• By Shalom Baer

Minot State University professor runs for district 40 seat

Robert Kibler, Minot State University Division of World Languages and Cultural Studies chair, is running for representative of house district 40 under the Democratic ticket when he isn’t busy teaching English courses in Hartnett Hall.

District 40 encompasses the Minot State campus. Kibler has served as a member and chairman of the board of the Mid-Dakota Chapter of the American Red Cross in Minot, on the North Dakota State Board of Education as faculty advisor, and chaired the Broadband Staff Taskforce, which works on expanding broadband coverage. Kibler also owns and manages several apartment complexes in Minot.

Even though Kibler is running on the Democratic ticket, that isn’t the first platform he’s found himself on.

“I was a Republican, but the party has gone to the extremists. I was a Libertarian, but Libertarians have the luxury of condemning governance structures that we all depend upon, so would not be happy with the results were they to actually succeed to office,” Kibler said. “The Democrats at least offer the rhetoric of governance for the people rather than governance for corporations rather than people. Their idea of governance most aligns with my own.”

Kibler said he is running to provide a different voice to North Dakota politics because no Democrats were running to challenge the Republican representatives who currently hold District 40: Matthew Ruby and Randy A. Schobinger.

“Without alternative voices, the echo chamber of one-party rule makes a lot of bad decisions. We still do not have a functioning ethics committee exercising proper oversight of legislative actions, for example, and the legislators in the echo chamber want none. I would bring that alternative voice to the discussion.”

He also feels that his experience in leadership and business puts him in a good position to work in the legislature, particularly his current work with the Northern Plains Writing Project, where he serves as the director. The project helps teachers across the state refine their research and teaching skills.

“I have written federal grants worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, gone to meet our state representatives in Washington D.C. to effectively ask them to support our work, and did the same thing at the state legislature in Bismarck,” he said.

Should he be elected, Kibler plans to work in the legislature to prevent negative effects associated with the oil industry in North Dakota and strengthen education.

“Oil revenues mostly leave the state, and we make do with the crumbs. My hope would be to save our people from the pain and stress associated with these fluctuations by advocating for creating economic buffers in the state to subsidize businesses, social and institutional service, and everyday people, so as to safeguard citizens,” Kibler said. “Increasing the oil extraction tax would be part of this.”

Kibler hopes to find a balance when it comes to government involvement.

“I see the need to regulate corporations and to tax them without hurting them, while at the same time, deregulating our governance hold on people. What people do is none of anyone’s business unless it hurts others,” Kibler said. “So the great challenge, as I see it, is to regulate corporate wealth without destroying it, for the greater good of people, and to deregulate our hold on people while still maintaining a sufficient level of law and order.”

Kibler said he encourages students to vote and act on their opinions.

“College students and young people have strong opinions about politics, but when push comes to shove, rarely vote,” Kibler said “Since the stakes are so high now, I hope they change that habit, because the very act of voting matters. It is civic responsibility. And there are consequences to a vote.”

To contact Kibler, email him at robert.kibler1789@gmail.com; visit his Facebook page, Kibler for District 40; or visit his website, robertkibler.com

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