From the Bismarck Tribune Editorial
Voters will decide two of the three seats on the Public Service Commission on Nov. 4.
Commission Chairman Brian Kalk is seeking his second six-year term, and Julie Fedorchak hopes to win the right to fill the remaining two years of office after being appointed to the PSC by Gov. Jack Dalrymple in 2012. She replaced Kevin Cramer, who had been elected to the U.S. House.
They are being challenged by Democrats Todd Reisenauer and Tyler Axness, respectively.
The Tribune believes Republicans Kalk and Fedorchak deserve to be elected. Both have served well and their challengers haven’t provided compelling arguments to replace them.
Kalk, a former Marine and North Dakota State University professor, has been aggressive politically. When he ran for the PSC in 2008, he was a virtual unknown, but was able to win the Republican nomination and the general election.
He won the nomination for the U.S. House in 2012, but lost in the primary to Cramer. However, he hasn’t allowed his career objectives to interfere with his PSC duties.
Kalk has worked to diversify energy sources in the state, improve the Call Before You Dig program and improve the reliability of the energy grid.
Since being appointed to the PSC, Fedorchak has been anything but a seat-warmer. She has demonstrated that she’s a quick learner and been active in many areas.
She’s asked for the state to take the lead in the oversight of intrastate liquid hazardous materials pipelines. She also wants a supplemental rail safety program that would complement the federal program.
Fedorchak worked for former Gov. Ed Schafer and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and operated her own business.
So she has a solid understanding of how government works and the challenges facing small-business owners.
Reisenauer is an independent consultant from Fargo. He has worked in the software industry for more than 11 years and has a master’s degree from the University of Mary. It’s his first race.
He wants a different approach from the PSC to deal with the state’s growing pains and the infrastructure needs of communities.
Axness, a freshman senator from Fargo, serves on the Transportation Committee and the Human Services Committee.
He is the communication and policy coordinator for the Freedom Resources Center, a disability rights organization in Fargo.
He also wants a more proactive and critical approach by the PSC.
The Democrats have been diligent in promoting their positions, but they haven’t provided voters with enough reasons to replace Kalk and Fedorchak.
Kalk and Fedorchak have shown the ability to deal with the issues fairly and responsibly.
They both deserve to remain on the PSC.