Senator Cramer's Weekly Update September 3 - September 8

NASA Administrator Bridenstine Visits UND

Last week, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Jim Bridenstine came to Grand Forks to tour the University of North Dakota's Space Program.

It was an honor to host Jim during his visit North Dakota. He and I are longtime friends who served in the House together, and I am grateful for his time and for the opportunity to introduce him to UND aerospace students.

We began the day meeting with leaders of UND’s aerospace program to discuss their partnership with NASA. UND is one of the few universities in the world to offer human spaceflight training and is the first university to operate a NASA-funded laboratory dedicated to designing and constructing space-exploration and planetary surface exploration suits.

Next, we did a walking tour of the UND Space Program, including the Mars Lunar Habitat, which is conducted and funded in collaboration with NASA. The Mars Habitat confines crews of three for as long as 14 days, allowing them to conduct experiments and collect data.

Then, we visited the Human Space Flight Lab and the Atmospheric Chamber before participating in a town hall with UND Space Program students. You can watch our discussion from the town hall here.

You can watch KVRR's report on Administrator Bridenstine's visit below.

Next Up: Grand Sky Park

Administrator Bridenstine also visited Grand Sky Park to receive an update on Unmanned Traffic Management and Beyond Visual Line of Site and to tour Northrup Grumman and General Atomics facilities.

Grand Sky has built an outstanding partnership between public and private sectors to advance the work of unmanned aircraft systems. I am thankful for their hospitality and for the opportunity to show Jim what they have achieved in the world of in aerospace and unmanned systems.

We toured the Northrop Gruman facility, a leading global security company serving as a nucleus for research and development, operations and mission analysis, pilot training, and aircraft maintenance. Northrop Gruman leaders spoke about their work as an autonomous capability center.

Our day ended with a visit to General Atomics Training Academy, a facility providing flight instructions to aircrews and training foreign military customers who seek to grow their own aircrews.

VA Advances Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has added the Fargo VA Health Care System to its hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) clinical demonstration program. This partnership provides an alternative treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. The Fargo VA is partnering with Healing with Hyperbarics, a Fargo-based facility, which is the fifth location to be added to the VA HBOT clinical demonstration program. I have witnessed firsthand the healing of hyperbaric oxygen therapy and I am pleased to see this treatment option available for veterans in North Dakota

I am grateful to the VA for finally coming around to this decision. I never cease to be amazed at how slowly our bureaucracy responds to the needs of our citizens, especially our veterans. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy perfectly aligns with the intent of the VA MISSION Act, which is why I continually push Secretary Wilkie to help our veterans get access to this treatment. I hope this is the beginning of significant reforms that meet the needs of our veterans who give so much for the security and freedom of our country.

I pressed VA Secretary Wilkie on this issue in March during a committee hearing, where the Secretary committed to visiting Fargo to see the Hyperbaric Chamber firsthand. You can watch our exchange below.

Fargo National Cemetery

I joined the dedication ceremony for the Fargo National Cemetery and helped unveil the Tribute to the Fallen and Their Families Plaque.

As we look upon this resting place, I think about how we ought to be living to honor their service. The best way to remember those who offered to die for our country is to celebrate the freedoms they volunteered to give their lives to protect.

This new 4.82 acre cemetery, located 200 miles away from the state-managed North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, is the first national cemetery built in North Dakota. The cemetery will serve the burial needs of more than 30,000 Veterans, their spouses, and eligible family members.

VA Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Randy Reeves joined the dedication, which is part of the VA’s National Cemetery Administration Rural Initiative to provide access to VA burial benefits for Veterans who reside in rural areas.

Congrats General Becklund and General Schulte

Over the weekend, I attended a ceremony to celebrate the retirement of Brigadier General Robert J. Becklund and the promotion of Colonel Robert Schulte as Brigadier General.

North Dakota’s military assets- especially the Hooligans- are positioned as well as anybody for the future of warfighting. But as impressive as that is, none of it would work if we did not have the best of the best. Thank you to General Becklund, General Schulte, and all who do such an excellent job in serving our country.

General Becklund is the Chief of Staff for Air, Joint Force Headquarters, North Dakota National Guard, in Fargo, providing guidance and direction necessary to ensure State and Federal missions are accomplished by assigned Air National Guard units. A graduate of North Dakota State University and former Commander of Fargo’s Happy Hooligans, General Becklund is a major advocate for advancing UAS technology.

General Schulte is the 119th Medical Group Commander, supervising the use of base medical resources in support of this wing as well as the 219th Security Forces in Minot. Originally from Mandan, Colonel Schulte has served since 1993 and maintains a faculty appointment at the University of Mary.

Annual Tribal Leaders Summit

Last week, the United Tribes Technical College held their 23rd Annual Tribal Leaders Summit and Tradeshow.

UTTC and all our Tribal Colleges play critical roles in tribal communities by offering an affordable, quality education. They are able not only to break cycles of generational poverty but also to help preserve Indian language and heritage. I'm proud of their work and the significant contributions they make to our communities and our culture.

This event also served as a good reminder that as important as the government-to-government relationships are, it is the servant-to-constituent relationship that matters the most. Because if individuals have personal relationships with their leaders, you have a greater influence over global- as well as local- issues. Those in New York, California, and Texas don’t get to sit in a room with their senators and governor and discuss important issues on a regular basis. So these kinds of events are a blessing.

Funding for the Border Wall

Last week, the U.S. Department of Defense announced they will not use funds designated for North Dakota military projects to pay for border wall construction.

I am pleased to see no military projects in North Dakota will be impacted. Our National Guard recently broke ground on a Readiness Center in Fargo, which will not only help the local community but will also bolster our entire military’s readiness. I will continue advocating in Congress for proper military funding while working with President Trump and his Administration to ensure the wall gets built.

“In identifying military construction projects for deferral, the Department relied on Department of Defense Components to prioritize projects with award dates in fiscal year 2020 or later, the deferral of which would have minimal effects on Component readiness. The Department did not consider any family housing, barracks, or dormitory projects for deferral. No military construction projects that already have been awarded and no military construction projects with FY2019 award dates were deferred," the Department of Defense said.

Meeting with North Dakotans

The best part of public service is the public. Meeting with a variety of groups helps me to do the best job representing the interests of our state.

I met with members of the Arthritis Foundation to discuss funding research to address this disease and making it easier for patients to access treatment.
Rachael with the North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota Chapter of the ALS Association came to the Fargo office to discuss how we can help those with ALS and work to find a cure.

Contact Me

My offices are open in Bismarck, Grand Forks, Minot, Fargo and Washington, D.C. You can stop by or call any of the following offices. You can also visit my website at www.cramer.senate.gov.


328 Federal Building

220 East Rosser Avenue

Bismarck, ND 58501


Grand Forks

114 Federal Building

102 North 4th Street

Grand Forks, ND 58203



105 Federal Building

100 First Street SW

Minot, ND 58701



306 Federal Building

657 Second Avenue North

Fargo, ND 58102


Washington, D.C.

400 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510


Weekly Radio and TV Schedule


What's On Your Mind with Scott Hennen

Wednesdays from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. central

KFYR 550 AM - Bismarck

1100 The Flag - Fargo

KLTC 1460 AM - Dickinson

KTGO 1090 AM - Tioga

Jarrod Thomas Show

Thursdays from 10:00 to 10:30 a.m. central

KNOX 1310 AM - Grand Forks

Rick Jensen

Thursdays from 10:30 to 11:00 a.m. central

KHND 1470 AM - Harvey

Jay Thomas

Every other Tuesday from 3:00 to 3:30 p.m. central


Rob Port - Plain Talk Podcast

Thursday mornings

Say Anything Blog


Chris Berg - Point of View

6:30 p.m. central (Semi-Monthly)

Valley News Live - Fargo

Photo credit: North Dakota Tourism Department, and the Office of U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer


PC: North Dakota Tourism