Video: ND Democrats Apologize For Partisanship Over “Milkgate”


In a childish display of partisan petulance, North Dakota Democrats staged a publicity stunt in the state house earlier this week bringing to the floor a bill (HB1421) to fund an extra carton of milk for underprivileged North Dakota school kids (they already get two) with a state appropriation. When Republicans voted the bill down, Democrats ran to the media implying that oil companies and corporations were being prioritized over children.

But a few Democrats were a little uncomfortable with the ploy. Case in point, Democrat Rep. Jerry Kelsh stood up toward the end of Wednesday’s floor session and apologized for the partisanship he and his party displayed:

Rep. Josh Boschee, who was actually a sponsor of the bill, admitted on Chris Berg’s television show that emails his party sent out leveraging the manufactured controversy for political donations was probably something less than tasteful:

Valley News Live – KVLY/KXJB – Fargo/Grand Forks

It’s nice to see that even the Democrats feel they went a little too far, but to illustrate just how absurd this whole issue is, consider this: Since the 2003-05 biennium total state appropriations for K-12 education under Republicans has increased 103.5%, with Governor Jack Dalrymple’s executive budget recommending another $524.5 million increase for the coming biennium, according to Legislative Council (to be fair, part of the next biennium’s increase is the governor’s property tax buy-down, but it’s still resulting in more total funding for the schools):


We can debate about whether or not all this new funding is appropriate – it’s worth remembering that even as spending went up, statewide enrollment declined by 7.5% from the 2003 school year through 2009 – but Democrats quibbling over a small $1.2 million appropriation for milk in the context of a half-billion dollar increase for K-12 education overall is the very definition of petty.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Tim Heise

    Not surprised that dems used kids for political leverage!

    • Captornado

      One only has to turn on the TV on any given night of the week to see it being done. Shameful

  • Character Counts

    It takes courage and character to apologize as did Rep. Kelsh. I commend him for that. Wish more elected officials had integrity such as that.

    • Tim Heise

      agreed. Rep and Dems that do that should commended.

      • Lianne

        only rep and dems? ;-)

  • Kevin Flanagan

    Is it any wonder ND is made fun of?

  • WOOF

    Republican mean spirited politics is why Heidi is your Senator.

    It’s not Democrats “quibbling over a small

    $1.2 million appropriation for milk”

    • Rob

      How is a half-billion dollar increase in K-12 spending “mean spirited?”

      • WOOF

        Republicans, on principle, won’t give poor kids another glass of milk a day while their more affluent peers are drinking. This is direct aid to kids. Republican principles vs kids nutrition. That’s mean and shortsighted.

        When I was working the general election giving people in long lines drinks and slices of pizza, an occasional Republican would demure “cause I’m not voting for your candidate” I told them “That’s OK we want everybody to eat.”

    • Oldtimer

      Well, he’s right about one thing. “Mean spirited politics” – hers – is why Heidi is Senator.

  • whowon

    No need for a 3rd carton of milk, NO schools said there was a need, let’s use is to campaign! What a joke.

  • whowon

    Chris Berg seems so balanced…like Ed Schultz perhaps.

  • Opinion8ed

    If we are supplying all the free lunch, the foodstamps, the free breakfast, the after school snacks, the summer meals… Why are we giving the parents foodstamps?

  • camsaure

    The ND Dem party is being run these days by another snot nosed kid named Corey Muck, keep it up he is really helping demonstrate the follies of liberal/progressivism.

  • Stuart

    Democrats are the most clever SOPHISTS I have ever seen in the political arena. Did Scott Kelsh apologise? I really would like to see that sophist do it publically in the Forum and not just on a blog or being interviewed on the floor of a public building where they are able to lie and slander with immunity.

    Do we even know for sure these empty apologies are sincere?

    Follow the patterns and dots to see if these Dem’s go right back to the sophism they spend more time on dividing ,than issues that the general population can benefit from. Lower income taxes, lower property taxes, vouchers that are provided to families that don’t want their children enrolled in failing school systems, and such that help these families live better,be able to buy more with their money,save and not be undermined with devaluating the dollar.

    The sophism that I address is that the idea that “we the Democrats are holier than thou”. Independently speaking!