Judicial, executive and legislative branches convene meeting
Gov. Doug Burgum and Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford invited leaders from the judicial, executive and legislative branches to participate in a meeting Monday, the sixth gathering of this group since Burgum and Sanford took office in December 2016. Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread, who hosted the meeting, expressed the unique opportunities for collaboration that can arise from reaching across perceived barriers and regularly meeting as a large group.
Nearly 70 leaders attended the Judicial-Executive-Legislative (JEL) meeting to share brief updates of the major projects their agencies are working on and establish potential partnerships as they address similar issues in their daily work. Burgum and Sanford first established the JEL group as part of their initiative to reinvent government and better deliver services to North Dakotans.
As the first JEL meeting since the 66th Legislative Assembly adjourned their regular session in April, the group heard from Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner and Sen. Erin Oban to get their perspective on the major accomplishments of the session. Both senators agreed that there had been bipartisan support of issues such as infrastructure funding and improving behavioral health services, but work remains to be done.
Gov. Burgum concluded the meeting by encouraging attendees to continue working together and challenging their teams to keep developing leadership skills and embracing technology as a tool to better serve the citizens of the state.
Burgum announces Tammy Miller as next chief operating officer for State of North Dakota
Gov. Burgum on Wednesday announced that Border States Electric CEO Tammy Miller will join the administration as chief operating officer. Miller has served as CEO and board chair since 2006 at Fargo-based Border States, the seventh-largest electrical distributor in North America. She joined the employee-owned company in 1991 as the accounting manager and has served in a variety of roles.
As chief operating officer, Miller will succeed current COO Jodi Uecker, who is retiring from full-time employment June 30. Uecker has served as COO since Burgum created the position upon taking office in December 2016 to bring a greater focus on working with cabinet agencies to improve processes, spur innovation and reinvent the delivery of government services for the 21st century.
“We are thrilled, grateful and incredibly fortunate to be bringing on board another high-caliber leader with vast experience and success in running a large organization, and with strengths in executing strategy, engagement, communications, enhancing culture and being accessible,” Burgum said. “We also are extremely grateful to Jodi Uecker for her outstanding leadership, for developing a roadmap and for her willingness to extend her time in state government to ensure a smooth transition.”
A native of Brocket, N.D., Miller graduated from high school in Lakota. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master of business administration degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Miller is a certified public accountant and early in her career spent eight years in public accounting.
“The opportunity to enter public service as the Chief Operating Officer for the State of North Dakota is an extremely exciting opportunity,” Miller said. “I appreciate Governor Burgum’s confidence in my skills and abilities to deliver results for our state, and I look forward to working with the cabinet agencies and all branches of state government to serve the people of North Dakota.”
Because of her existing commitment to Border States, Miller will officially join the Governor’s Office as a state employee on April 1, 2020. She will begin a transition period Oct. 1, familiarizing herself with the administration and the workings of state government in order to hit the ground running next April. Uecker will assist in the transition on a part-time basis.
Oil and gas industry partners to create standardized contractor safety orientation program
A new program for standardized contractor safety orientation in the Bakken brought together leaders from safety groups, the oil and gas industry and state government to celebrate the improved approach to safety training.
At the North Dakota Safety Council facility in Bismarck, Gov. Burgum congratulated the North Dakota Petroleum Council (NDPC) on its "One Basin-One Way" program developed in partnership with oil and gas companies representing nearly half of all production in the Bakken.
According to the NDPC, the curriculum is designed to raise awareness on more than 40 critical safety issues, with a particular focus on job hazards specific to North Dakota that are not typically covered by traditional orientation programs.
Burgum thanked the participating organizations for their commitment to reinvent their contractor training and work together to save up to 1.25 million man-hours that had been lost to redundant orientations. He challenged the groups to continue innovating their training processes to fully utilize technology and make training more accessible.
Sanford speaks to N.D. royalty owners
Lt. Gov. Sanford delivered the opening address at the National Association of Royalty Owners--North Dakota annual meeting on Wednesday in Bismarck. Sanford gave a recap of some major legislation affecting royalty ownership and the discussions he presided over as president of the Senate.
Some of the key legislation he discussed included underground gas storage, navigability determinations, fractionator tax exemptions and the tax revenue sharing agreement with the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation. The progress made this session on several of these topics will be beneficial for royalty owners and all North Dakotans.
"A stable tax and regulatory environment is key to attracting capital investment, adding value to our resources, and ensuring we leave a legacy of financial stability and environmental stewardship for our children and grandchildren," Sanford said.
Attendees of the conference asked Sanford questions about the new legislation and other relations with state agencies. Sanford encouraged the group to maintain close relationships with their legislators to give input on the issues most important to them.
Burgum urges Congress to ratify U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement
Gov. Doug Burgum released the following statement after Mexico approved the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) last week.
“With Mexico’s approval now secured, we strongly urge the U.S. Congress and Canada to finalize the USMCA and modernize trade relations between our three nations for the good of American industries, farmers and ranchers, who are among the world’s best and can compete with anyone on a level playing field,” Burgum said.
“Canada and Mexico are North Dakota’s largest trading partners, accounting for nearly $5 billion in annual exports," Burgum continued. "This trilateral agreement represents a tremendous opportunity to advance free and fair trade, provide greater economic benefits and protections for American producers and consumers, and expand our ability to be world leaders in industry and innovation.”
Burgum was one of 27 governors who signed a letter this week that was delivered to Congress. The letter, which can be viewed here, emphasized the potential for economic growth created by the trade agreement and its benefit for workers, farmers and manufacturers.
Burgum recognizes outstanding teachers with DPI, ND United
The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction hosted an event in partnership with Gov. Burgum and North Dakota United to recognize teachers who achieved statewide and nationwide excellence over the past year.
State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler and ND United President Nick Archuleta thanked educators for their commitment to improving the lives of students in North Dakota. Honorees included:
- Brittany Larson, Grafton - Milken National Educator Award
- Kayla Dornfeld, Mapleton - North Dakota Teacher of the Year
- Jeffry Johnson, West Fargo - National Blue Ribbon School (Freedom Elementary)
- Fiona Brendemuhl, Stephanie Cwikla, Shaina Eagleson, Kelsey Grommesh, Bethany Karnik, Elsie Peterson, LaRae Rosenfeldt and Jill Wold - National Board Certification
- Marguax Braun, Margaret Townsend and Kimberly Eckroth - Excellence in Teaching with Project-Based Learning