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Our View: Let the Legislature hear your voice

Want to speak to your legislators? Send The Dickinson Press a letter to the editor before next Wednesday. Starting Monday, The Press will be delivered to every legislator in North Dakota. (Thinkstock Image)

Sunshine Week is an initiative of the American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to promote a dialogue about the importance of the public’s right to know what its government is doing and why.

Beginning Sunday and continuing through next Friday, The Dickinson Press will print opinion pieces detailing the importance to our democracy of open government and will be delivering 150 copies of our newspaper to the North Dakota Legislature to let them know why we think government works best when open for public review.

We strongly believe it is also important that all of our legislators have a chance to know what is happening in western North Dakota.

Watching the Legislature from only a 100 miles away, there have been times when we marvel at how a state with less than 1 million residents has a government with such a lack of understanding of what is happening on its western edge.

Our hope is a week’s worth of newspapers will give North Dakota representatives a better snapshot of what a week in the life of those of us who live here is really like.

Beyond what we print, our legislators from outside the Oil Patch need to hear what you think. So, we are encouraging our readers to write a letter to legislators, which we will print next week on our Opinion pages.

The letters can be directed to the whole body, a committee, party or individual. You can let them know they are doing a great job or the opposite. You can encourage them on a specific piece of legislation, give them advice, or simply your opinion.

Let them know the challenges or benefits the oil boom has had on you and your family, business or community. Letters must be addressed to the North Dakota Legislature committee or the individual legislator.

Letters must be no longer than 400 words — 300 would be better to allow as many people the opportunity to have their voices heard as possible — and should be emailed to no later than Wednesday, March 18, to ensure being included in the newspapers we are delivering to the Legislature.

We hope to print all the letters but preference will be given to our subscribers and residents of western North Dakota.

Or you can post questions and comments on The Press Facebook page. Watch our posts for stories and opportunities to be heard.

Government works best when it is open for review and there is communication from the people who elected them. So let your voices be heard.

The Dickinson Press Editorial Board consists of Publisher Harvey Brock, Managing Editor Dustin Monke, News Editor April Baumgarten and Director of Audience Justin Niles.