Lloyd Omdahl: The tonsil of state government – Grand Forks Herald


The Democratic-NPL celebration will be honoring the legacies of Govs. William Male, Artwork Website link and George Sinner at a fifth once-a-year raucous celebration in Bismarck on May possibly 7.

On behalf of previous lieutenant governors – at minimum Wayne Sanstead and me – I am boycotting the function, tired of remaining taken care of as the expendable appendix or tonsil of entire body politic.

The authorities would not slide but just hobble along devoid of our standard back again-up for the governor. Governors under no circumstances again-up even however that is the purpose the business office of lieutenant governor exists. The only time the governor necessary a backup, no one informed me. Apparently, they thought the governor’s business office would be safer if I remained ignorant.

There are five states that do not have lieutenant governors – Arizona, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon and Wyoming. North Dakota has a person, but that will most likely be abolished when the oil revenue operates out. Immediately after all, it’s only an appendix, or a tonsil.

In 1974, the men and women approved a measure that expected governors and lieutenant governors be elected as a team. Prior to that time, the condition experienced a difficulty with mixing horses of various colors so they believed governing administration would be more peaceful underneath the staff thought.

Professor Larry Sabota of the College of Virginia, a nationally acknowledged expert of condition and local authorities, summarized the place of lieutenant governor:

“It’s a part-time, badly paid out write-up whose occupants mostly invest their time operating for governor.”

This is not so in North Dakota. In 1976, Wayne Sanstead grew to become the to start with whole-time lieutenant governor and was offered a portfolio that associated federal revenue. He became more of a utility participant in later a long time.

Our lieutenant governors have not used their time running for governor. They have been faithfully fielding foul balls. For many states, Sabota is ideal. Lieutenant governors are typically striving to upstage governors to obtain political recognition. They are a suffering in the body politic and elsewhere.

Nowadays at the outset of an administration, the governor problems an executive purchase outlining the obligations of the lieutenant governor. Of program, at the conclude of the purchase we locate “and nearly anything else that comes up.”

So lieutenant governors chair or provide on several of the 100 committees, boards and commissions that make up North Dakota authorities. The governor always receives more invites to talk than he can accept, so the lieutenant governor fills in by ribboning prize pigs, naming h2o holes, opening picnic places, or talking at lesser funerals. Barely a launching pad for a gubernatorial marketing campaign.

Given that early 1900, lieutenant governors in the U.S. experimented with to run for governor 55 situations and misplaced 38 instances – 31% achievement level or a 69% failure fee, relying on one’s level of watch.

In 1978, the individuals authorized a constitutional modification that would allow the lieutenant governor to crack ties in the Senate. I had only just one tie in two periods of the Senate.

Ironically, the issue was eliminating the lieutenant governor as presiding officer in the Senate. The proposal was a plot involving then Senator Wayne Stenehjem and me to get an interloper from the executive department thrown out of the legislative department. The evaluate acquired swamped by a 59% “NO” vote, the constitutional basic principle of separation of powers notwithstanding.

In advance of the 1990 assembly of the Countrywide Lieutenant Governors’ Association, I pointed out to the officers that the Countrywide Governors Association was meeting only 3 times although the lieutenant governors met for 5 times. It didn’t make perception. An additional point, the substance of the convention was intended to be workshops but no one was attending them.

They explained to me that I was in line to be president, but they experienced picked anyone else. Seemingly, they didn’t like North Dakota logic.

So I ongoing in obscurity devoid of their assistance.

Lloyd Omdahl is a previous point out lieutenant governor and professor at UND.





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