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Friday, June 03, 2011


Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the print version of The Dakota Beacon, and is being added to the website about a month after being written.


As the Legislative session is drawing to a close, each Legislator in the even numbered districts must decide if they are going to run again. I am somewhat disillusioned with the process as we have increased the budgets the past two sessions by 33% and 24% respectively. We seem to follow the Governors budget pretty closely and sometimes you wonder why we even need to show up.

With this being the year of reapportionment, a five day meeting will be held in November to redraw the lines. Depending on the number of districts that a select committee decides, there will be around 14,000 persons per district and some legislators in the odd numbered districts may have to run for election again. It is my hope that we get more conservative candidates who are dedicated to the principles of less regulation, more freedom, individual responsibility, limited government and lower taxes. It is only through elections that we can change the course of excessive spending which ultimately grows government.

Our continuing look at the US Constitution takes us to Article 1, Section 3, Clauses 3, 4 and 5: “No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the United States, who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.” Section 4: “The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate but shall have not vote, unless they be equally divided.” Section 5: “The Senate shall choose their other officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.”

You have to be 25 to be a member of the US House of Representatives, and 30 to be a member of the US Senate. Guess how old you have to be to President or Vice President? I see the word “he” a lot, and women became qualified with the adopting of the 19th amendment. The Vice Presidents’ only official duty is to be the presiding officer of the Senate and only gets to vote if there is a tie. The Senate also chooses a President pro tempore who presides when the VP is gone. The true power of the Senate is vested in the majority leader, unlike the House whose most powerful person is the Speaker.

Our President of the month gives us number one, George Washington, who had many nicknames, but “Father of the country” seems to stick out as the most important. He and Martha, his wife, had no children of their own but raised her two from a previous marriage and two grandchildren. Washington was a farmer and a plantation owner by trade but served in the Virginia Militia.  Washington is sometimes credited with starting the French and Indian War. He took command of the Continental Army in 1775 and went from the penthouse to the outhouse in 1776 (“1776” is a must read for Washington buffs). The movie, “The Crossing” is about the retreating army’s attempt to survive and how Washington defines leadership.

Washington was the only unanimously elected president and kept the country together in the critical 8 year beginning. He set many of the precedents for the Presidents including the term, “Mr. President” rather than “Your Excellency”. His first cabinet included political rivals Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. His four cabinet positions had 11 different people serve throughout his administration. In the Revolutionary War, he lost most of the battles, but won the war.

With the beginnings of spring, a young man’s thoughts turn to baseball. When I was 16 years old, I played legion baseball and amateur baseball. One was quite different from the other. Jim Schroeder was coach/manager of the Legion team and also amateur team. The amateur team was short a catcher and he asked me to play with them. His brother, Les, also 16, was playing with them as well.

Jim was always on the lookout for new talent, and it just happened that his college buddy, Bob Waldahl had just returned from Spokane’s AA (professional baseball) program. Bob is one of the most natural athletes (all sports) I have ever seen, and as a pitcher, he threw in the mid 90’s with his fast ball. He had a variety of other pitches (which moved but were slower). I was having a heck of a time catching that fastball. I couldn’t move my glove fast enough, and the ball would get past and hit me in the chest, or in the facemask, or arm, or just go back to the back stop. I kept signaling for the curveball, or the knuckleball, or the changeup, but he just wanted to bring that heater. On one pitch, the batter swung and missed, the ball hit my foot, ran up my shin guard, and went 70 feet up in the air and hit a car outside the park. The ump called it a foul, the batter smirked, Bob rolled his eyes, and I grimaced with pain. Have a good one!

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