North Dakota doesn't need a new residence for the governor, and lawmakers should spend their time on more important and pressing issues.
A bill authorizing $3 million to build a new official Governor's Residence failed this week in the House, just as previous attempts to designate money for a new dwelling have failed.
The home has been part of the capitol grounds since 1960. It's not a fancy home, and it doesn't stand out among the other buildings on the grounds, instead blending in quietly. It has served eight governors, and its current resident, Gov. Jack Dalrymple, called the home "perfectly adequate" and said there is no need to build a new residence.
The home, by all accounts, does need some maintenance and upgrading, and that should be done as soon as possible. If the roof leaks a bit, fix it. If lead paint and asbestos needs to be removed, do it. But lawmakers who think the state should build a gleaming new home simply because we're enjoying a billion-dollar budget surplus are wrong. Why do we need to build an extravagant governor's residence to impress visitors? That's not the North Dakota way. A flashy mansion would look out of place and gaudy against a backdrop of the simple, understated and conservative Capitol.
At some point in the future, a new residence for the governor will be necessary, but that time has not yet come. And when that day arrives, years from now, the state still doesn't need to spend $3 million to build it.