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  • Writer's pictureRetha Mattern

Doorbells and discussions

I've had the amazing opportunity the past few days to meet so many people in District 7 and talk to them about what I stand for and who I am. I've also been given the opportunity to listen to individuals and hear what their concerns are. There have been a few themes, as well as unique perspectives on issues that I wouldn't have known about until hearing how it impacted an individual.

Here are just a few highlights:

- Property tax. It should come as no surprise that many people are frustrated at the continued rise in property taxes. While there have been several attempts at providing property tax relief over the past few legislative sessions, it has very rarely resulted in an actual decrease in the homeowner paying less than they did the year before. Most people I spoke to on this topic say they're not against paying their fair share, and they are willing to pay for the services that property tax supports, but they're frustrated at paying more and seeing less come from it. With inflation driving home values higher, homeowners are on the hook for more without making any actual improvements to their living space.

- Schools. I talked to residents near both Liberty Elementary and Legacy High Schools, and they're concerned about the sizes of classes, the low ratio of nurses and counselors to students, and the increasing social and emotional needs of students, with threats of violence by students against staff becoming more frequent.

- The political environment. People feel frustrated and overlooked by politicians and those claiming to represent them, and are trying to find ways to make their voice heard. Some are responding by increasing their engagement in meetings and conventions, looking to find someone who will carry their voice forward, while others are shying away from those same events due to feeling intimidated or unwelcome. How do we work to create an environment where all people feel valued for the individual perspectives they bring, are able to respect others who share the same values and concerns but may have different ideas on the path forward, and can work collaboratively to make North Dakota the best it can be?

What are your concerns? What are the issues you find most important, and what do you want to see done about them?

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