Here is what I am thinking about this morning:

On Monday, I had the honor of representing North Dakota United at the ND Teacher of the Year (TOY) ceremony in Memorial Hall of the state Capitol. Kristi Reinke, a social studies teacher at Jim Hill Middle School in Minot, was named the 2021 ND TOY. Kristi, who is a past president of the Minot Education Association, was chosen from a group of four finalists. Two of the other finalists were also ND United members: Dana Kasowski, a Wahpeton Middle School special education teacher, and Corey Volk, a science teacher at Bismarck’s South Central High School. Jana Gudmundson, a technology integration specialist and instructional coach at Park River Area Schools, was the other finalist. In my remarks, I mentioned that being a finalist for the Teacher of the Year award in North Dakota, a state blessed with so many outstanding educators, was an honor unto itself. Congratulations, Ms. Reinke, on your well-deserved recognition.

As I write this, we are exactly six weeks away from what may well be the most consequential election of my lifetime. There is a great deal at stake: affordable healthcare, the protection of people with pre-existing conditions, healthcare coverage for our children until age 26, a fair economy that works for all of us, and competent, fact-based responses to the current pandemic. Regardless of whom you support, please keep these issues front of mind as you cast what will be a historic vote. You can request a ballot HERE.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the passing of a giant and personal hero of mine. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was a champion of equality from the moment she was denied a clerkship after graduating tied for first in her law school class at Columbia University until she drew her last breath. She worked tirelessly to ensure that the law was evenly applied to all Americans regardless of sex, race, religion or sexual orientation. She truly believed in the concept of justice for all, and because of her work, my daughters and all women live in a world that is more just – though there is still much to do, particularly in the area of equal pay for equal work. She will be missed. It is my fervent hope that her replacement on the Supreme Court is someone who shares her ideals and values.