Preparing for a First for the PSC

By Tom Gerhardt, News Director, KX News

It’s something that’s never happened in the history of the Public Service Commission.

In January two new members will join Brian Kalk on the commission.

Julie Fedorchak and Randy Christmann will take the places of Kevin Cramer and Bonnie Fettig.

Fedorchak was appointed to fill out Kevin Cramer’s term. Cramer was elected to the US House.

I think that ten or fifteen years ago the Public Service Commission was more of a quiet area and people didn’t pay that much attention to it, but because of the energy growth both the demands of work here and awareness of the public is much higher so with added interest comes added attention and added responsibility I think it’s very exciting, it’s a huge honor,” says Julie Fedorchak

Christmann served as a state lawmaker for eighteen years. He was elected to the PSC and will take Bonnie Fetchs’ place.

As I looked at what might be most likely to ruin what we’ve done in the last eighteen years it’s the regulatory world. Now most likely that’s the EPA or some federal agency but it can also happen here, too, and so I thought where I can do the most good with the experience and the background I have is by moving into the regulatory world and so I pursued the Public Service Commission,” says Randy Christmann.

Fedorchak and Christmann officially begin their new positions in January.

Tom Seymour and Meyer Kinnoin: Supporting Christmann

With all the bickering and partisanship that has dominated this year’s elections, we feel an important point is being missed in the Public Service Commission race. Between us, we served in the North Dakota Senate with Randy Christmann for 14 years, 10 of those years on the same committee. Despite the fact that we are Democrats and Randy is Republican, we have always found ways to work together, and we consider Randy a good friend.

What we want readers to know is that we always found Randy Christmann to be a man of integrity. He works with people from both parties to do what is right for the people of North Dakota. Randy brings experience in agriculture, energy and telecommunications. Randy Christmann is clearly the right choice for the PSC.

We are proud to move past political lines and endorse Randy Christmann for the Public Service Commission.

Tom Seymour, Minot, and Meyer Kinnoin, Stanley

Letter to the Editor: Christmann for PSC

Steffanie Boeckel, Beulah

Elections have consequences, that why I’m voting for Randy Christmann for Public Service Commission.

On the national scene, the debate over cap and trade died after the November 2010 election when Republicans took back control of the House. However, I don’t believe the issue has died with Brad Crabtree, the Democrat’s candidate for the PSC.

In a February 2010 Bismarck Tribune article, Crabtree said he supports cap and trade. He goes on to say, “It’s my professional work, it’s my life’s work and just because I’m running for office, I’m not going to change that.”

If cap and trade were to pass, North Dakota’s lignite industry would be devastated. Our state would have about $15 billion in stranded assets along with thousands of unemployed miners and power plants workers.

In the November election, I support Republican Randy Christmann. He understands and supports the lignite industry. He has served for many years both in the Legislature as a state senator and as vice chairman of Lignite Research Council.

The choice couldn’t be any clearer. Christmann supports North Dakotans and good paying jobs. His opponent does not.

News Release: Hoeven, Dalrymple, Wrigley and state and local leaders endorse Christmann for PSC

BISMARCK, ND – Senator John Hoeven, Governor Jack Dalrymple and Lieutenant Governor Drew Wrigley today announced their support for Randy Christmann for Public Service Commission. Hoeven, Dalrymple and Wrigley were joined by nine statewide elected leaders, 96 state legislators, and 30 local elected officials who cited Christmann’s private and public sector leadership in helping to grow and expand North Dakota’s economy.


“Senator Christmann has been a hard-working senator and advocate for the state of North Dakota. As governor, I worked with Sen. Christmann to help grow and diversify our state’s economy,” said Hoeven. “Randy has a strong record of standing up and doing what is right for North Dakota, and his experience and leadership is what we need in the Public Service Commission.”


“Randy Christmann has served North Dakota well as a legislative leader for more than 15 years,” said Dalrymple. “He has the background and experience that the Public Service Commission needs. In these unique times, we need officials who respect and support private property owners’ rights. We need leaders who will work to continue the success of our energy and ag industries. That leader is Randy Christmann and I support him for Public Service Commissioner.”


“I’ve known Randy Christmann for several years,” said Wrigley. “Randy is a knowledgeable leader in our top industries, and he has a firm understanding of a balanced approach to energy development, which has helped make North Dakota one of the leading producers of energy for our nation. Through his hard work and dedication to public service, Randy has repeatedly demonstrated that he is the right choice for the Public Service Commission.”


Christmann has served as a State Senator for District 33 for 19 years, assistant majority leader for 12 years, and as a member of the Appropriations Committee for 10 years. Throughout his service, Christmann has helped put the policies in place to encourage development of both traditional and renewable energy resources, has helped pass more than $1 billion in funding for roads and infrastructure, and passed $639 million flood disaster relief.


State legislators also joined Hoeven and Dalrymple in their support of Christmann, pointing to his unique experience in the private sector to help develop North Dakota’s utilities and telecommunications while protecting landowners’ rights. Christmann is the owner of a 106-year-old, third generation ranch, and currently serves as the Vice President of the Lignite Research Council, as a Director of West River Telecommunications and as a Director of the ND Association of Telecommunications Cooperatives.


“Randy has the leadership skills and real-life experience to take to the Public Service Commission,” said Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner. “I’m proud to support a candidate that understands the balance that is needed between agriculture, energy, and local resources to help us continue growing our economy through fair and responsible regulation.”


“He has been a state leader who has brought increased transparency to government and government operations,” said Rep. Al Carlson, Majority Leader for the North Dakota House. “Randy will be a strong advocate for landowners and the citizens of North Dakota to ensure they continue to receive fair and consistent representation in the public Service Commission.”


Thirty local leaders also expressed their support for Christmann, highlighting his support for local government.


“I support Randy Christmann for Public Service Commissioner because dependable and affordable utilities are important to every local economy, in or out of the oil field,” said Jamestown Mayor Katie Andersen. “We need Randy on the Public Service Commission because he knows that North Dakota’s booming economy was not built through burdensome regulation but through development and utilization of our resources in a responsible way.”


“I’m humbled to receive the support of so many dedicated leaders and public servants,” said Christmann. “Each and every one of these individuals has played a vital role in making North Dakota the economic leader and bright spot in the nation that it is today, and I look forward to continuing working with them to continue North Dakota’s progress and prosperity.”


Randy Christmann is a Republican State Senator running for Public Service Commissioner. In 2000, Senate Republicans chose Randy to serve as their Assistant Majority Leader. He also serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee. Randy operates a 106-year-old third generation cattle ranch West of Hazen.


Click here to view the full list of endorsements

Forum editorial: Tested experience for PSC

Brad Crabtree seems to be running against North Dakota Public Service commissioners who are not on the ballot, rather than state Sen. Randy Christmann, the Republican-endorsed candidate. Crabtree, who is making his second run for the Public Service Commission, has been trying to make the case that sitting commissioners broke the law by accepting campaign contributions from interests with matters before the commission. While that allegation might or might not prove to be true, Christmann is Crabtree’s opponent, and the race should be about them.

On balance, Christmann is the better choice for the open PSC seat by virtue of his experience and record in public office and in the private sector. The veteran state senator has been involved in issues that routinely are on the PSC’s plate. He has wrestled with those matters in settings ranging from landowner concerns regarding power line and pipeline rights of way, to wind power installations and the coal country land reclamation. The Hazen legislator has been in the middle of coal country issues for decades.

A rancher, Christmann understands the importance of protecting land and water from the overreach of development. His real-life experiences have nurtured in him a pragmatic approach to development, in particular where the PSC would have regulatory jurisdiction.

Crabtree has advanced an impressive and balanced approach to energy that includes coal, oil and gas, and emphasizes support for wind and biomass. His platform is heavy on conservation and energy efficiency. He has a good grasp of other PSC responsibilities, including grain elevators, railroads and lignite technologies. There is little doubt he is knowledgeable enough to be a competent commissioner.

But competency should be complemented by practical, on-the-ground experience. As a legislator from energy country, a longtime cattle rancher and a director of a telecommunications company, Christmann meets that test better than his opponent. The state senator is more in sync with the PSC’s role in the context of North Dakota’s changing needs and priorities.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.

Minot Daily News: Christmann for PSC

Brad Crabtree and Randy Christmann have taken decidedly different paths in their quest to earn a seat on the Public Service Commission. Whoever joins the commission must have a breadth of experience and knowledge that covers issues from oil pipeline siting to wind farm regulations to coal reclamation to telecommunication concerns. That candidate is Christmann.

The three-member PSC plays a key role in shaping North Dakota’s future, especially during an energy boom that has seen exploding growth in the oil industry as well as increased roles for coal and wind production. The PSC also regulates a lot of important items that don’t necessarily draw a lot of attention, but it’s comforting to know the commission is overseeing issues relating to weights and measures, notably all sorts of scales scales and gas pumps.

Christmann, a lifelong rancher in the Hazen area, brings a more complete range of firsthand experience to the job. He’s been a respected member of the state Senate since 1994. He’s a longtime board member of a telecommunications co-op. He’s also a private landowner with personal knowledge of dealing with energy companies and siting concerns.

We believe Christmann’s let’s-work-together attitude and disposition would be less divisive than Crabtree’s ideological approach to the position. Christmann describes himself as “a low-key, background person who likes to do the grunt work.”

The Minot Daily News endorses Randy Christmann for the Public Service Commission.

News Release: Christmann Statement on Crabtree’s Radical Environmental Agenda

Bismarck, N.D. – Public Service Commissioner (PSC) candidate Randy Christmann today issued the following statement responding to Democrat Brad Crabtree’s press conference in Grand Forks:

“I support both energy conservation and the construction of new power plants. However, Brad Crabtree is using this issue as a diversion from his radical environmental agenda. Crabtree supports Cap-and-Trade, a policy that will increase federal regulations and energy costs. The biggest threat to consumers and utilities in our state is the uncertainty in the marketplace caused by the EPA’s constant attempt to take over the coal industry and the threat of job-killing, cost-increasing policies like Cap-and-Trade.

“What we really need are common sense solutions like the Stop the War on Coal Act (H.R. 3409) that passed the U.S. House last week and would provide strong state oversight in the regulation of our coal industry. The PSC presided over a period of tremendous energy development in North Dakota and our state has among the lowest electricity rates in the nation. We need to continue that record through sound government regulations and market-driven policies, and by stopping burdensome policies like Cap-and-Trade, which Crabtree supports.”

Randy Christmann is Republican State Senator running for Public Service Commissioner.  In 2000, Senate Republicans chose Randy to serve as their Assistant Majority Leader. He also serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee. Randy operates a 106-year-old third generation cattle ranch West of Hazen.

Letter to the Editor: Crabtree would turn North Dakota PSC into EPA

This year, North Dakotans will vote for our next commissioner of the Public Service Commission.

In trying to determine who I should vote for, I’ve researched the candidates running. What I’ve been able to find is that one candidate, Brad Crabtree, has gone completely off the grid and is trying to debate something that is entirely legal and, frankly, is a matter of free speech, and that is my and your right to donate our money to whomever we feel is the right candidate.

Nowhere can I find information on his stance on the Keystone XL pipeline, which is vital to transporting our state’s oil resources to market.

This is a project that would help remove some of the discounts we receive on our oil and would help get hundreds — if not thousands — of trucks off our roads.

Nowhere have I seen his opinion on how he would handle the siting of other pipelines in the state. What I have found is that he supports cap and trade, a policy that we have long known would bring to a halt the large majority of North Dakota’s energy production, whether it come from coal, oil or natural gas.

I have also found that his ideologies often fall in line with environmentalists who are suing leaders in our state and would like to see regulation turned over to the Environmental Protection Agency, the agency that has been making attempt after attempt to grab power from the states and turn it over to the federal government.

Crabtree tries to present himself as a moderate, but all I see is an environmentalist who would just as soon turn our Public Service Commission into another EPA.

That’s why I’ve made the decision to back Randy Christmann. I hope all of you who support North Dakota’s growth and economic progress will too.

Carson Kouba, Regent

In the News: PSC guaranteed a new voice

By NICK SMITH | Bismarck Tribune

Both candidates for the open seat on the state’s Public Service Commission see the utility regulatory board as an increasingly important player in properly managing the state’s energy infrastructure buildout.

Republican state Sen. Randy Christmann is running against Democrat Brad Crabtree. The two are running for the seat held by former commission chairman Tony Clark, who stepped down in late June to take a federal regulatory job in Washington, D.C. Bonny Fetch, an administrative law judge, is filling the vacancy until the winner of the election takes office Jan. 1.

Christmann, a Hazen resident, was first elected to the Senate in 1994, becoming assistant majority leader in 2000. Christmann serves on the Appropriations Committee and was appointed a member of the state’s Lignite Research Council by Gov. Ed Schafer. He’s also served on the board of West River Telecommunications since 1999.

Crabtree, who has a ranch south of Kulm, has been policy director for the Great Plains Institute since 2002. During this time he’s worked on energy policy with government, industry and environmental groups in the state and region. He’s also co-director for the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative, a national coalition that has submitted recommendations to Congress for expanding the country’s oil production. Crabtree ran unsuccessfully against Republican PSC member Kevin Cramer in 2010.

Christmann platform

Christmann said he has a four-pronged campaign platform. The four issues are infrastructure development, development of the state’s agricultural resources, preservation of land and following state law. Christmann said his goal if elected is to encourage responsible development of North Dakota’s agriculture and energy industries so the state’s economy remains strong and continues to grow.

“There’s all kinds of opportunities in North Dakota,” Christmann said. “I want to keep this going. I don’t want this opportunity to be lost due to activist regulations putting this to a halt.”

Christmann said with the record oil production to the West during the current boom there is a serious need for enhancing the state’s energy infrastructure. He said a number of pipeline projects by oil and gas companies are under way and capacity is increasing. More needs to be done, he said, adding that “we ought to be refining more product here.”

He said more pipeline is needed in order to reduce the number of trucks traveling down western North Dakota roads. He said the increasing number of trucks on oil patch roads has caused serious damage. Hundreds of millions in state dollars are now being invested in oil patch road repairs and improvements.

“People all over would like to see us get this traffic off the road, build pipelines and move it (oil),” Christmann said.

Having more pipeline infrastructure also would help eliminate market discounts on Bakken crude oil, Christmann said. Bakken crude sells at a discount on the market compared to West Texas Intermediate crude oil, which is considered the benchmark in crude oil pricing. The price discount stems from a lack of adequate pipeline infrastructure, leading to constraints in shipping oil out of the region.

Farmers and ranchers also are impacted by the decisions the PSC makes, Christmann said. Utilities and pipeline companies deal with landowners while plotting courses for their projects.

“They need a fair shake in the process,” Christmann said.

Christmann said landowners should be given more consideration for what works best for them. He said he’s had experience dealing with right-of-way issues on his land.

“I think I bring a perspective to that to make the process better. The presence of someone who has experienced this (on their land) would go a long way,” Christmann said.

Christmann said the PSC needs to carefully manage the state’s energy infrastructure growth. At the same time, he said, the PSC must also keep from placing excessive regulations on businesses and industry.

“We need more of this infrastructure development but we can’t become another EPA. We also want a business environment that encourages this kind of growth,” Christmann said.

Christmann said his years of legislative and Lignite Research Council experience set him apart from his opponent. He said he believes in ensuring certainty through maintaining a pro-business regulatory environment. He said his opponent seems to favor government solutions on regulatory issues. Crabtree’s support for wind energy tax credits is one example, he said.

“The ‘government knows best’ approach doesn’t leave a strong likelihood that we’re going to have affordable power,” Christmann said.

Christmann’s campaign website is


To continue reading, click here.

Harlynn Bjerke: Christmann’s the choice for N.D. PSC

ADAMS, N.D. — In North Dakota, we have been blessed with many resources, including agriculture and energy. But another thing we’ve been blessed with is great people, and many of them have become great leaders for our state.

Among those leaders is Randy Christmann. Christmann has served in the Legislature for nearly two decades now, and for many of those years, he has been assistant leader of the state Senate. In that role, he has worked with our state’s leaders to craft the kind of legislation that has helped North Dakota prosper and become the national leader that it is today.

Now, Christmann is looking to take that leadership experience to the Public Service Commission.

He is uniquely fitted for the job of public service commissioner. As a lifelong rancher, he understands the importance of property owner rights. This has been extremely helpful for him as a legislator from coal country, as he has used his personal knowledge and experience to bring together landowners and the energy industry to reach cooperative agreements between the two to build our energy infrastructure.

He also serves as the director for the West River Telephone Cooperative and understands the issues important to the telecommunications industry. These are all areas that depend upon the sound policies and regulations of the PSC to help them grow and provide the services, jobs and energy that are so important to North Dakota.

I urge Herald readers to join me in supporting Christmann for Public Service Commission so that commissioner Brian Kalk will have another strong voice and leader serving with him in the PSC.

Harlynn Bjerke
Adams, ND