“Don’t assume that the State of North Dakota will step up to the plate with those (Diversion) dollars.”
This statement by Representative Jim Kasper at the September 13, 2012 FM Diversion Public Meeting (1 hr, 19 m) foreshadowed Kasper’s public position only a few short months later. Kasper was cautioning local leaders not to expect state support for the project. Kasper’s statement was applauded by Diversion opponents attending the meeting. And numerous columns written by opponents referenced Kasper’s statement as they vigorously argued against the project.
Only a few months later during the 2013 Legislative Session, Representative Al amended the State Water Commission budget with what local leaders called ‘diversion killing’ amendments. Carlson’s amendment reduced state support for Fargo Flood protection by $125 million, prohibited funds to be used for: a river diversion, dikes and levees associated with the diversion, and limited protection to less than the Army Corps 100 year level.
The Forum’s editorial at the time said Carlson insulted local leaders and betrayed the people he purports to represent
But Carlson was not alone. Jim Kasper was one of two Fargo Republican legislators who publicly supported Al Carlson’s attempt to scuttle the FM Diversion during the 2013 Session (Forum, February 27, 2013).
In contrast, Representative Kathy Hawken (R, District 46) had the following comment about the amendment. “They’re truly awful. We haven’t done what they’re doing to Fargo to any other district on any other water bill. It’s a micromanaging of it.”
It took weeks and a great deal of hard work by Senator Tony Grindberg (R, D41) and Senator George Sinner to undue Carlson and Kasper’s damaging amendments.
It’s now four years later and Jim Kasper and his friends are telling people they are ‘born again’ Diversion supporters.
So here’s a statement of caution for the residents of District 46.
Don’t assume Jim Kasper and his allies will step up to the plate to provide permanent flood protection for District 46.
He tried to scuttle the Diversion once.
Will you trust him again?