The Affordable Care Act is far from a perfect law. Rather than a short-sighted repeal and/or replace, there are a number of bipartisan, pragmatic fixes out there that would help middle-class and vulnerable North Dakotans.

Ben’s priorities include protecting the more than 300,000 North Dakotans with preexisting conditions, maintaining essential health benefits, the prohibition on lifetime caps prohibition, and protecting rural hospitals from facing down uncompensated care. Ben supports implementing re-insurance programming, and bringing down drug prices, including through the importation of prescription drugs.


Over 90,000 North Dakotans depend on Medicaid. One in every ten Veterans depend on Medicaid as part of their health coverage. As we tackle the opioid epidemic, Medicaid is one of the most important tools we have in saving lives. Over half of all Native children in North Dakota depend on Medicaid for their basic health needs. We cannot abandon those who rely on this critical program.

Children’s Health Insurance Program

Thanks in large part to CHIP, the uninsured rate for children 0-18 in North Dakota is five percent. Nearly 5,000 children in North Dakota are covered by the program, which has a long history of bipartisan support. Partisan infighting among Republicans endangered the program for the first time, which is unacceptable. If there’s one issue upon which we can agree, it’s that low-income children should have access to both basic and life-saving care.


Agriculture built our state and the communities that are our backbone, and North Dakota’s ag producers help feed the world. One of Ben’s top priorities, then, will be a strong, sustainable Farm Bill. Whether it’s the federal crop insurance program or helping the next generation of ag producers build for the future, it’s imperative that our lone congressman is a fierce advocate for our rural economies.

With the volatility of commodity prices, cutting the USDA budget is the wrong path forward. Ben will protect the programs that are crucial in protecting our producers, including research that helps producers identify pests and disease, increase yields and fosters ag tech innovation in areas like seed and pesticide development.


North Dakota’s farmers and ranchers sell approximately $4 billion worth of products overseas every year. Rather than close off our trade policies, we should be expanding the markets available so that North Dakotans can access new consumers. Closing off foreign markets will harm producers and decimate our economy. Because more than 90 percent of soybeans produced in North Dakota are sold to China, we cannot afford to get in a trade war with the world’s second largest economy.


As our economy changes with the progression of technology, we need new ideas for this new economy. Workers are the engine that move our country forward, so we must put people before profits.

While North Dakota was largely insulated from the recession of a decade ago, far too few people have seen any of benefits experienced since then. We are at a moment in history when there’s an opportunity to rebuild the disappearing middle class while giving workers a raise.

Infrastructure Investments

Rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure will keep our families safe while providing good-paying middle class jobs. In North Dakota, there are 48 dams that have high-hazard potential. The poor condition of our roads costs the average driver $400 per year. Over 600 of our bridges are in need of repair. Strategic investments in these areas, as well as our schools, airports, and water systems, will benefit us all.

Paid and Family Medical Leave

Middle class families, particularly young families, need economic security. Nationally, only 12 percent of families have access to paid family and medical leave. Ensuring paid and family medical leave to all working families would go a long way in providing that security. Ben supports the FAMILY Act, which would provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave each year for qualifying workers. Under the FAMILY Act, workers pay for guaranteed leave, so it would be an earned benefit rather than a handout.

Energy Sector

Our nation depends on diverse forms of energy production. An all-encompassing energy sector benefits our national security and our economy alike. Jobs in the coal industry have helped build communities in North Dakota for decades and Ben supports policies to help those workers. The Bakken oil play has been a boon to North Dakota’s economy, and Ben supports policies to encourage responsible development there.

Along with jobs that result from fossil fuel development, Ben is in favor of policies that support jobs in the renewable energy sector. Wind turbine service technician is the fastest growing job in America, and there is no shortage of wind in North Dakota. The wind energy Production Tax Credit should be extended, which will result in more high-paying jobs in North Dakota.

Employee Misclassification

There are too many bad actors that misclassify their workers as independent contractors rather than employees. When this occurs, those workers lose workplace protections, do not receive overtime pay, face down more tax burdens, and are not eligible for employer provided health care or unemployment/disability insurance.

By ensuring that employees are properly classified, workers will get a raise. Ben supports policies that will crack down on employers who game the system to the benefit of workers who live off the paycheck they earn.


Rural communities across North Dakota face unique challenges that demand pragmatic solutions. When it comes to fighting for these communities, the answer isn’t partisan gamesmanship and just coming out against everything. Rather, bipartisan consensus is required.

Rural Broadband

Whether it’s for telemedicine, telecommuting for work, or streaming television shows, rural communities depend on high-speed, reliable broadband access. The divide between broadband access in urban and rural areas impedes economic development in smaller communities as young folks head to more populated areas. Here in North Dakota, tens of thousands of our family, friends, and neighbors still struggle with this issue, and there are common sense fixes within our reach.

Congress should ensure that the federal Universal Service High-Cost Program (the “Connect America Fund”) is fully funded. The Connect America Fund is used to help build networks in rural, sparsely populated areas at rates that are comparable to more urban areas. Currently, that program is in danger of falling short of where it needs to—and could—be.

Rural Hospitals

Accessing health care in rural communities is often prohibitive, with those who live there forced to travel long distances, often without any form of public transportation available. Cutting programs that compensate rural hospitals for the services they provide is the wrong answer.

Most rural hospitals depend on Medicaid to survive. The policy proposals we’ve seen from the current Congress would decimate Medicaid, thus decimating rural hospitals. Many rural communities are dependent upon their hospitals, which employ many people and drive their economies. Rural communities will not survive if their hospitals face pre-ACA levels of uncompensated care.

Rural Water

Federal funding, through grants and loans, are pivotal in building rural water infrastructure, as well as providing the training and technical assistance that help rural communities thrive. Ben is committed to not only maintaining these funding programs, but strengthening them for the benefit of rural communities and economies.

The Water & Waste Disposal Loan & Grant Program, which provides funding to households and businesses in rural communities, is under consideration for elimination. The Water & Waste Disposal program provides for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage. North Dakota’s lone congressman should be on the frontlines fighting to save this program, which is not currently the case. If elected, Ben will help lead this fight.



Social Security and Medicare are promises that we’ve made to those who pay into the programs over a lifetime of hard work. With North Dakota’s aging population, our lone congressman needs to be a leading voice in protecting these vital lifelines that so many rely on for their retirement. Ben believes that to have a strong middle class, we must support these programs to ensure the benefits are there for all who are eligible. While it’s important that we work on reducing the deficit, it should never be done on the backs of those who worked their whole lives while paying into Social Security and Medicare.


In a rapidly changing world, Congress should be doing everything in their power to protect their constituents from fraud and abuse. Instead, lobbyists have been getting their way by writing big checks to entrenched members of Congress. It's time for North Dakota to have a congressman that puts people over profits.

Cyber Security

Cyber threats impact all of us individuals, our businesses, and our national security. As we are more and more connected with more and more devices these days, it is critical that everyone is informed of the most pressing threats and best practices for preventing cyber attacks. After massive breaches at Target, Home Depot, the SEC, and Equifax, where more than 140 million Americans—including more than 200,000 North Dakotans—had their personal information exposed, it’s imperative that we strengthen privacy protections.

Further, Congress recently passed a law that allows Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to sell consumers’ personal data for profit. Ben supports overturning this law to protect North Dakotans’ private data, which should remain private and not sold to the highest bidder.

Forced Arbitration Clauses

When big banks and other institutions provide form contracts with consumers, included in the contract is usually a forced arbitration clause. This means that if a consumer has a dispute with the institution, the consumer is not permitted to take the dispute to the courts. Rather, the consumer is forced to go to arbitration behind closed doors in a system that favors the institution. A proposed rule would have prohibited large institutions from including forced arbitration clauses in their contracts. Before the rule was implemented, Congress held a late-night vote to once again allow big banks and other institutions to include these clauses in their contracts.

Ben believes that if big banks and other institutions harm consumers, the consumers should be able to band together and take the relevant party to court. This is a common sense issue of equity and fairness, and it’s time that North Dakota’s congressman prioritizes equity and fairness.

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