For the first time in years (ever?), two of three North Dakota public service commissioners are on the November ballot. Incumbent Brian Kalk and appointed Commissioner Julie Fedorchak have been doing excellent work and should stay on the job.
Todd Reisenauer of Fargo is challenging Kalk for a six-year term. State Sen. Tyler Axness,
D-Fargo, is challenging Fedorchak for an unexpired two-year term. Neither Democratic challenger has advanced convincing arguments that the two commissioners should be replaced.
Kalk’s credentials – education and experience – were impressive when he first ran for the Public Service Commission. Since then, he has become a sophisticated regulator who understands the complexities and growing pressures of regulating on the state level.
Fedorchak, who is relatively new to the job, has made it her business to study, study, study before she comes to conclusions that affect the regulatory climate in the state. In that process, she has not been reluctant to criticize industries that are subject to regulation, or to delay PSC action until she is satisfied she has the information she needs to make an informed judgment.
Both Kalk and Fedorchak have worked well together – and with other regulators, state and federal – as regulatory demands have escalated in the new energy environment in North Dakota. Both are thoughtful elected officials who understand their responsibilities to the public and to the industries and systems that fall under the PSC’s umbrella.
Some of the challengers’ raps on the commissioners seem to miss the mark in that they stumble into areas that are not within the legal purview of the PSC.
There is no credible reason to replace Kalk and Fedorchak. They work hard in an agency that deals with some of the most complex and consequential matters facing the state. They are doing a good work. Both should stay on the job.