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Letter: Paradigm shift

The energy industry and towns within it that thrive have made great strides to achieve stability and optimism. It is time that our leaders begin a paradigm shift from the mentality of "what if our prosperity suddenly leaves," and begin to act mor...

The energy industry and towns within it that thrive have made great strides to achieve stability and optimism. It is time that our leaders begin a paradigm shift from the mentality of “what if our prosperity suddenly leaves,” and begin to act more prudently about managing risk by fostering growth. That growth will provide the stable-diversified economic mix that ensures long-term prosperity.
Access to capital and infrastructure cannot be described as “relief,” because doing so implies distress or something wrong. On the contrary, western North Dakota is bursting at the seams with success, with opportunity, with prosperity. No one has more to gain by assisting the Oil Patch than all the citizens of North Dakota. One robust energy industry is fantastic and something for which we should be grateful, but we have an opportunity for more than that. We have the interests of value added industries eager to come to North Dakota bringing jobs and most importantly a diversity that builds a recession resistant economy.
To echo Peter Cella’s sentiment, Chevron’s CEO, that “Such projects could have a bigger long-term economic impact than the drilling boom itself. Drilling activity ebbs and flows with prices, and the rigs themselves rarely stay in one community for long. But chemical plants, oil refineries and the factories that use their products can last for decades.”
My father grew up in Houston. Since his birth in 1948, Texas grew from a sole source economy to a multi-faceted economy where service sector Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) industries flourished as value-added industries grew around petroleum resources.
My thoughts are heavily influenced by my career in the Silicon Valley. I have been a witness to a land that once grew apples and oranges that turned into the largest high-tech manufacturing center in the US in less than 20 years. Abundant liquidity coupled with risk is viewed as a necessary part of innovation.
I believe that North Dakota can mature into a similar economy, if the state makes prudent investments in our western communities. And by the way, Silicon Valley had its critics too, but they were all wrong.

Corbin Graham, Minot

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