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Thursday, January 12, 2012


I had an eye opening experience a while ago as I took U.S. 85 up to Watford City. This was a nostalgic trip for me because when I drove water truck for Missouri Basin, I served wells in the Keane area which is east of Watford City. There is virtually a new city on the south side of Watford. From there, ND Highway 23 will take you to New Town, and I averaged about 45 mph. They had one of those speed signs as I came into town in my caravan and I was going 16 mph. Normally, I am speeding on those things. I averaged about 25 mph up to Stanley, but there was road construction as there always seems to be. The trucks were stacked up as we waited for the lone stop light to let us all make a left hand turn. They just put up a new stop light at the entrance to Tioga, I can’t imagine trying to make that turn without one. I talked to a man from the volunteer fire department, and he said they used to put out a lot of fires, now they do a lot of "jaws of life." I have yet to make the full circle from Watford City to New Town to Stanley to Williston and back to Watford. It would be interesting if all of our elected state officials and legislators would make that drive themselves. That way, they could see that this oil booms is about government getting out ahead of the infrastructure bottleneck and making the western part of the state a safe place to live and work.

Our continuing look at the US Constitution takes us to Article 1, Section 5, Clauses 3 and 4: "Each House shall keep a Journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their judgment require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either house on any question shall, at the desire of one fifth of those present, be entered on the Journal." Clause 4: "Neither House, during the session of Congress, shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two houses shall be sitting."

The Congressional Record is the name of the publication that each house produces about what is said and done on the floor of each house. In the North Dakota legislature, all votes on bills are recorded but in Congress, many are not. We have to vote yes or no on each bill while a congressman may vote present. This is the 112th term of Congress, and after Jan. 3rd it is the 2nd session. Houses of Congress can’t recess for more than three days without permission from the other house, and they must meet at the same place, which is Washington, DC.

The President of the week is number five, James Monroe whose career paralleled Jefferson’s and Madison’s. He grew up in Virginia and fought in the Revolutionary War with the 3rd Virginia Regiment where he was wounded at the Battle of Trenton. He also fought at the Battles of Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, and endured the winter at Valley Forge. He served as a Minister to France where he secured the release of Thomas Paine from a French prison. Monroe also brokered the deal where we gave France $15 million for the Louisiana Territory.

Monroe became Secretary of State under President James Madison and simultaneously held the office of Sec. of War in the defense of Baltimore in the War of 1812. He was elected President in 1816, and ushered in the "Era of Good Feeling" where he had no opposition in the 1820 election. He established 49 degrees north as our northern boundary and imitating Washington, made a grand tour of the nation. He helped create a colony of freed slaves in West Africa called Liberia, whose capital is named Monrovia, after him. In 1823, he fashioned a document called the Monroe Doctrine which kept Europeans from colonizing the Western Hemisphere. He was truly a remarkable man.

My grandfather served in three wars, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. Well, he was in the Korean War but he worked for the railroad which was building tracks for the South Koreans. Apparently, on June 24th of 1950, my Grandpa Madsen was out pheasant hunting. He and his friends got lost and drove across the 39th parallel and were captured by the North Koreans. They were held for an hour and then released and allowed to go home. The next day, the entire North Korean army invaded the south and the war was on. I hope Grandpa didn’t say something to get it started. I guess we will never know. Have a good one!


Yours in the Spirit of the Republic,














Mike is a New England businessman who is currently a legislator serving in the North Dakota House of Representatives (District 36). He has served in that capacity between 1988-90, and was reelected in 2008 to his current term. He was a National Finalist for the High School Coach of the Year in 2000, leading the New England Tigers to four North Dakota State Class B championships in 1988, 1995, 1996, and 1997. He ended his coaching career with a 47-game winning streak. (A collection of Coach’s writings is available in book form at dakotabooknet.com)





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