I had Doug Burgum on my radio show today, and he surprised me by having running mate and Watford City Mayor Brent Sanford on as well.
What do you ask the guy who, let’s face it, is set to become North Dakota’s next governor once the vote totals are in later this evening?
I asked him about the national presidential race and what it could mean for our state. Burgum’s response surprised me. He started talking about federalism:
“The federal government has so much impact on North Dakota, whether it’s on energy policy, education policy, health care policy, that it’s really blurred what the role of the state is,” he said. “One thing I believe is part of the reason we created 50 states is that each state is a platform for innovation, an incubator for democracy, however you want to describe it. If the whole role of the state is just to implement federal programs and in many cases federal programs that are not actuarially sound or not economically designed for a rural state like ours, then you sort of say what’s the point of the state.”
“I do think there’s a movement among governors of both parties to fight back and say we have to have some control at the state level to innovate,” he continued.
Earlier today I wrote about how the shift in policy making authority from the local level to the national level has had a negative impact on politics in America. National politics have become increasingly rancorous in direct proportion to the amount of federal meddling – particularly presidential meddling – we see in local policy which really ought to be left to the states.
It seems as though Burgum sees a similar problem. Which, I must say, I find heartening. A year ago if you’d asked me if I thought Doug Burgum could be our next governor I would have told you it was unlikely to the point of being impossible. He proved me wrong.
I also made it clear during the primary campaign that I wasn’t sure if Doug Burgum could be a good governor.
I hope he proves me wrong there, too.
I also asked Burgum if he’d been receiving any briefings, prior to election day, on the situation with the Dakota Access Pipeline. He said he has not but expects that to change after election day should he win.
Here’s the full audio.