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Golis: On the road where the bison and the antelope play

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Golis: On the road where the bison and the antelope play


“When you get to the four mailboxes, turn left and go six miles …” — Directions from a Montana rancher

MEDORA, North Dakota

Back in March, I worried a shortage of electric vehicle chargers would keep us from visiting North Dakota. But here we are in Medora, the town that bumps up against Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

OK, so we cheated. We drove our EV to Missoula, Montana, and then rented a gas-powered car to take us into the far reaches of northeastern Montana and then to neighboring North Dakota.

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You can drive a long way in northeastern Montana and parts of North Dakota without seeing another person, much less an electric vehicle charging station. (In EV sales, North Dakota ranks second to last among the states.)

So, yeah, we cheated.

The (many) miles of wheat fields, beef cattle, wide-open prairie and the eroded formations that came to be called badlands and river breaks remind us that eastern Montana won’t be confused with the parts of Montana defined by big mountains and big trees.

Eastern Montana is beautiful, too, but it is different.

And there’s a lot happening, including celebrations of Lewis and Clark, the retelling of injustices committed against Native Americans, dinosaur museums, the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, the Missouri Breaks and the American Prairie Reserve, an ambitious conservation project that aims to “re-wild” large sections of the prairie. (Some ranchers are not fans.)

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We began in Fort Benton, hard on the Missouri River. It happens to be the oldest town in Montana, and before the transcontinental railroad, it was the last stop for Missouri River commerce. The statue overlooking the river honors Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and Sacagawea for their contributions to the exploration of the West. Historian Stephen Ambrose wrote of their “undaunted courage,” and that seems about right. They came through these parts in 1805, 41 years before the founding of Fort Benton.

East of Big Sandy and south of Havre (pronounced have-er), we ventured into the confusion of unmarked gravel roads that pass through the Bear’s Paw Mountains and link to some sizable ranches. (The 66,000 acres of the IX Ranch were recently listed for $66 million.)

We drove 60 miles of bumpy roads, and we might still be wandering this picturesque landscape, save for the kindness of strangers.

“When you get to the four mailboxes, turn left and go 6 miles,” explained the rancher who has lived on this land for 51 years. “Then turn right at the old stage cabin.”

He seemed bemused that these city folks would be wanting to explore an area with fewer road signs than pronghorn antelope and pheasant.

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“If you get lost, just ask someone for help,” counseled a grocery store clerk in Big Sandy, “you’ll find nice people out there.”

She was right. The grocery store clerk, the hotel clerk who called his hunting guide brother (not once but twice), the guy who happened to come by for a grocery store coffee, the squirrel hunters with their own relief map, the rancher who spent his life on this land — all were kind and generous with their time, eager to save us from the embarrassment of being lost.

Or more lost.

Back on Highway 2, known locally as the Hi-Line, we came to the “Middle of Nowhere,” the title now claimed by the citizens of Glasgow, Montana.

Using data gathered by researchers at Oxford University, the Washington Post sought to identify cities of more than 1,000 people found to be the farthest distance from cities of 75,000 or more people, and Glasgow was the winner.

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Some cities might have bridled at being described as the Middle of Nowhere, but Glasgow — on Highway 2, not far from the Canadian border — put up signs celebrating its newly won recognition.

Like other towns along Highway 2, Glasgow (pop. 3,192) feels like its own world. To the west, it’s 69 miles to Malta (pop. 1,868), and to the east, 49 miles to Wolf Point (pop. 2,578).

We drove south from Glasgow to what is still the largest earthen dam in the country. Fort Peck Dam and Fort Peck Lake are astonishing in their scale. The dam is 4 miles long. The lakeshore is longer than the California coast. The dam contains 48 times as much water as Warm Springs Dam. At the height of the Depression, this Works Progress Administration project employed 10,500 people here.

Montanans are exercised right now about a run-up in property taxes. We even saw a sign blaming the conservative Republican governor, Greg Gianforte.

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North Dakota

Voters Here Just Passed Age Limits for Congress

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Voters Here Just Passed Age Limits for Congress


Tuesday’s GOP primary in North Dakota is now over, and the victors are celebrating. Nestled in with those announcements is one regarding a “high-profile initiative” that voters also passed: Candidates out of the Peace Garden State can’t run for US Congress (so neither the Senate nor the House) if they would turn 81 years old at any point during their term, per the AP. Axios reports that this appears to be the first state to impose a measure like this, with both that outlet and the New York Times noting the vote comes against the backdrop of the conversation on how old President Biden (81) and former President Trump (turning 78 on Friday) are as they run for the Oval Office again.

The ballot measure would effectively amend the state’s constitution. Still, lawmakers concede that the move will likely be challenged in court, as a 1995 Supreme Court ruling determined that states “cannot impose additional restrictions, such as term limits, on its representatives in the federal government beyond those provided by the Constitution.” Although there are age minimums laid out in the US Constitution—25 for the House, 30 for the Senate—there’s no cap on the max end.

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Jared Hendrix, a GOP politician from Fargo who helped spearhead the North Dakota initiative, thinks his state is only the first to move in this direction, especially since US opinion polls over the past few years show that a majority of Americans would be all for maximum age limits. “I think it’s very possible that if we pull this off here, other states will follow,” Hendrix said before Tuesday’s election, per the Times. (More North Dakota stories.)





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North Dakota voters approve age limit for members of US Congress

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North Dakota voters approve age limit for members of US Congress


North Dakota voters approved a ballot initiative during their primary election on Tuesday that would place an age limit on candidates in the state running for U.S. congressional seats.

The measure, believed to be the first of its kind in the country, prohibits anyone from running or serving in the U.S. House or Senate from North Dakota if they would turn 81 years old or older during their term.

However, several outlets have reported the constitutional amendment will likely be challenged in court.

A little over 60% of voters approved the measure during the state’s primary election.

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It reads: “No person may be elected or appointed to serve a term or a portion of a term in the U.S. Senate or the U.S. House of Representatives if that person could attain 81 years of age by December 31st of the year immediately preceding the end of the term.”

If implemented, it would not affect any current U.S. Congress members from North Dakota.

The novel ban comes at a time when the age and fitness for duty of legislative leaders and presidential candidates are being heavily discussed — though age does not always lead to cognitive decline.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Politics

9:08 PM, Aug 12, 2023

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Should age limits be set for US elected officials in office?

The current Congress, the 118th, is the second-oldest Senate and third-oldest House in American history.

According to an NBC News analysis last year, the median age for U.S. senators is the highest on record at 65.

Currently, there are over a dozen senators over 75 years old, three of whom are over 80: Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa (90), Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (82) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (82).

McConnell faced public pressure for freezing twice during press conferences last year and having to be escorted away, but he said it wasn’t due to a stroke. The longest-serving Senate leader will step down from the role next year, but plans to finish out his Senate term, which doesn’t end until 2027.

There are at least 20 U.S. representatives who are 80 years old or older, including former Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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At 81, President Joe Biden is the oldest sitting U.S. president, and he would be 86 years old by the end of a second term if he is reelected. Former President Donald Trump turns 78 this week.

The two are the oldest candidates to seek the White House, and both have argued they are fit for the position despite their age.

They’re also among the oldest world leaders, according to a report from Pew Research Center. Data shows the median age of current global leaders is 62.



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Who is Cara Mund? Anti-Trump former Miss America loses Republican primary for North Dakota’s sole US House seat

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Who is Cara Mund? Anti-Trump former Miss America loses Republican primary for North Dakota’s sole US House seat


Former Miss America-turned politician Cara Mund, who recognised herself as a staunch anti-Trump Republican, failed the bid to secure the GOP congressional primary to become North Dakota’s first female member of the United States House of Representatives.

Cara Mund was the lone contender from her state to win the Miss America title in 2017, at the age of 23. (X@CaraMund)

Mund was the lone contender from her state to win the Miss America title in 2017, at the age of 23. After attending public schools, she joined Brown University for her undergraduate degree and then earned her law degree from Harvard Law School. Later, she launched a campaign for Congress as an Independent.

She was competing in Republican primary to take over the seat vacated by Rep. Kelly Armstrong, who is vying for the North Dakota’s executive seat after Gov. Doug Burgum withdrew from the presidential nomination contest and declared he would not seek reelection as governor.

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The pageant queen, who had blasted Trump and North Dakota’s abortion legislation, lost the campaign to Julie Fedorchak, who garnered 46% of the vote in the state’s 1st Congressional District. Mund finished in third position, with 19.6% of the vote.

Mund lambasts Trump, says ‘I’ll be on the right side of history’

As she has identified herself as an anti-Trump, she has been vocal in her condemnation of the former president, particularly in light of his felony conviction.

“Proud to be the ONLY ND Republican Candidate not worshiping a convicted felon during this election,” Mund said in a post on X after Trump was convicted in hush money trial.

“I’ll be the voice of ND, not Donald Trump. I’ll be the leader who helps move the party back to law and order. I’ll be on the right side of history,” the former beauty queen added.

Also Read: Donald Trump calls Taylor Swift ‘very beautiful’ but says she’s also…

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In another post, she blasted her opponents for supporting and promoting Trump.

“My opponents want to put women’s healthcare in the hands of the government and care more about pleasing and promoting Trump than protecting democracy.”

Mund and 2018 Miss America pageant

She was not hesitant from speaking about contentious issues at the 2018 Miss America pageant.

During the contest, Mund condemned the Trump administration for withdrawing from the Paris climate pact.

Following her victory, she became entangled in a public feud with the Miss America Organization leadership, claiming she was “silenced,” and marginalized” in her role as Miss America.

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In 2022, she competed for the state’s sole congressional seat as an independent. According to the Independent, she was prompted by the leaked Dobbs ruling, which signaled the end of abortion rights. With 37.6% of the vote, Mund faced defeat against incumbent Armstrong.

Mund’s opponent Julie Fedorchak, who formerly served as Public Service Commissioner, earned Trump’s support for her campaign, which she has boasted about on her social media accounts.



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