The federal government may be growing at an alarming rate and becoming overly involved in state and local affairs, but thankfully, courageous lawmakers nationwide are resisting this overreach. One such lawmaker is North Dakota State Representative Bette Grande. Her tireless efforts to promote local decision-making and control make her this week’s Federalism All Star.
Elected in 1996, Rep. Grande drew inspiration from her great-grandmother, who was deeply patriotic. “My great-grandmother flew the American flag every day. She always had a picture of the U.S. President in her house and taught me to respect whomever was in office,” Rep. Grande said. “More than that, she taught me to value the republic: ‘If we don’t cherish the best government in the world, we will lose it.’”
When Rep. Grande’s children entered the public school system, she became more involved in community affairs through the school board and parent teacher association. She opted not to sit on the sidelines, so when someone approached her about an open seat in the legislature, Rep. Grande knew she could not pass up an opportunity to serve the state and country she loved so dearly. Now, eighteen years later, Rep. Grande is a respected state lawmaker and leading champion of federalism nationwide.
During much of her time in the legislature, North Dakota has prospered economically in large part due to the growing energy industry in the state. As a result, she says her fellow lawmakers acknowledged that the state simply cannot and should not spend all of the money coming in. Instead, lawmakers are instead put the best interest of North Dakotans first by working to enact tax cuts.
Rep. Grande is increasingly concerned by the federal government’s overregulation of the North Dakota energy sector.
She explained, “In North Dakota, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) overregulates our energy production in broad-sweeping fashion. Their actions are stifling, as evidenced by their recent proposed rules that would cripple our state’s very livelihood.” She continued, “Instead of setting guidelines and allowing the state to enforce rules and regulations according to their own needs, the EPA forces a one-size-fits-all approach on us.”
Rep. Grande also acknowledged that the federal government prevents their legislature from making critical decisions that are in the best interest of the state by using a “carrot and stick” approach. For example, when North Dakota recently attempted to change transportation guidelines, the federal government threatened to withhold current levels of transportation funding, preventing the state from maintaining control over decision-making.
“Why is the federal government taking our own money through federal taxes, reissuing them to our states, but still preventing us to act in the best interest of our state and citizens?” laments Rep. Grande.
Her passionate for federalism motivates her work to restore local control nationwide. She commented, “If you don’t get involved in the fight, how can you even complain?”
Rep. Grande’s courageous efforts to promote federalism, reduce dependence on the federal government, and encourage local decision-making have earned her this week’s Federalism All Star honor.