Why ND xPlains? Why Now? An Introduction.

Earlier this year I decided I wanted to bring the North Dakota Capitol to life. To do so I’d communicate about what was going on in committee rooms, on the respective chamber floors, and behind the brass rails where a lot of the decisions are actually made. I wanted to share with you what it was like to be in the legislature during the 80 days lawmakers gathered. That all changed on Tuesday, November 8th when many of us found out we weren’t going back to Bismarck to continue our public service. Except, it doesn’t really change anything for the vision of this site. In fact, it allows for a greater expansion in the breadth of topics we will be able to cover. The differences are I have to say “former” instead of “current” in front of State Senator, and I’ll need to be more innovative in how we deliver the stories not being told anywhere else.

ND xPlains stemmed from the feedback I’ve received from many of you on social media. Over the four years I was in the North Dakota Senate, I would share what was happening in Bismarck on Facebook. Frequently I’d hear, “The only way I know what is going on in the State Capitol is by following your updates and explanations.” Though flattered, it is a glimpse into the larger problem I see in North Dakota. Limited reporting of what is going on. There are many reasons for that I suppose, and we’ll dive into that at another time. But the fact is, I would spend all week in Bismarck during session only to return to Fargo every weekend and hardly see a single nightly news segment on what happened in the legislature that week. At times it was as if they completely missed we were making life impacting decisions. That will change with ND xPlains.

The day following the election I told everyone that my service to you was not over. I consider ND xPlains as a next step in serving you. I will contest that perhaps now, more than any other time, we need a platform like this. A platform of transparency and accountability for those working on our behalf. A platform to explain what motives our elected officials have even when they’re not clearly presented. A platform to have the conversation with you on how we can do better moving forward.

We will lay out the landscape of politics on the plains. We will explain why things are in their current state. We will talk about North Dakota politics, plain and simple.

Tyler Axness
Creator & Writer

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