House candidate visits Dickinson
U.S. Representative candidate Pam Gulleson, D-Rutland, visited Dickinson Wednesday and said the country is in similar shape as western North Dakota.
Like the infrastructure in Dickinson, she said the country's needs to be managed.
"We have an infrastructure (in the country) that has been decaying over the last many decades," Gulleson said. "We have turned a lot of our attention elsewhere, but we have not done a good job at making sure we are building here at home."
On her Wednesday visit, she met with local business leaders and residents.
"Part of this is just listening, learning and familiarizing people with me," Gulleson said. "I'm going to travel all over the state and try to learn everything about what North Dakotans need."
Gulleson also heard of local challenges -- one of the largest for businesses being employee retention, she said.
"Not only are you trying to meet the needs of this growth, but you have to protect this vulnerable population of fixed income people who do not have the resources to be able to pay for rents that are $2,000 a month," Gulleson said, adding the economy is driving prices up. However, she said there are ways to help.
"This is where the community, the state and the federal government -- to the best they can participate in that -- has got to make sure that there is housing available for that sector," Gulleson said. "Everyone needs to be at the table talking about it."
Gulleson has started her campaign for the North Dakota Democrat-NPL nomination.
"You need to make sure you get your message out and that people know you," Gulleson said. "You sit at the coffee counter with them and visit with them. You find out what is important to them."
Gulleson's State Operations Manager Mandy Kubik said it has been fun traveling with Gulleson and meeting people.
"She would rather work with someone than talk with you and tell you what you should think," Kubik said.
Sen. Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, said Gulleson worked hard while in the Legislature. He added she would do well at the national level, if elected.
"I might not agree with everything she does, but she is very dedicated and works hard." Wardner said.
The country is having serious problems, Gulleson said.
"People are not working together," Gulleson said. "They just aren't talking to each other. We really need people who are just used to working every day with people, whether you agree or disagree with them, to try and solve these problems."
She said there is a lot of work to do to fix the country, but bipartisanship is the answer.
"It's pretty clear Congress isn't very serious about addressing the problems we face," Gulleson said. "If elected, I'll be independent, work across party lines, but I will focus all my energy on bringing this country back where it needs to be."
Gulleson said to turn the country around people need to work together. She added politicians need to stop playing the blame game.
"I refuse to be one of those people," Gulleson said. "If we want to sit around and point fingers, we will be exactly where we are today for generations to come. That is unfair to everyone. We owe them so much more."
As a Democrat, Gulleson served on the North Dakota Congress from 1992 to 2008 and has worked with former Sen. Byron Dorgan. Dorgan said it is hard work to travel around North Dakota and talk to people, but he is confident Gulleson will do just that.
"North Dakotans want to know you and want to take your measure," Dorgan said. "You have to travel a lot. Pam will be good at that. North Dakota has a great opportunity to elect someone with substantial experience to the U.S. House."