The health and vitality of North Dakota’s energy industry are essential to our state’s economic future. The industry provides tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, has revitalized dozens of western communities, has generated new wealth and income for citizens and our state, and will continue to play a vital role going forward.
I’ve spent my life growing businesses, creating jobs, and investing in North Dakota. I am a landowner in both eastern and western North Dakota, and I understand and will protect the rights of landowners. I understand the damage and cost caused by government overreach. I also understand the importance of creating an environment of legal and regulatory certainty to aid capital allocation decisions, particularly when working within inherently volatile pricing markets.
These personal experiences have shaped the governing philosophy that will guide my support of the energy industry as North Dakota’s governor.
First, I will work to ensure that the energy industry is able to operate within a stable regulatory environment. Unnecessary, burdensome regulation kills jobs, discourages investment, misallocates capital, and makes North Dakota a less competitive place to do business. This is particularly true in a climate of low oil prices, where producers are struggling to break even. We need to create a business climate that attracts capital to our state. Capital flows to where it will generate its highest return, and we need to recognize that as a state, we are competing for investment versus other energy plays.
Second, I will ensure that North Dakota treats all job creators—particularly those in the energy industry—as partners in growing North Dakota’s economy. Despite the rhetoric of some national politicians and the narrative many in the national media seek to portray, the relationship between businesses and the government does not need to be adversarial. We can create collaborative approaches and frameworks that allow all parties to achieve their goals and protect their interests.
Finally, I will be a tireless defender of North Dakotans’ private property rights. I am fully committed to fighting against those who would seek to infringe these rights. That means opposing ill-conceived policies coming from within North Dakota, like the “Special Places” proposal made by Wayne Stenehjem just over two years ago. It also means fighting against federal overreach—we know how to protect our state and our lands better than unelected Washington, D.C. bureaucrats, and I won’t let them threaten our prosperity.
I am excited to be joined by Lieutenant Governor candidate Brent Sanford, who has served on the frontlines of the oil boom as mayor of Watford City. Brent brings an appreciation of the opportunities created by oil development and an understanding of how the resulting challenges can be effectively managed, and we share a passion for western North Dakota. We know that in addition to great jobs, we need to create great communities.
Together, Brent and I have the vision, experience, and motivation to lead North Dakota into the future. We understand the proper role of government and how to create the kind of environment that will allow businesses to thrive. As Governor and Lieutenant Governor, we look forward to working with industry leaders to support energy development, foster economic growth, and take North Dakota from good to exceptional.