Burgum stresses need for addiction treatment during prison reform roundtable with President Trump, fellow governors
Gov. Doug Burgum on Thursday highlighted the state’s prison reform efforts and the need to address addiction as he joined President Donald Trump, administration officials and a small group of fellow governors and attorneys general for a State Leaders Roundtable on Prison Reform in Bedminster, N.J.
Those attending the meeting discussed the importance of prison reform at the state level, including successes and challenges, as well as the federal prison system and efforts to pass prison reform in Congress. The President stressed the need for employment opportunities for former inmates and noted there is broad political support for prison reform.
In his remarks, Burgum noted the high rates of addiction among North Dakota’s prison population and thanked President Trump for his administration’s efforts on the addiction issue.
“We can’t solve a chronic health care problem with punishment. We’ve got to treat it like a disease and solve it that way. In the end, we’re trying to create better neighbors, not better prisoners. … It’s education, it’s career skills, it’s treatment. Those are the things we have to focus on. If we can do that, we can turn people’s lives around and add people to the workforce. We know we need that because we have so many jobs open in the country.”
Burgum addresses policy forum
Gov. Burgum delivered remarks and met with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao at the American Conservative Union Foundation's CPAC 365 policy forum in Bismarck on Monday. In his address, Burgum focused on the need for more innovation, not regulation, as the nation works to make upgrades and improvements to energy and transportation infrastructure.
Monday's event marked Chao's second visit to North Dakota since being appointed in early 2017. Chao delivered the keynote address at Drone Focus last year in Fargo. In May she announced the North Dakota Department of Transportation was one of 10 applicants nationwide selected for the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program.
Governor stresses need for diversion permit approval
At a meeting with U.S. Sen. John Hoeven and Metro Flood Diversion Authority officials, Gov. Burgum underscored the need for expedited approval of permits for the Fargo-Moorhead Area Diversion Project in order to maintain state funding. Burgum also expressed his gratitude for the continued collaboration between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Diversion Authority and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Burgum met last month with Col. Sam Calkins, commander of the Corps’ St. Paul District, who also attended Wednesday's meeting, and Maj. Gen. Richard Kaiser, commander of the Corps’ Mississippi Valley Division, to discuss progress on the diversion project, stressing the need for timely completion of comprehensive flood protection for the F-M area. The Diversion Authority submitted a new permit application for the diversion project in March after accepting the recommendations of the F-M Area Flood Diversion Task Force formed by Burgum and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton.
Burgum congratulates project partners at groundbreaking ceremony for Spirit Lake substance abuse treatment center
Gov. Doug Burgum on Friday congratulated project partners at a ceremonial groundbreaking for a new residential substance-abuse treatment center for adults in the Spirit Lake community.
The project is made possible by a $1.2 million grant from United Health Foundation to Cankdeska Cikana Community College, in collaboration with the Spirit Lake Recovery and Wellness program. Burgum wrote a letter supporting the college’s grant application.
With the grant, the college is renovating and expanding a former group home in Fort Totten into a new 15-bed residential treatment center, which will be the only residential treatment facility in the area outside of the local law enforcement system.
“The opioid crisis is devastating families and communities across North Dakota and the nation, and the best way to tackle it is through a collaborative community approach and public-private partnerships such as this. Only by working together to eliminate the shame and stigma of addiction and treat it like the chronic disease it is can our state, its communities and its people reach their fullest potential as we strive to empower people, improve lives and inspire success.”
Lt. Governor highlights entrepreneurial successes
Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford shared stories of successes and challenges during his time as mayor with attendees of the 2018 Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Summit on Friday in Watford City. The first-ever event, organized by the North Dakota Department of Commerce, Emerging Prairie, the North Dakota Small Business Administration and North Dakota Small Business Development Centers, brought together nearly 50 economic development professionals and entrepreneurs from around the state to hear from speakers and share ideas. In addition to Sanford, attendees heard from Sen. Hoeven and Holly Holt from the North Dakota Department of Commerce, along with several others.
Burgum appoints former solicitor general Bahr to South Central Judicial District judgeship
Gov. Doug Burgum has appointed Bismarck attorney and former North Dakota solicitor general Douglas Bahr to a judgeship in the South Central Judicial District, effective Sept. 1.
Bahr will fill the post vacated by Judge Sonna Anderson when she retired June 30 after serving as a South Central Judicial District judge since 2003. Bahr will be chambered in Bismarck.
Bahr’s extensive legal experience spans 27 years of litigation practice, including more than 25 years in state government. In the North Dakota Attorney General’s Office, he was an assistant attorney general from 1991 to 1998 and director of the Civil Litigation Division from 1999 to 2016, during which time he served as solicitor general, the chief civil litigator for the State of North Dakota. Bahr has appeared at the North Dakota Supreme Court more than 80 times, either through brief or oral argument, and 18 times at the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. He joined the Crowley Fleck PLLP law firm as special counsel in December 2016.