hundreds of millions of dollars of infrastructure.”
(David Richter, (R) Dist. 1 House Candidate) He likes the Wardner plan
(David Richter, (R) Dist. 1 House Candidate) “Every two years it’s back to the drawing board and there’s the discussion every two years and so when the political subdivisions go to borrow money, get bonds, they’re based on well we know we have funding for two years. So also included in this legislation is a no-sunset clause which means now you can plan five-six years down the road, the funding stream is not going to be pulled out from underneath your feet.”
(David Richter, (R) Dist. 1 House Candidate) “Oil money that comes in in lieu of property tax, that comes back to the schools but there’s a 75% deduct on it so it may appear you’re getting a lot of money, but in the next year they take 75% out of your general fund…If we could move some of that funding into the building fund andbe able to use 100% of it for maintenance and repairs.”

(Rep. Patrick Hatlestad, (R) Dist. 1 Candidate) 12 years in legislature, was teacher
(Rep. Patrick Hatlestad, (R) Dist. 1 Candidate) “I’ve really enjoyed legislative action, being involved in politics.”
(Rep. Patrick Hatlestad, (R) Dist. 1 Candidate) “The rapid growth has created quite a few problems.”
(Rep. Patrick Hatlestad, (R) Dist. 1 Candidate) “The growth is still an issue, infrastructure is still an issue, school funding I think will always be an issues but especially here now with the rapid growth and the need for new buildings, and property tax issues – so money and sustainability of that funding is critical.”
(Rep. Patrick Hatlestad, (R) Dist. 1 Candidate) Western legislators have worked diligently to get the issues of western ND dealt with
(Rep. Patrick Hatlestad, (R) Dist. 1 Candidate) “We’d like to have more of the oil money back here but what we’re finding out is that they sincerely believe that oil is a state resource and should be shared to the west. We try to convince them that we’re the ones that have experienced the rapid growth and problems associated with that growth and we should be helped more frequently and I think some of them are coming more in our direction.”
(Rep. Patrick Hatlestad, (R) Dist. 1 Candidate) “Part of our problem is most of the formulas are based on numbers, population, and obviously we don’t have the population, although we’re growing. Our representation in terms of production is small and therefore we don’t get the kind of return that we would hope and so we work other directions to direct state money to us.”
(Rep. Patrick Hatlestad, (R) Dist. 1 Candidate) “The state doesn’t do property tax. We got involved with the reduction through the school system but still the state doesn’t deal with that. We’ve tried to reduce property taxes by the state taking over social services.”

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