Letter: North Dakota voters work first with people from all political backgrounds

Thanks to Rob Port for acknowledging the hard work of North Dakota Voters First. We are leading the charge to ensure fair legislative maps for all North Dakotas this round of redistribution. Our organization has been putting in a lot of overtime lately to educate citizens about the 2021 legislative redistribution process in North Dakota.

We insist that this process be fair and transparent. Fair representation means more than which party you belong to. North Dakota communities of interest should have legislators who will listen to their needs as well as other needs across the state. Agriculture, education, energy and health care are very good examples. These questions go beyond partisan politics.

Our organization has discussions with people from all political backgrounds. The director of North Dakota Voters First has an extensive network in the business world and talks to advisers of all political persuasions. He also worked in media sales for Forum Communications for four years before becoming our director.

The North Dakota League of Voters has been advocating for constituency reform in that state for more than a decade. The National League of Women Voters has created the People Powered Fair Maps Initiative, which is working to create independent redistribution commissions in all 50 states.

We want all North Dakotas to know that they have the power to engage in the redistribution process. We encourage anyone reading this, including Port, to contact the Redistribution Committee if they have any comments they would like to share.

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Port appears to be very concerned about groups that have supported North Dakota organizations that promote democratic reforms and transparency in government. Most of us at North Dakota Voters First are unpaid volunteers, and our funders receive no financial benefit when we are successful in our endeavors.

On the other hand, Port used to write articles for the Koch Brothers funded astroturf group called the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. The Koch brothers and their affiliates benefit financially from the legislative actions promoted by Port.

Yes, North Dakota Voters First is a popular little band. However, we have many supporters across the state who are interested in fair legislative maps during the 2021 redistribution process. Thank you again for recognizing our reach and hard work.

Carol Sawicki is the president of North Dakota Voters First.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Forum editorial board or the property of the Forum.

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