MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
Discover the spirit. That's the slogan printed on North Dakota's license plates, along with an image of a buffalo and a stalk of wheat. Those plates have looked the same for 20 years.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
But state lawmakers have proposed changing the design. And so North Dakotans are brainstorming alternatives to discover the spirit.
BLOCK: Nick Hirchert is among those pitching suggestions. He writes for the FM Observer, a satirical news publication in Fargo. One of Hirchert's ideas is a tribute to North Dakota's infamously harsh weather: If the winter doesn't kill you, the flood will.
NICK HIRCHERT: It'll snow and snow and snow and then the snow won't melt until, heck, probably about April. And then once the snow all melts, it pools into a giant flood lake and the Red River gets so high to the point that we have to sandbag it.
CORNISH: And not to be outdone by neighboring Minnesota's slogan: Land of 10,000 lakes...
HIRCHERT: Land of 10 bazillion oil barrels.
BLOCK: North Dakota has no lack of black gold underground. Hirchert envisioned that petroleum surplus reflected on car license plates.
HIRCHERT: Best fracking state in the union.
CORNISH: North Dakota's prosperous oil economy has helped fill the state's coffers, and then some. So why not flaunt it?
HIRCHERT: The slogan would be: We have more budget money than you. And it kind of pokes fun at all the budget surplus the state has experienced.
BLOCK: Experienced last year to the tune of $1.6 billion.
HIRCHERT: Kind of also pokes fun at the fact that, well, they've got enough to spend millions on a license plate redesign as well.
CORNISH: Hirchert would also change the look of the plates. No more buffalo and wheat for him. He'd replace those images with a giant snowman and an oil derrick.
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BLOCK: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.
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