BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s endorsed U.S. House candidates largely agreed in their first debate Saturday on fewer federal regulations and giving more control to local governments.
GOP State Sen. Kelly Armstrong of Dickinson and Democrat Mac Schneider of Grand Forks both won endorsements at their recent party conventions. They met Saturday morning in Bismarck at the debate hosted by the North Dakota Newspaper Association.
Armstrong highlighted President Donald Trump’s rollback of certain federal regulations, the Bismarck Tribune reported.
“Whether it’s the coal industry, the ag industry or the energy industry, the single best thing we can do at the federal level is allow as much power to the state when it comes to regulation and policy,” Armstrong said. “Government is always best when it’s closest to the people.”
Schneider said he’s agreed with some moves by the administration, including the suspension of the Obama-era “Waters of the U.S. Rule” that North Dakota and other states argue unlawfully expands the federal government’s authority.
“Talk about a case of micromanagement of resources that farmers and ranchers in North Dakota are perfectly capable of managing on their own. This is government at its worst,” the former Senate minority leader from Grand Forks said.
Schneider is a businessman and attorney. He served in the state Senate from 2009 until his defeat for re-election in 2016. He served as Senate minority leader during the 2013 and 2015 legislative sessions.
Armstrong is a lawyer and the former chairman of the state GOP party.
Schneider noted their work together in the past on state legislation and agreement on certain issues, including federal topics such as the Farm Bill.
“I’ve had a good relationship with my opponent in the past, and I’m thankful for it,” he said.
“We’ve worked on numerous bills together,” Armstrong said.
The opponents differed on a couple issues. Schneider brought up their opposing votes on the Legislature’s move to loosen the state’s Depression-era rules prohibiting corporate farming. Armstrong voted for the legislation that ultimately was rejected by North Dakota voters.
Armstrong said the two differ in their views on Trump’s tax cuts and the Obama health care law.