Two years ago I wrote about a moose who wandered onto the Capitol grounds. It received local news coverage and I compared myself to the moose in three ways.

First, like the moose, I spent plenty of time at the Capitol during the 2017 legislative session.

Second, the moose was new to the Capitol grounds, as I was also new to the Capitol during the 2017 legislative session. Finally, the moose and I were both searching.  The moose may have been searching for new grazing opportunities at the Capitol.  I, on the other hand, was and continue to always be searching for new opportunities and approaches to make a difference in the legislature for our shared beliefs.

One of the “benefits” I reaped from that weekly email was the nickname “moose” from friends and coworkers. I’m actually quite fine with that. A moose is an animal that nicely represents our state. It’s a creature who is not easily swayed and is a stately animal. But now two years later—am I still a moose?

A lot of things have changed since the 2017 legislative session. During this year’s session I was able to testify dozens more times on family issues. Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota® received much more TV, radio, and written media coverage on key issues, and we have now become the “go-to” organization for many media outlets when it comes to these topics. You, our ministry partners, responded in even greater numbers to our calls to action and made a huge difference on critical votes, especially on pro-life bills. Finally, we won 70% of the bills on which we engaged this session!

It was truly by God’s grace that all this happened. However, it still meant that there were times when things were absolutely crazy – quickly preparing testimony, running from room to room testifying, trying to talk to a huge number of legislators before a key vote, etc. The funny thing is, I loved it, knowing I was doing all I could to represent your biblical values in the halls of the Capitol. We are already strategizing for the 2020 November elections and the 2021 legislative session and it’s exciting.

So, am I still a moose? I suppose I am, but a changed moose. Perhaps this session I was the equivalent of a caffeinated and more strategic moose. I’m not sure precisely what that looks like, but I’m ok with it. The important thing is that I’m your moose on pro-family and pro-life values, and I won’t be swayed from representing these during legislative sessions and year-round. Besides, I don’t want a new nickname – I don’t see how anyone could top “moose”.

Sincerely,

Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director

Christmas is a time of reflection. Unfortunately, its often so busy for many of us that our Savior’s birth can sometimes take a backseat to all the other trappings of the season. I have to admit, with the 2019 legislative session quickly approaching, it’s easy to be fixated on things such as bills and legislative calendars, other than the “reason for the season”.

I would remind all of us that it’s all about Christmas. Without our Savior’s birth, none of what you or I do would have meaning. When Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota® advances pro-life and pro-family bills on your behalf, it’s because Christ was born in a manager and our mandate as Christians is to act on our faith. When you and I elect candidates who uphold biblical values, as we did to great effect last month, it’s because we are upholding the Christian values upon which this great country was founded – beliefs that only have their meaning in the Christ child. We will hopefully have many reasons to celebrate our successes protecting biblical values in 2019, but let’s remember that what happened over 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem provides the reason for our entire lives, including our work in the policy arena.

The new year represents an opportunity. An opportunity to be obedient and represent values embodied in our faith. An opportunity to show Christ’s love to those who may disagree with us. An opportunity to make a difference in a fallen world. Let’s not squander those opportunities.

May God bless you and your family this Christmas season as we celebrate our Lord’s birth. From Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota and our own family, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director

Urgent Update: Sen. Heitkamp Says She’s Voting NO on Kavanaugh. Last Chance to Call!

The long-awaited vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh is finally about to happen. In case you haven’t heard, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp just announced that she plans to vote NO. Will you call her office today and respectfully ask her to reverse her position and vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh?

Her D.C. number is (202) 224-2043. If you can’t get through or would like to call additional offices, here are numbers to her in-state offices:  Bismarck: (701) 258-4648; Dickinson: (701) 225-0974; Fargo: (701) 232-8030; Grand Forks: (701) 775-9601; Minot: (701) 852-0703

In addition to calling (most important), please also send a quick message by email here, even if you have done so before.

The attacks on Judge Kavanaugh have been unprecedented and – as the FBI interviews reportedly confirm – unfounded. The Left opposes him for ideological reasons and for his demonstrated commitment to the Constitution. With votes likely starting tomorrow, it’s critical that the rest of us speak up, too.  Thanks for speaking up and spreading the word!

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase, “tell me a story”? For me, it’s the tune of Children’s Bible Hour and their theme song. “Tell me a story, tell me a story, tell me a story Aunt B…”. I loved listening to their Saturday night radio program that came on right around bath time. I still have fond memories of learning how to be a Christian right where I was: in school, home, church, playing with friends, etc. One brief story can be far more impactful than many words trying to convey the same point. But stories have their limitations.

For the past few weeks, stories have been the top headlines; specifically, the accounts/stories told by Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford. As is often true, both of their stories have been impactful. They have each told very different stories of events that happened decades ago. Unfortunately, a seat on the Supreme Court has been focused largely on these stories.

Stories are told from a point of view, but what really matters in proceedings such as this are the facts: what is verifiable, can be proven to be true, and can be substantiated by witnesses. Facts are much more elusive than what you find in stories. It is my hope and prayer that the U.S. Senate will base their up or down vote on Judge Kavanaugh on confirmed facts.

Not unlike these confirmation hearings, we hear stories everyday about North Dakota candidates running for office this fall. Their stories are interesting, but I ask you to look at the facts. What are the facts concerning a candidate? What does their voting record show? How have they acted in the past that provides a factual account of where their priorities lie?

For example, has the candidate told you a story about how they values women’s lives, but the facts show they’ve supported the killing of thousands of baby girls? Has the candidate said they represent North Dakotans, but the facts say otherwise, with huge political campaign contributions from out of state? When a candidate says they “will keep fighting to keep our communities strong and safe”, but votes for laws that would ultimately allow men in your daughter’s locker room, the facts speak for themselves.

When you enter the voting booth on November 6, I trust you will vote on the facts. Stories are great, but when the future of your state and country hang in the balance, facts are what matter most.

Sincerely,

Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director

 

It has been two years since our family moved to North Dakota. A lot has happened since then. I’m proud to say we fully embrace and love being North Dakotans!

Some of you have made comments over the past two years that may on the surface seem ordinary, but have meant a great deal to me. For example, the first time somebody said I was “a true NODAK”. Or the time I called a ministry partner and after I said only my name he stopped me and said, “You’re from Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota, aren’t you?”. Then there is the tendency of my wife and me to occasionally say “North Dakoota” in casual conversation (I’m not sure how to spell it, but you know what I mean). We still have some habits from other places we’ve lived, such as giving directions using I-94 exit numbers or complaining more than we should about our winters, but they are falling away little by little.

Out of nostalgia, I dug up my very first weekly email from 2016 and reread it. It was about unpacking boxes and how you appreciate the “small things in life” like chairs, when you move and have to sit on the floor to eat supper. However, there was one particular sentence that caught my attention. It said, “The ability to worship and express our constitutional right to vote our convictions is something most of us probably appreciate on election day, but the rest of the year it is likely ‘under the radar’”.

I did not know the circumstances we would be in as North Dakotans two years later with hugely important races hanging in the balance. Lord willing, all of us will vote our convictions on November 6, but let’s make sure we appreciate these foundational freedoms the rest of the year as well. We live in an amazing country, one to which our ancestors immigrated for a better life and often for religious freedom. Let’s never forget that fact, but remember that how we vote shapes those freedoms for the future.

Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota is continuing to call, canvass, endorse, and use social media to let you know what is at stake in the upcoming election and where candidates stand on the issues. This all takes resources over and above our normal operating costs, which is why we so appreciate your financial support of our election efforts. In addition, we are coming to the end of our organization’s fiscal year and want to “finish strong”, so your gift means that much more.

If you feel called to help us with our election activities, it’s easy. You can simply go our election donation page and donate, or if you prefer, give me a call at 701-355-6425 and we’ll figure out some other way to make it happen. We still have a dollar-for-dollar match available, so any election donation is doubled!

We are counting on you to help elect Godly men and women to key offices in Congress and here in North Dakota, and we know you will deliver on your solemn duty. Thank you for your devotion to family values and life at all stages. We are proud to represent and partner with you, my fellow North Dakotans!

Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote…that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society, for which he is accountable to God and his country.

Sincerely,

Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director

I am asked on a regular basis what we do at Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota. More specifically, I am asked what we do to represent and defend your pro-life and pro-family values.

There are many ways that we represent you, but I’d like to list a few of the more important ones. On an average day, we at Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota engage in some or all of these types of tasks on your behalf.

We perform this work on a daily basis, year-in and year-out, representing you and your family. I could provide more examples, but the video at the top of this email says it better than I can. Please take two minutes and hear from one family what Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota means to them.

All of this work takes resources. That’s why I’m asking you to prayerfully consider helping us fund our current primary focus: election activities. Our election work protecting your values will stretch for many months—right up to election day—and your support today will be stretched even further! Thanks to generous ministry partners, we have two matching grants, allowing you to TRIPLE your giving today!

AND…

Show Washington what values you and your family stand for!  Donate now and automatically get the appropriate match applied by going to our dedicated election fundraising website or contact me personally at 701-355-6425 if you’d like to donate by check or some other method.  Thank you so much for helping us ensure God-fearing candidates are elected this November!

Sincerely,

Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director

As many of you may remember, the sitcom Roseanne aired for most of the ‘90s. It was certainly not one of my favorite shows, and after a couple episodes I left to view other television offerings. I found the show to be offensive in many respects, despite the glowing ratings and reviews it received from the media.

One of the show’s key tenants was to introduce provocative storylines, such as introducing gay characters and giving credibility to abortion as a viable alternative for a pregnant mother . The show’s moral compass was severely lacking to say the least, and unfortunately helped to normalize some of the worst possible influences on our society.

So now it’s 2018, and there has been a reboot of the series. One of the most significant differences is that Roseanne and her family are portrayed as supporters of President Trump. You would think that would bring some comfort to those of us who believe in a Christian worldview…but hold your enthusiasm.

After just two episodes, it is quite apparent that it’s the same old Roseanne, albeit in a slightly more nuanced package. These episodes have already addressed a cross-dressing seven-year-old and more implicitly the abortion issue under the guise of surrogacy. In other words, it pays lip service to conservative Christians, but not much has changed in its message.

I had a small glimmer of hope when I first heard about this new version of the show, but it’s once again disappointing. However, what is perhaps even more disheartening is that these issues are considered even more mainstream since the show first aired a couple decades ago. The new show doesn’t need to shove these issues down our throats, but simply needs to further legitimize them in a culture whose acceptance is already established in many ways.

Despite this discouraging outlook, we should not give up spreading our message of love, forgiveness, and Christian values. Pray that the show’s producers reconsider their message, and please reach out to them to express your views. We can make a difference, but only by speaking out. Let your voice be heard!

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.  Ephesians 4:15

Sincerely,

Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director

P.S. Here’s a quick reminder that we will be hosting our Annual Fargo Dessert Banquet at the Hilton Garden Inn on April 10. We still have seats available, but they’re going fast and space is limited. RSVP online or call 701.219.0948 to reserve your seat(s). We look forward to seeing you there for an evening highlighting the many ways you can partner with us to preserve biblical values in North Dakota!

The question I pose may be an affront to you, or at least you might consider it inappropriate, but the answer is critical. To those of us who are Christian, a girl is worth an infinite amount, because we believe that all people are created in the image of God. However, there are those who undoubtedly answer this by saying, “who cares?”

The “who cares?” answer denigrates the value of women and girls, and fundamentally gives rise to things like prostitution and human trafficking.

Human trafficking is the trade of humans for the purpose of forced labor, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others. It represents one of the darkest, most deplorable aspects of our fallen world. Fortunately, North Dakota has strong laws in place to prevent it and to punish those engaged in human trafficking. However, you and I know that if there is the potential for huge illegal monetary gain, an industry – illegal drug trafficking for example – will be created to supply that demand, regardless of laws.

I’ve often heard people state that human trafficking is a big problem in places such as the Bakken. While it is a problem there, let me fill you in on a secret: human trafficking is foremost a problem concentrated in urban areas around the state. If you think about it, it makes sense. Urban areas often place less importance on family values in line with yours and mine, and all other things held constant, the demand for trafficked girls is going to be proportionate to the number of people in an area.

So, what can you do to help stop human trafficking in our state? We need to be aware that this is happening right here in North Dakota – it is often too easy to assume this is a problem that happens somewhere else. We need to talk about it and raise the awareness of this awful crime. In the meantime, please pray for these young girls and women. They are vulnerable and need our Heavenly Father to help them escape this destructive practice.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it well. Psalm 139:14

Sincerely,

President and Executive Director

P.S. Remember that we will be hosting our Annual Fargo Dessert Banquet at the Hilton Garden Inn on April 10. We still have seats available, so please join us for an exciting evening and learn about the many ways you can help us preserve biblical values in North Dakota. Space is limited and advance reservations are required, so RSVP online or call 701.219.0948 to reserve your seat(s). We look forward to seeing you there!

This week I want to remind you that Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota will be hosting our Annual Fargo Dessert Banquet at the Hilton Garden Inn on April 10. We know our dessert banquets have been very popular in past years, so we are very excited to again offer this opportunity to rally around pro-family and pro-life efforts in our state.

Our keynote speaker for the banquet will be Steve Deace. Steve hosts a daily show for CRTV, the online conservative network also featuring Mark Levin, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty, and more. Each day he covers the intersection between culture and conservatism. He’s also a prolific writer, whose work has appeared in USA Today, Business Insider, Politico, Conservative Review, and Breitbart among others. His most recent book, A Nefarious Plot, will soon be adapted into a motion picture. Steve will have books available for purchase and will be sticking around to sign them as well after the banquet.

In addition to Steve Deace, we will have several other guests. Paul Weber, CEO of Family Policy Alliance, will provide a brief update on nation-wide family issues. I will have the opportunity to update you on what we’ve accomplished this past year and our plans for the future as we approach the November elections and 2019 state legislative session. We will also be presenting our first-ever Family Champion Award to a local business known for their commitment to faith, family and freedom. Finally, we will be blessed to have both a soloist and choir to provide inspirational music.

Please join us for an exciting evening and learn about the many ways you can help us preserve biblical values in North Dakota. Space is limited and advance reservations are required, so please make your reservation online today or call 701.219.0948 to reserve your seat(s).

We look forward to seeing you there!

Sincerely,

Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director

 

Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota partners with many other pro-family and pro-life organizations throughout the state to advance your most cherished values. A story highlighted by FirstChoice Clinic, one of our partners, caught my attention. FirstChoice Clinic staff experienced a “first” when they were able to guide a young pregnant woman through a chemical-abortion reversal, undoing the effects of the RU486 drug that would have ended the life of her baby.

This pregnant woman had been conflicted over her decision to abort her child through chemical means and began to have doubts after ingesting one of two pills given to her by the Red River Women’s Clinic (the abortion clinic in North Dakota that takes the lives of roughly 1,200 preborn children each year). The RU486 abortion process begins to take place when the first of two pills is taken by the mother.

Even though this young mother had taken the first of these, she regretted her decision and now wanted her child to live.

She called the abortion facility, but was told it was too late and that she should just consume the remaining pill and move forward with the abortion. She then contacted our partner, FirstChoice, and they told her the truth – that she could still stop the process – and they provided a prescription to undo the chemical abortion.

Shortly thereafter she had the joy of witnessing the ultrasound image of her beautiful baby safely tucked in her womb. She carried her preborn child to full term and her healthy little baby boy was born months later!

This story is important for a few reasons. First, it highlights the critical nature of the work of Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota and its allies like FirstChoice Clinic in protecting our children through efforts in the policy arena, providing medical services, and even reaching out firsthand to expectant mothers on the curb in front of our state’s abortion clinic.

Second, it shows to what lengths the abortion industry is willing to go to kill these children. They did not share the truth with a mother about a life-saving option for her child. If we cannot trust them to tell the truth to a young mother, it brings into question the other “information” they provide to these vulnerable women and the public at large.

Finally, it gives hope. Hope is a powerful thing, and when someone feels they are “at the end of their rope”, hope can seem very far away. But our hope is in Christ, and that hope conquers all. As it says in Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. God had a plan and future for this little child.

That young mother received hope, by God’s grace, and through that hope the precious life of her child was saved. May we continue to pray and trust in the Lord that all these young mothers considering abortion may find the hope they need to let these children live, and may we never give up electing and supporting leaders who cherish life and are willing to fight on behalf of these little ones.

Sincerely,

Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director

Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota believes that parents have a God-given responsibility and right to direct the upbringing and education of their children. Toward this end, we believe that education savings accounts (ESAs) are one option to consider when it comes to school choice.

What is an ESA? As described by EdChoice (formerly the Friedman Foundation), Education savings accounts (ESAs) allow parents to withdraw their children from public district or charter schools and receive a deposit of public funds into government-authorized savings accounts with restricted, but multiple, uses. Those funds—often distributed to families via debit card—can cover private school tuition and fees, online learning programs, private tutoring, community college costs, higher education expenses and other approved customized learning services and materials.

Potential benefits of ESAs ESAs allow parents to fully tailor their child’s entire educational experience. Families know best what type of education children need to succeed, and ESAs give families the keys to unlock that experience for their children. Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota wants to help launch children to success and access the education best suited for them to lay this critical foundation.

Have ESAs been tried before? states have already established some sort of successful ESA programs for their children, and many more are currently considering ESAs. At least thirteen other states so far this year have recognized the benefits of ESAs and have introduced legislation that would establish them.

How does the money work? If North Dakota were to implement ESAs, some percentage of the per-pupil state contribution to aid formula (75% suggested in a bill introduced during the 2017 legislative session) would go into an ESA for the student to be used by parents. The remaining amount (25% using the aforementioned example) would still go to the local school district, despite not incurring the variable costs associated with the student that no longer attends their institution. Based on a typical school year, this means that thousands of dollars would be allocated for each child whose parents utilize ESA contributions.

What are the downsides of ESAs? Parents are sometimes worried that receiving government funding in the form of ESAs will allow the state government to impose additional testing and related restrictions on their teaching methods. School districts worry that fixed school costs (e.g., school buildings) still need to be paid, even if they have lower enrollment and unused space. We believe that both of these potential problems can be addressed with the appropriately worded legislation, as has been successfully done in other states.

Are ESAs a good idea? Overall, Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota believes that ESAs are in many ways an excellent option when it comes to school choice. They give a sizable amount of freedom to parents on how to best educate their children and ESAs explicitly recognize that educating our children is a parental responsibility, not the responsibly of the public educational system.

If you agree, please contact your legislators and let them know you support ESAs.

Your voice makes all the difference when it comes to protecting family values and school choice in North Dakota!

Sincerely,

Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director