Rep. Andrew Maragos served in the North Dakota Legislature from 1993-2006. He was elected again in 2011 and has been in office since. Yet, it seems the long-time public servant from District 3 may have worn out his welcome with Republican party faithful. When the District 3 Republicans held their endorsing convention on March 27th, Maragos was on the short end of the vote. With 67% of the vote, newcomers Bob Paulson and Jeff Hoverson came away victorious as the endorsed candidates over Maragos and Ward County Commissioner Alan Walter.
Although Maragos and Walters failed to gain their party’s endorsement, they decided to press on to the June 12th primary anyhow. That decision led to a Minot Daily News editorial in which they hailed the decision as “good for the party”. Minot resident Greg Demme took issue with that claim and expressed the view that:
“…Republicans of District 3 are tired of uncontested elections, tired of liberals running as Republicans, and tired of candidates who refuse to even articulate any platform at all (much less a specifically conservative platform)…”
We then published an article in which we showed that Demme is correct— Maragos doesn’t have a conservative record. To prove it, we cited the 2017 Ratings of North Dakota, where he scored a conservative rating of just 43%. There was also the 2017 North Dakota Watchdog Legislative Scorecard, where he came away with a D-.
Apparently Rep. Maragos hasn’t been too awfully bothered by his failure to secure the District 3 Republican endorsement. Nor does it seem problematic to him that folks like Greg Demme aren’t fond of his less than conservative voting record. Yesterday, the Minot Daily News printed responses from all four candidates to a series of questions. The first question on their list was:
“What are your budget priorities for North Dakota?”
Maragos’s one sentence response is quite telling:
“To adequately fund education at all levels while trying to maintain a hold even, or slightly increased budget.” (Emphasis Added)
I’ll remind you that during the 2017 session the Legislature raided reserve funds to the tune of nearly $800 million in order to make the budget work. And just last month, Governor Doug Burgum called upon agencies to craft smaller budgets heading into the next biennium.
In addition to our belief that we need to cut even deeper than what Governor Burgum is asking for, we’ve also pointed out that K-12 education is one of the sacred cows of the North Dakota Legislature. Not only does it appear that Rep. Maragos sees it as a priority that we continue this sacred cow mentality, but apparently he’s even open to increasing the budget.
In a state that saw spending more than double for the better part of a decade, which ultimately led to a budget shortfall, the last thing we need to do is to begin heading back the other direction of growing the budget. We need to cut back. Taxpayers need relief. And with all due respect, they’re not going to get the relief they deserve if Rep. Maragos and others like him continue to have a place in the North Dakota Legislature.
If you’d like to see the questions and answers from all four candidates, that were printed in the Minot Daily News, you can access them by clicking here.