February 20, 2012
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul addressed a crowd of about 1,200 people in Bismarck on Monday evening with a speech on liberty and the role of government, prior to the Bismarck Republicans' district nominating conventions.
"It sounds like there's a lot of friends of liberty in North Dakota," Paul said as he took the stage, greeted by a standing ovation from the crowd inside the Shiloh Christian School gymnasium.
Paul's message was of reducing the size of government and spending, saying he believes the country needs to return to its roots and defend the liberties as they're laid out in the Constitution.
"When government grows, liberty diminishes," he said.
Paul said the country needs to cut spending across the board, including military spending, to rein in a ballooning national debt that he said is the fault of leadership of both political parties. He drew a thunderous round of applause by promising a reduction in spending of $1 trillion in the first year of a Paul administration.
"We need to change the philosophy of government to change the spending of government," Paul said.
He said entitlement programs need to be re-evaluated as well.
Paul said enforcement of private property rights would be sufficient to protect citizens against pollution, rather than relying on the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
"The more socialized a system is, the worse the property is, and the worse the environment is," Paul said. "We should never be bashful about saying we believe in property rights ... and we don't have to give one inch and say that we're careless with the environment, because you don't have a right to pollute your neighbor's property."
Following his speech, Paul spent time making his way from the gymnasium to the exit, passing through an enthusiastic crowd of supporters.
"I'm always amazed, but pleased, to see the enthusiasm," Paul said.
He said his grassroots campaign and message of reducing spending, size of government and promoting liberty is resonating with North Dakotans. Paul said he feels earning the support of voters and delegates in caucus states such as North Dakota is a key to victory during the Republican nomination process and in November. The North Dakota Republican Party caucus is on March 6.
"I doubt that you'll see all the candidates spending the amount of time time here as I have," Paul said.
Paul was in Jamestown on Monday afternoon before traveling to Bismarck. He also made stops in Williston and Dickinson on Sunday.
In Jamestown, Paul was critical of the federal government's ban on the cultivation of industrial hemp, a crop that is related to marijuana but does not have its mind-affecting properties.
Industrial hemp is grown in neighboring Canada and other countries, where it is used to make paper, lotions, clothing and biofuels.
North Dakota's Legislature and Agriculture Department have pushed allowing hemp to be grown in the state. A state lawmaker who wanted to cultivate the crop filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement Administration, seeking a declaration that doing so would be legal.
"There is no reason, in a free society, that farmers shouldn't be allowed to raise hemp," Paul said during a Jamestown appearance that drew about 300 people. "Hemp is a good product."
Duane Sattler, of Richardton, was one of the sign-carrying Paul supporters who attended his Bismarck speech. His son, 13-year-old Shawn Sattler, sat nearby, waving an American flag.
"He's been standing alone a lot of times," Sattler said of Paul. "He votes for our personal freedoms, for sound money and for less government and less taxes."
He became a Paul supporter during Paul's presidential run in 2008, Sattler said. "I really went and did some research, and the deeper I dug, the more I liked the man," he said. "With the other candidates, the deeper I dug, the less I liked them."
In North Dakota's Republican presidential caucuses in 2008, Paul finished third behind Mitt Romney and John McCain, getting 21 percent of the almost 9,800 votes case.
Bismarck Republicans also heard from candidates running for governor, U.S. House, Senate and for several state departments prior to Paul's speech. Republicans from districts 7, 30, 32, 35 and 47 held their district nominating conventions Monday evening following the speeches.
Diane Larson was nominated for the District 30 House seat held by Rep. Dave Weiler, R-Bismarck, who chose not to run for re-election. Incumbent District 30 Rep. Mike Nathe, R-Bismarck, and Sen. Ron Carlisle, R-Bismarck, were also nominated.
In the new District 7, Nicole Poolman defeated District 8 Rep. Dwight Wrangham, R-Bismarck, for the District 7 Senate nomination. Jason Dockter and Dr. Rick Becker were nominated for the two District 7 House seats, beating out Marty Presler.
In District 32, all three incumbent Republicans were nominated: Sen. Dick Dever, Rep. Mark Dosch and Rep. Lisa Meier.
The Associated Press contributed to this story. Reach Nick Smith at 250-8255 or 223-8482 or at email@example.com.Read more: http://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/ron-paul-tours-north-dakota/article_f9f7e2a2-5c49-11e1-8b58-0019bb2963f4.html#ixzz1n5YHrld3