Burgum highlights collaboration, signs MOU at second Strengthening Government to Government Relations conference
More than 300 people attended the first-ever Strengthening Government to Government Partnerships and Relationships conference last January, and the second conference that took place this week drew similar attendance, including tribal leaders, elders and other members, state agency leaders and staff, legislators and federal partners.
In welcoming remarks, Burgum challenged everyone in attendance to continue striving for better relations between tribal nations and their state, federal and local partners.
“We can be the best in the nation here in North Dakota in how we do government to government relations. We should settle for nothing less, because we need to find real solutions to real problems, and I know that all of us, if we not only bring our minds but our hearts to the problems, we can achieve that,” Burgum said.
In the latest example of collaboration, Burgum joined Chairman Mark Fox of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation in signing a memorandum of understanding at the conference. Under the agreement, the state will recognize motor vehicle license plates and registrations issued by the MHA Nation to its enrolled members residing within its jurisdictional boundaries. The MHA Nation will transmit the ownership and registration information for each vehicle it registers to the North Dakota Department of Transportation.
Burgum expressed his gratitude for the attendance and ongoing collaboration by the chairpersons of all four tribal nations headquartered in North Dakota: Fox, Chairman Jamie Azure of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, Chairman Mike Faith of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Chairwoman Myra Pearson of the Spirit Lake Nation. Burgum and Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford have visited and hosted all of those tribal nations multiple times since taking office in 2016 and identifying tribal partnerships as one of their five strategic initiatives. Burgum and Sanford also have met with the presidents of all five tribal colleges in North Dakota, all of whom were in attendance at the conference. First Lady Kathryn Burgum also delivered a powerful message about recovery and efforts to eliminate the shame and stigma of the disease of addiction.
Burgum welcomes population growth to all-time high, stresses that workforce challenges remain
Gov. Burgum on Wednesday welcomed the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau that show North Dakota’s population reached an all-time high of 760,077 residents as of July 1, 2018, an increase of 4,901 from last year’s revised estimate.
“We’re excited to see more people moving into North Dakota, and for good reason: Our economy is strong, our jobs are abundant and our quality of life is second to none,” Burgum said. “While this population growth affirms our state is on the right track, we still have thousands of jobs to fill, making it vitally important that we invest in workforce development and create healthy, vibrant communities to attract and retain a 21st century workforce.”
Migration into the state has returned to the positive column after two years of out-migration due largely to a slowdown in the state’s energy sector from 2015 to 2017.
North Dakota’s estimated 2017 population was revised down slightly to 755,176 residents from 755,393. Revisions are common and tend to grow larger toward the end of the decade as more time passes since the last decennial census, North Dakota Census Office Manager Kevin Iverson said.
With the estimate released Wednesday, North Dakota retains its status as the 47th most populous state, a ranking it regained when the state surpassed Alaska between 2013 and 2014.
Burgum joins national initiative to highlight addiction treatment needs among people in criminal justice system
The governor and first lady joined the Face to Face initiative, a national call to action encouraging policymakers to personally engage with the people who are closest to the correctional system.
A video released Thursday documents their meeting with Fargo resident Jyssica Noble to learn about her struggles with substance addiction and her experience in Free Through Recovery, a statewide program that provides recovery support services for people in the criminal justice system who have behavioral health needs. Watch the conversation, which was organized by The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center.
During the conversation, Noble openly discussed the struggles she has faced due to her addiction to opioids, detailing bouts of homelessness, near-fatal overdoses and periods of incarceration stemming from various theft and drug possession charges. Following an arrest in 2017 that resulted in a felony theft charge and a probation sentence, Noble was referred to Free Through Recovery, which provided her with care coordination and a range of recovery services. Working with a dedicated team that includes her probation officer, care coordinator and peer support specialist, for Noble, recovery is in sight.
“We’re changing how criminal justice agencies have traditionally responded to people with substance addictions,” Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Director Leann Bertsch said. “By investing in community-based solutions like Free Through Recovery, we can help set people up for long-term success and reduce their likelihood of re-arrest or reincarceration.”
The meeting with Noble is the latest in the governor and first lady’s efforts to focus on improved outcomes for North Dakotans living with substance addictions. In late 2017, they launched Recovery Reinvented, an initiative that seeks to eliminate the stigma of addiction in North Dakota.
Burgum announces $2.3M in community development funds to support Main Street projects, public facilities and services
Gov. Burgum, in partnership with the North Dakota Department of Commerce, announced the funding for 15 projects totaling $2,331,000 aimed at Main Street development, public facilities and services. The program is funded by federal Community Development Block Grant dollars focusing on long-term community development within cities’ Main Street areas.
“These funds will help communities with strategic projects that will strengthen our state’s economy and help create healthy, vibrant communities that can attract and retain a 21st century workforce,” Burgum said. “This is a key step in our development of building livable communities, addressing unmet community development needs and enhancing local economic development efforts.”
Funds were made available in three categories: Main Street Fund (used to rehabilitate building exteriors or streetscape improvements); Public Facility Fund (used for the acquisition, construction, reconstruction or installation of public works, facilities or other improvements); and Public Services Fund (funds, in the form of operational costs, will be made available to existing and new agencies that support programs related to addiction and recovery).
Burgum and Sanford reflect on second year in office
December 15 marked the two-year anniversary of Gov. Burgum being sworn into office alongside Lt. Gov. Sanford, giving the governor a chance to reflect on the substantial progress made toward fulfilling the administration’s purpose for state government: to empower people, improve lives and inspire success.
Throughout 2018, the Burgum administration has continued to drive progress on the governor’s five strategic initiatives: the Main Street Initiative, Behavioral Health and Addiction, Transforming Education, Tribal Partnerships and Reinventing Government – pushing state government to become more efficient and responsive to taxpayers.
Read a recap of the first two years in office below: