Burgum, Sanford visit Watford City for Main Street Initiative discussion
Gov. Doug Burgum and Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford visited Watford City on Thursday to discuss the Main Street Initiative with community leaders, the 50th such visit their administration has made to cities and towns across the state.
Approximately 150 Watford City residents joined Burgum and Sanford for a listening session to discuss the positive developments in their community and the issues they face as one of the fastest-growing regions in the state. Several attendees mentioned the need for affordable housing solutions, infrastructure spending and funding for schools that's consistent with their growing student population.
Sanford, who served as Watford City's mayor before being elected lieutenant governor, said that the key to solving these issues is community-wide collaboration. Solutions championed at the local level can effectively address complex needs that are unique to each city.
The Main Street Initiative gives community leaders a direct access point to a variety of resources, helping capitalize on strengths and make sound planning decisions. These efforts aim to create healthy, vibrant communities with smart, efficient infrastructure to attract and retain a 21st century workforce, helping North Dakota compete and succeed in a global economy. To date, 64 communities representing two-thirds of North Dakota’s population have become engaged in the Main Street Initiative.
Burgum requests presidential major disaster declaration for impacts of widespread spring flooding
Gov. Doug Burgum requested a presidential major disaster declaration as a result of widespread spring flooding that damaged homes and public infrastructure, inundated hundreds of roads and thousands of acres of farmland, and displaced dozens of residents in western, south-central and eastern North Dakota.
“Powerful floodwaters moved homes off foundations, washed surface gravel and culverts from county and township roads and threatened to disrupt businesses and lifeline infrastructure. Floodwaters swamped farmland and damaged equipment and buildings, resulting in a serious economic hardship for our state’s agriculture producers,” Burgum stated in the request.
Preliminary damage assessments indicated that flood damage was expected to exceed nearly $8.5 million. At the time of inspection, it was estimated an additional $2 million would be eligible when floodwaters receded.
The request being sent to President Trump through the Federal Emergency Management Agency seeks a disaster declaration for the period from March 21 to April 29 for the counties of Adams, Barnes, Cass, Dickey, Emmons, Grand Forks, Grant, Hettinger, LaMoure, Logan, McKenzie, Morton, Pembina, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele, Traill and Walsh.
Sanford welcomes members of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education
Lt. Gov. Sanford welcomed members of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) to Bismarck for their two-day meetings on education policy. WICHE is composed of 15 western states led by a board of commissioners appointed by the respective governor of each member state.
Following the recent conclusion of the 2019 legislative session, Sanford highlighted positive changes from this session and discussed efforts that will be undertaken during the interim to continue improving the quality of higher education in North Dakota. In particular, Sanford pointed out opportunities for partnerships to create career and technical education centers and continue funding research at the state's universities.
North Dakota's WICHE commissioners are Sen. Ray Holmberg, 2018-19 WICHE Chair; North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott; and Nick Hacker, vice chairman of the State Board of Higher Education.
Burgum promotes 2nd Chance Job Fair designed for individuals with barriers to employment
Job Service North Dakota is hosting its annual 2nd Chance Job Fair on June 6 in Bismarck, Grand Forks and Fargo. The 2nd Chance Job Fair is an opportunity to bring jobseekers who may have barriers to employment into direct contact with employers that are aware of their status and are willing and able to provide employment opportunities.
“With more than 15,000 online job openings and an estimated 30,000 total jobs available in our state, we need to keep identifying and breaking down barriers to employment to ensure that every North Dakotan who wants to work has the opportunity,” Burgum said. “The 2nd Chance Job Fair is a valuable forum for making connections between employers and jobseekers with barriers to employment.”
Barriers to employment could include homelessness, a criminal record, receiving government assistance payments, gaps in employment, persons with a disability, veterans looking to re-enter the civilian labor force and disabled veterans, minority groups, new Americans, individuals lacking a high school diploma or GED, and more.
These individuals may be passed over by some employers, and it’s the goal of job fair to educate employers about the benefits of hiring this target group, while also affirming for individuals looking for a second chance that they are productive members of the community. In March, Burgum signed legislation that will prohibit most public employers from inquiring into or considering the criminal history of an applicant until he or she has been selected for an interview.
The job fairs are free and open to the public. They will be held June 6 at Job Service offices. Read more at the link below.
Sanford addresses Energizing North Dakota's Future conference at EERC
The Energy and Environmental Research Center at the University of North Dakota hosted its Energizing North Dakota's Future conference in Grand Forks this week, where Lt. Gov. Sanford spoke of opportunities for growth in North Dakota's energy sector.
"It’s amazing to think about how far we’ve come in such a short time," Sanford said. "Thanks to our all-of-the-above energy approach that includes coal, oil and natural gas, wind, biofuels, solar and hydro, we’re the nation’s No. 2 oil producer and No. 6 energy producer overall."
The state has recently taken action to continue growing North Dakota's energy dominance with HB 1439, which Gov. Burgum recently signed, creating a tax exemption for using lignite-based carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery or secure underground storage, to support projects like Project Tundra. Other public and private initiatives around the state seek to continue supporting energy development of all kinds while finding synergies between energy, agriculture and research.
Sanford closed his remarks by thanking the energy industry for providing high-paying jobs for tens of thousands of North Dakotans and empowering economic growth across the state.