A Devils Lake High School graduate and former football standout finds himself in pretty select company these days.


A Devils Lake High School graduate and former football standout finds himself in pretty select company these days.
He’s Speaker of the House in Minnesota and was instrumental in solving that state’s government shutdown.
Kurt Zellers was also recently interviewed by a reporter from the Wall Street Journal.
Soon, he’ll be headed off to China on a trade mission on behalf of his state.
“Not too bad for a little old farm kid from Webster, N.D.,” his mother Joann Paulson proclaimed this week.
“I hope Mr. Bott (Fred) has seen what happened. Kurt still gives him credit for his political interest.”
Bott was a history and political science teacher at Devils Lake High School before becoming the long-time mayor of the city.
Zellers said Minnesota’s government shutdown was the longest in any state in at least a decade.
Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch led the fight that turned out to be a big fight for Republicans and Minnesotans.
Now they won’t face new taxes or unsustainable spending, and Republicans remained committed to principles that won them legislative majorities last November for the first time in more than two decades.
“It was an experience to be on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal,” Zellers said in a telephone visit. “If the tax increase went through, it would have made Minnesota, a state that is already a high tax state, even more uncompetitive.”
Zellers said it was tough to watch as people were forced out of work because of the shutdown.
He said there were efforts made to protect the workers, and he even launched a letter to state workers telling them how much they were appreciated.
“I?got all kinds of responses from that,” he laughed. “But it was kind of interesting to watch the footprints in history being made.”
Zellers compared his background to growing up on a farm near Webster to the recent shutdown in Minnesota.
He said nothing compares to getting the grain harvested and to market.
“My step-dad never swore on the farm - he was very pragmatic,” Zellers recalled. “Now playing football that was a different story.”