Anyone who caught the HBO skit on North Dakota could have found humor in the simplistic, slapstick one-liners, but the overall messaging is not funny. I guess I avoided watching it for a couple weeks because as a North Dakota native, I’ve nearly heard it all when it comes to our small state.
Like so many in the media, HBO’s Sunday-night only comedian put a target on North Dakota and determined the outrageous angle of his broadcast long before his writers managed to Google “Back-in” (or however he said it). He wasn’t the first, nor was he the last, and the over-exaggerated stories about our state are becoming tiresome.
Instead, someone needs to continue to tell the story about the thousands of good, long-term jobs created here. When the rest of the country took almost a decade to recover from the economic recession, North Dakota provided these jobs to the many hard working people who were willing to move, work long hours and sacrifice for the betterment of their families. That is nothing to be angry at.
I have the pleasure to represent a trade union which is comprised of many of these people. They travel from eastern North Dakota, Minnesota and nearly 25 other states to the communities of the Bakken to build schools, recreational facilities, industrial projects and roads. They are helping to build the Bakken and other areas of North Dakota, and earning the living that provides for their families at home.
Without the North Dakota’s economic strength, many would have been struggling to find minimum wage jobs back home. They are proud of their work, and they should be.
The growth of our state’s economy has not been perfect by any means, which is why we continue to change our laws and adapt to growth. Yet, is far from the disaster told by the national media and their allied environmental groups. However, oil and gas growth in North Dakota, Texas and Ohio saved our country’s builders and manufacturers and their many hundreds of thousands of union, non-union and professional jobs, and as we move forward, our union is committed to working with our contractors to address the real safety and integrity challenges in the Bakken.
These bedrock industries provide a high quality of life and we all rely on their success. It is no comedy skit.
North Dakota Director, Business Development & Governmental Relations
Laborers District Council of MN & ND