North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Resigns After Sending Email About Kavanaugh Confirmation Controversy


North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Jay Schuler speaks during the fifth annual North Dakota Governor’s Workforce & Human Resources Conference at the Fargo Holiday Inn on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. David Samson / The Forum

According to a report from Jack Dura at the Bismarck Tribune Governor Doug Burgum has accepted the resignation of Commerce Commissioner Jay Schuler.

Schuler resigned after sending an ill-advised email to Commerce Department staff. Here’s the press release from Burgum’s office (PDF).

The Tribune story doesn’t include any text from the email, but I obtained it via an open records request and you can read it below. In it he appears to admit to inappropriate conduct in grade school and in his later teen years, though he doesn’t specify what that activity was.

He also included this attachment:

Here’s the full text of the email:

Good Morning,

I don’t normally forward things that get emailed to me. Today I make an exception. I don’t want this to sound political. It isn’t meant to be. It is not sexists. The same may be true for either sex. The review of Judge Kavanaugh brings up some interesting points for one to reflect on. I obviously don’t have the facts and am not suggesting what the vote should be.

In my personal life, when in the 7th grade at St. Mary’s grade school in Minnesota, I did some not so nice things. Teacher, Sister Maria would have taken me to the wood shed if she had known. Things I would punish my children for if they did what I did. Today these actions are something I regret. In my late teen years there was also some situations that I would just as soon forget. Do these breakdowns in judgement define me as a person. I hope not. It was something I learned from.

The point is, a number of us do stupid things. Look at St. Peter, he denied knowing Jesus 3 times. The number of people that live a perfect life like Jesus are rare. The majority of us strive to be good human beings and help our fellow man. Unfortunately a lot of us go sideways once in a while.

The attachment made me smile and reflect. I hope it does for you as well. Thank you for all you do in Commerce.

Together we are helping our state and our fellow human beings.

Have a Great Week!

Jay Schuler
Commerce Commissioner

Here’s the copy of it I received:

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