Get to Know: Marty Riske, Libertarian Candidate for ND Governor

We continue our conversations with the candidates for governor of North Dakota and welcome Libertarian Party candidate Marty Riske to our set.

ALISON VOORHEES: Mr. Riske, we’ll begin with the same question that we asked your opponent, Doug Burgum, when he was on the set on Monday. We asked him if you were governor, how would you settle the Dakota Access Pipeline issue yourself?

MARTY RISKE: You know, when President Obama reversed the federal court ruling, he really took the ball into his court. The way that I see it being done is he comes in with federal agents. They reimburse us with the coverage that we’ve provided for the Dakota Access pipeline protest and he makes the deal. If we make the deal, and then he comes from behind that deal and waves that off also, everybody’s lost. So, it delayed things a great deal and I believe the president should own what he’s taken.

TJ NELSON: Well, you are a big supporter of the hemp industry and of legalizing marijuana in North Dakota. So why are you a passionate advocate for legalization?

MR: Basically, it’s a concern for liberty. We consider ourselves to be a free nation. I have a difficult time understanding why we should put up with the inability to grow hemp when our neighbors right across the border have been growing hemp since 1998. It kind of irks me that they’re more free than we are. Also, with marijuana, it is already legal in several states and I know of a chemist, for example, in Oregon who is mutating plants to make plants higher in cannabinoid and lower in the intoxication element of THC.  So actually, it’s a better medicine. I’m patterning the freedom that, for example, the University of Minnesota had to develop the Honeycrisp apple. Each party involved got a third of the proceeds from the patents. Now Minnesota farmers can grow apples if they like.  I see that as the same opportunity for farmers here in North Dakota.  We are faced with lots of farmers going under this year, especially the young ones.  And what I’m worried about there is guys my age are going to want to retire in a few years and there won’t be enough farmers that are young to take over their farms. So, we have really a blessing in front of us with this potential for patented medicine.

AV:  The Libertarian Party believes in freedom of choice and minimum government.  What would you do as governor to reduce government operations?

MR: My first thing that I would do is I look at government as a non-profit operation just like Red Cross or Salvation Army.  I would go in with independent auditors.  I would have the auditors match the call to action from the Legislature the language there with the office and to account for the staffing there and make sure that everybody who is there should be there and is effective at executing the wishes of the Legislature.

TJ: Your party’s presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, has typically polled in the single to low double digits. He has had a few missteps including a slip up on Aleppo.  Do you fully support him for president?

MR: I’d like to address that Aleppo issue. I read the transcript and right before the newsperson asked that question, ‘what about Aleppo’, they were talking about a domestic issue.  Gary confused it with an acronym…a government acronym…there are so many.  And had that journalist had the professionalism to say and ‘now we’re switching to Syria and the seat of all the refugee problems…can you tell us how you feel about what’s going on in Aleppo’, then you would have gotten a great answer out of Gary Johnson. That was really unfair that the media jumped on just that one soundbite and really destroyed his possibilities.

TJ: But he also had a little hiccup on naming the president of Mexico when he was the governor of New Mexico.

MR: You know, we all have hiccups. Another thing that they asked him is who is your favorite foreign leader.  Well, maybe he didn’t have one.  I don’t. I don’t have a favorite foreign leader. I don’t concentrate on whether they’re favored or unfavorable. What I concentrate on is are they good world actors?

AV: Last but not least, why should people vote for you over your opponents, Doug Burgum and Marvin Nelson?

MR: I really respect those two guys.  And one thing I really felt good about is when the three of us were on the stage, we were collaborative…we were coming up with ideas. It was really a question, for me anyway, the proposals that we’re making, what do you like? If you like my proposals, then vote for me. If you like Doug’s proposals or Marvin’s proposals, then vote for them. But I just think that we’ve got a wonderful race.

A reminder that Democrat Marvin Nelson will be here on Tuesday night at 6.
Election Day is November 8th and early voting in Cass County begins on Monday.

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