Well, now Minnesota lawmakers know the real story behind the North Dakota Capitol.
About a month ago, Minnesota legislator Matt Dean poked fun at our state's 242-foot tall Capitol, likening it to an insurance company headquarters despite admittedly never having been inside the Capitol. Fittingly, Dean's comments received a fair amount of criticism, and he later said he was joking when he made the comments.?Still, the comments were not well-received in North Dakota.
Last week, one of his fellow lawmakers found out first-hand what the Capitol is really like. Minnesota state Rep. Michael Beard visited Bismarck and took a tour of the Capitol, which is undergoing a $2.8 million restoration. He came away impressed, but that really wasn't what North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple was trying to do.
Our Capitol was never intended to be impressive, although it certainly is that. Rather, the building was built for $2 million in 1934, with a minimum of extras. It's simple, functional, full of history, and above all, properly represents the work ethic of the North Dakotans who built it. There was no reason to build some fancy building in 1934 to replace the original Capitol, which burned in 1930, because North?Dakotans have not traditionally been ones to spend money needlessly on glitz over substance.
We hope Dean eventually visits the North Dakota Capitol, so he, too, can understand the history and functionality of the building and better understand the state's people, too.