Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk has applied for a position at the University of North Dakota’s Energy and Environmental Research Center and would leave office if hired.
I spoke with Kalk this afternoon who said he applied for the position of Director of Energy Systems Development after the man who held that position, Mike Holmes, left to take a job at the Lignite Energy Council.
Kalk said he has gone through two rounds of interviews for the position and has been made what he described as a “soft offer.”
“I have not received a formal offer,” Kalk told me, adding “I think they’re going to.”
[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]”I have not received a formal offer,” Kalk told me, adding “I think they’re going to.”[/mks_pullquote]
Kalk said he would immediately resign his position if he’s hired and that he even has a press release written up to announce it. “If the offer comes through I’d send the press release out,” he said.
Kalk was first elected to a six year term at the PSC in 2008 after he beat out state Senator Bob Stenehjem for the NDGOP endorsement for the office. He was re-elected in 2014 with nearly 65 percent of the vote.
In the 2012 cycle Kalk received the NDGOP’s convention endorsement to run for the U.S. House but lost in the June primary vote to Congressman Kevin Cramer.
“It fits right in with my background,” Kalk told me of the EERC job. “It’s a perfect fit.”
If Kalk leaves office it would be up to new Governor Doug Burgum to appoint a replacement. Whoever that is would then need to have that appointment confirmed on the next general election ballot in 2018 before finishing Kalk’s term which ends in 2020.
That’s how it worked when Cramer left the PSC to serve in Congress. Former Governor Jack Dalrymple appointed Julie Fedorchak to fill his unexpired term. That appointment had to be confirmed in the 2014 election, and she was re-elected for a new term in the 2016 cycle.
Who would Burgum appoint? Hard to say, but former state Rep. Blair Thoreson was a candidate for the PSC back in 2012 but lost a nomination campaign to current Commissioner Randy Christmann. I’d have to say he’s, at the very least, on the list.