One of my very first assignments as a brand new television reporter in Bismarck in January of 1973 was to cover the first news conference of new North Dakota governor Art Link. I would cover dozens of other Link news conferences in the nearly two and a half years I worked in Bismarck. Most of them were on Friday mornings (at 10 o’clock, if I remember correctly) in the governor’s conference room at the state capitol. The main topic of many of them was Link’s "go slow" policy on energy development in the state. It’s hard to underestimate just how important energy development was then, as it is now. Governor Link was stubbornly determined not to let North Dakota’s energy resources be misused. He was an environmentalist before being an environmentalist was cool. That will be his legacy.
I didn’t cover his "When the Landscape is Quiet Again" speech in Mandan in 1973. I wish I had. Today it reads like a poem.
I was surprised (shocked, actually) to learn just this week reading his obituary in the newspaper that Art Link had an eighth grade education. I found him to be fiercely intelligent in a quiet, unassuming way.
Art Link will be remembered as one of North Dakota’s very best governors. I don’t know much, but I’m absolutely certain of that.