Roughrider Roundup – August 15, 2022

Happy Monday!

Dear Fellow Republicans, 

We wanted to provide you with a roundup of everything you might have missed from North Dakota’s great Republican leaders this past week. Please share with family and friends!

Perrie Schafer, NDGOP Chairman

Video of the Week

Watch here!

Senator Cramer: “BNI invested in North Dakota, so we can help power the United States economy. This new dragline at the Center coal mine is a long-term investment in North Dakota and reliable power for the Upper Great Plains. We must continue to produce made-in-America energy and I applaud BNI for their continued commitment to doing so.”


Watch RNC Chairwoman McDaniel’s latest “Real America” podcast with Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker. He truly has an “only in America” story that every American should hear!


NDGOP Condemns Fargo School Board Pledge of Allegiance Ban 

BISMARCK – Today, Perrie Schafer, Chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party (“NDGOP”) released the following statement in response to this week’s vote by the Fargo School Board to exclude the Pledge of Allegiance from School Board meetings: 

“The Fargo School Board vote is an affront to our American values and all who have sacrificed in protecting our freedoms. The claim by the School Board that the Pledge of Allegiance violates their so-called diversity code is nothing short of laughable when you consider that our flag symbolizes a country that is the most diverse and tolerant nation on earth and one that ensures equal opportunity for all. This vote underscores the importance of electing Republicans up and down the ballot this November — and in all local races going forward. We cannot get complacent. We must run good candidates, and they must serve our values to put a stop the radical liberal agenda that is harming our children and the future of our state.”

NDGOP Statement on Mar-A-Lago Raid

BISMARCK – Perrie Schafer, Chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party (“NDGOP”), released the following statement in response to the FBI’s raid on the home of former President Donald J. Trump: 

“This is a dark day for America. The FBI’s raid on President Trump’s personal home shows a disturbing overreach of our justice system and seriously undermines the public’s trust in our institutions. This is particularly true given the fact that law enforcement has not been nearly as aggressive in investigating Democrats such as Hillary Clinton, who kept classified information on a personal server, and Hunter Biden, whose personal indiscretions and corrupt foreign dealings have left America vulnerable to our adversaries,” said Schafer. 

He continued: “Make no mistake about it: the Democrats won’t stop with President Trump; they’re coming for all of us using their unchecked power. Just in the past few days, Democrats have rammed through a massive new spending bill that will hire 87,000 new IRS agents, making it one of the largest, most powerful agencies in Washington that will harass small businesses and the Democrats’ ideological opponents with impunity.” 

Schafer concluded, “This raid underscores the importance of electing Republicans in November. Right now, there is no limit on what the Democrats can do. A Republican Congress can put an end to the madness and stop the witch hunt against decent, law-abiding Americans.”

Read in the Wahpeton Daily News.

North Dakota

Burgum joins other governors in urging president to stop vaccination requirements for travelers
Gov. Doug Burgum, R-ND, joined 16 other governors urging President Biden to drop COVID-19 testing and vaccination requirements for travelers. Burgum included a copy of the letter in a tweet posted Wednesday afternoon. The governors are asking the president to “allow travel to return to normal and stop hurting our states’ economies.” The letter goes on to say, “…maintaining a vaccine mandate for legal travelers is particularly contradictory given your recent push to revoke the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Title 42 Order, which allows DHS to expel migrants from the country for public health reasons. Why are insisting on vaccine requirements for legal temporary travelers but not for illegal immigrants who are attempting to stay in our country permanently?”

Fargo Public Schools to no longer begin its meetings with the Pledge of Allegiance
The board’s decision has caused a great deal of turmoil. In a statement, the NDGOP called the decision ‘Laughable.’ Senator Kevin Cramer said in a tweet, ‘Please don’t judge North Dakota on the actions of a few cultural and intellectual outliers.’

Area plan to upgrade grid would cost $3 billion, improve reliability and help prevent blackouts
Grand Forks Herald
North Dakota has ample electricity but has long faced bottlenecks in the transmission grid making it difficult to deliver power to markets to the east and south…Julie Fedorchak, chairwoman of the North Dakota Public Service Commission and liaison to MISO, said the transmission projects would benefit North Dakota “There’s a lot of constraints in North Dakota getting all of our electricity, regardless of source of generation, to markets in the east,” she said. If approved, the Jamestown-to-Ellendale line “will help get our electricity to markets where its wanted and needed,” Fedorchak said. Also, by increasing transmission, the grid will have more resilience and reliability by being able to provide power from more diverse sources. If the wind is blowing in North Dakota but not in Iowa, for example, delivering the North Dakota wind power can make up for the power lag in Iowa, she said. “Transmission helps because it helps move power more efficiently,” helping to avoid blackouts, Fedorchak said.

Water Commission Approves $35.4 Million in Cost-Share for Water Projects
American Ag News Network
At the North Dakota State Water Commission (SWC) meeting chaired by Lt. Governor Brent Sanford yesterday, the Commission approved $35.4 million in cost-share requests. The Commission voted to approve funding for several municipal, regional and rural water supply projects, as well as projects related to flood control and general water…“We’re grateful to the Water Commission members, Department of Water Resources Director Andrea Travnicek and team members at the DWR for ensuring water projects across the state continue to move forward and support the citizens of North Dakota and our economy,” said Sanford…The 10-member Water Commission consists of Gov. Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and eight members appointed by the governor to serve six-year terms.

North Dakota Attorney General aims to crack down on violent crime with tougher sentences
North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley is calling for tougher prison sentences for violent crimes with illegal firearms in response to what he’s calling a rise in crime across the state. In Fargo alone, multiple shootings happened in the past couple of weeks. Wrigley said that’s an example of the increase in violent crime that statewide statistics, which he plans to release soon, will show. “Something is starting to erode,” he said. “It’s real, people see this, they recognize it, and we can’t just be North Dakota nice about this and act like what we’re seeing isn’t real.” Wrigley believes harsher sentences will discourage violent crime, so he’s putting together a package of new laws targeting violent crimes in which a gun was illegally used.

State auditor determines that Mayville State has substandard employee payroll methods
North Dakota’s State Auditor has found that Mayville State University does not have correct training or procedures for employee payroll. Auditor Josh Gallion says university staff found that more than $175,000 was overpaid to 15 employees. Gallion’s office also found that another $10,000 of over-payments was made to seven employees. Gallion says because university employees have varied paychecks, employees would not necessarily notice incorrect amounts on their checks. Gallion says the school has promised to address the issues and work to prevent it from happening again.

Public hearing on critical race theory next month
There will be a public hearing on Critical Race Theory next month at the State Capitol. The meeting is in part to collect input from the public and interested parties. Last year, the State Legislature banned the teaching of CRT in public schools, so this hearing isn’t about whether CRT should be taught in schools. Rather, it’s a hearing to give the public an opportunity to comment on the administrative rules as they’ve been written. “I don’t think, in the large majority of our school districts or school buildings, I don’t believe Critical Race is being taught or endorsed. I think there has been some examples that have been shared with some of our legislators of professional development training for our teachers that may be in that gray area,” said State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler. After the Department of Public Instruction writes the administrative rules, they will need to be approved by the Legislature. The meeting will be held on September 8th at 9:30 am in the Peace Garden Room at the State Capitol.

$31 million capital investment touted as future of North Dakota’s mining industry
The Dickinson Press
BNI Coal, a subsidiary of ALLETE Inc., on Monday commissioned a new 11-million-pound dragline, an excavator used in surface mining, at its Center Mine that is being touted as the key to keeping the lignite mine operating efficiently for the foreseeable future. The commissioning ceremony of the aptly named, ‘Legacy,’ is the culmination of a project that began during the second quarter of 2021 after the purchase of the excavator from Mississippi Power Co. The excavator arrived in Center, N.D. in individual components, after having been disassembled into pieces small enough to be transported by truck to North Dakota.
Guests at the commissioning included Randy Christmann, North Dakota Public Service Commissioner; U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong; and U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer.

North Dakota celebrates National Farmer’s Market Week
Fresh handpicked vegetables weren’t hard to come by on Wednesday. In celebration of National Farmer’s Market week, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture brought in crafters and producers from across the state for one giant market. “By doing this gives the public and the vendor the ability to interact. Get feedback maybe tweak it, maybe figure that they have a home run here and all they have to do is take it that next step,” said North Dakota Agricultural Commissioner Doug Goehring.

North Dakota transportation director to step down
The agency’s deputy director of engineering, Ron Henke, will serve as interim director…Gov. Doug Burgum announced Panos’ resignation on Wednesday, Aug. 10. The Republican governor appointed Panos, the former director of Wyoming’s transportation department, to lead North Dakota’s transportation agency in August 2019. “Under Bill’s outstanding leadership, the Department of Transportation has made significant progress in many areas including traffic safety, strategic planning and improved access for constituents, especially to online services,” Burgum said in a news release. Panos praised the department’s employees, noting that they have “redefined our culture and expanded who we have helped.”

Officials break ground on Red River diversion project
Bismarck Tribune
Officials have formally broken ground for the 30-mile Red River diversion project to provide long-term flood control for the Fargo-Moorhead metro area. The federally funded $3.2 billion project has been in the works since flooding in 1997 and gained momentum after record-setting flooding in 2009. North Dakota is funding $870 million of the cost. Gov. Doug Burgum during Tuesday’s ground-breaking event said the project will protect more than 235,000 people and more than $25 billion worth of property. “This is a landmark day for one of the largest infrastructure projects in North Dakota history,” Burgum said.

25 years in the making, F-M Diversion breaks ground
Governor Doug Burgum says the F-M region’s flood protection project will also protect $25 billion worth of property and, on the North Dakota side, cities and towns that represent 20% of the state’s sales tax collections. “What are we protecting with this? We’re not just protecting memories and personal homes. We’re protecting an economic engine – that includes an entire research university, one-third of the K-12 students in North Dakota, not to mention tens of thousands of jobs,” Burgum said.

State Grants Available For School Board Leadership Training
Devils Lake Journal
State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler is inviting North Dakota school boards to take part in leadership training that is designed to help them improve the academic outcomes of their students. The Department of Public Instruction is offering competitive grants that would pay half the cost of the Be Legendary School Board Leadership Institute training, Baesler said. The sessions last two days and are conducted within the school district.

North Dakota teachers reach new heights exploring career options for students
“It was really, really exciting to see teachers from across the state pair up with other public servants, our soldiers, and our Army National Guard,” said Kirsten Baesler, State Superintendent for the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. The educators tested their marksmanship with weapon simulators but learned that the Army National Guard doesn’t just train soldiers for combat. “A lot of people when they think about the military, they think of the ‘tough guy’ type of things. But there’s so many other jobs out there. We have human resources, we have pay and finance, admin, so there’s all those jobs out there. Really, there’s something for everybody,” said Master Sergeant Calder Ressler, ND Army National Guard.

Washington, D.C.

North Dakota tribes receive $19.5 million to improve road safety
The Dickinson Press
The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded $19.5 million to the North Dakota Department of Transportation to be used to support the Tribal Safety Project. The project will include the installation of roundabouts, turn lanes, lighting and rumble strips to improve safety on the Standing Rock and Fort Berthold Indian reservations after problematic areas were identified in a 2017 Roadway Safety Review…Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., along with Rep. Kelly Armstrong, all Republicans from North Dakota, wrote Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg in a letter dated March 23 asking for support so that the funds could go to improve safety for pedestrians and vehicles traveling in busy areas near schools, workplaces and homes. “This construction project provides direct benefits to two underserved areas and addresses disparities in rural transportation infrastructure,” the letter stated. “North Dakota’s economy has grown significantly over the past decade, which has placed additional strain on our state’s infrastructure, including the State Highway System. While the state has made tremendous efforts to meet these ever-increasing needs, additional federal funding is needed to help ensure the safe and efficient transportation of goods and people,” the letter stated.

USDA grants NDSA request to revise calf indemnity rate in disaster program
Farm & Ranch Guide
The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) welcomed news on July 20 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) has revised the payment rate for young calves through its Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). Following two record-setting, border-to-border, spring storms in April that claimed thousands of cattle in the state, NDSA made the request to the federal agency in early May after gaps in LIP became apparent…Schafer wanted to give a big shout out in thanks to Marcy Svenningsen and Zach Ducheneaux, who used the NDSA’s data in the state office’s pitch to the federal office, as well as Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer, who amplified the concerns of producers to USDA in congressional hearings and correspondence. “While the disaster program doesn’t bring back the animals nor the generations of hard work, selection, and breeding that were lost, it will help producers recover after these catastrophic storms, which came on the heels of record-setting drought. The revised value is much more accurate and reflective of real-life pricing.”

Sen. Kevin Cramer visits North Dakota prison to learn about living and working conditions of inmates
Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-ND, paid a visit to the North Dakota State Penitentiary Thursday to see how the state’s prison functions. He spoke with the Prison Fellowship Academy, the Restoring Promises Unit and Rough Rider Industries, all of which are designed to improve living and working conditions of incarcerated individuals. “By treating individuals with dignity, they demonstrate each person has value. By providing skills training, they add value to their clients and the community,” said Cramer. Incarcerated individuals working in Rough Rider Industries learn to make goods from furniture to signs.

Senator John Hoeven talks inflation, agriculture in northwest North Dakota
While the U.S. House voted to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, North Dakota Senator John Hoeven met with people in Williams County to hear about how inflation is affecting them. Several topics were discussed at a roundtable hosted by the Williston Chamber of Commerce, including rising ag prices, supply chain issues, workforce, and energy costs. Hoeven warned that passage of the Inflation Reduction Act will not alleviate high prices. “By increasing taxes on companies and businesses that produce the goods and services, as well as taxing things like methane, [Democrats] are increasing the cost of energy at a time we need to bring it down,” said Hoeven. One part of the Inflation Reduction Act calls for the hiring of 87,000 new IRS agents. Hoeven said that will negatively impact small business owners. “You know they are going to go after our small businesses, and that is the absolute wrong thing to do. Our small businesses are the backbone of our commerce here in North Dakota and across the country,” said Hoeven. Hoeven added that one of the best solutions is to improve domestic oil and gas production, which can be done in the Bakken.

GOP’s risky proposition: Rebuffing a fossil fuel-friendly climate bill
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) criticized Manchin for bailing on bipartisan meetings that the West Virginian convened in the early summer in which centrists discussed ways to address climate change and lower energy prices that spiked after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In those meetings, Democrats and Republicans — including Cramer and Cassidy — discussed ideas that Manchin and Schumer ended up agreeing to, such as relaxing permitting rules and providing tax credits to support a bevy of carbon-free clean energy technologies. “We weren’t going to get to 60 votes, but we probably could have within the next one to two years regardless of the election result this fall,” Cramer said. “The Democrats’ bill really takes all that momentum and turns climate back into a skins vs. shirts game.”

Sen. John Hoeven announces summer interns
Grand Forks Herald
U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., announced six interns on Thursday, Aug. 11, that are serving in his offices in Washington and Bismarck. Alexandra Kindem is interning in Hoeven’s Bismarck office, while Ashley Johnson, Jack Mehus, Natalia Brama, Quinn Wrigley and Sara Ziegler are interning in the Republican senator’s Washington office this summer. The internship program “provides college students with a firsthand opportunity to track legislation and assist with research, administrative work, communications and constituent services,” according to a news release.

State delegation reacts to raid of Trump’s home
Minot Daily News
Sen. Kevin Cramer released a statement to Twitter saying, “This is a total show.” “The burden of proof and doubt does not rest where it normally would in a scenario like this one because we have a politicized and activist Department of Justice,” Cramer continued. “There needs to be a reckoning.” Rep. Kelly Armstrong decried the search, declaring it “an unprecedented escalation of DOJ’s political intimidation tactics.” Sen. John Hoeven’s response simply called for federal law enforcement to enforce the law impartially rather than politically, saying the “DOJ must be transparent with the American people.”

Natural gas pipeline ‘vital for future of southeastern North Dakota’
Wahpeton Daily News
“North Dakota is a leader in energy development, but in order to build upon our past success, we need FERC to help unleash more domestic energy production and enable us to construct pipeline infrastructure, like WBI’s expansion project, to bring that energy to market,” Hoeven said. If approved, the Wahpeton Expansion Project is expected to be constructed beginning in early 2024. Service would then begin that November. The completed 60.5 mile, 12-inch diameter pipeline would deliver 20.6 million cubic feet of natural gas from Mapleton, North Dakota, to Wahpeton, News Monitor previously reported.

State leaders break ground stormwater channel for F-M Diversion
“I think we formally started it after the 2009 flood. I can remember getting together, I was governor at the time, with Governor Pawlenty and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to have permanent protection here, we can’t be fighting a flood every year,” North Dakota Senator John Hoeven said. The channel will protect more than 230,000 homes, businesses, schools and hospitals from catastrophic floods. That’s about $25 billion in property value.

Fargo receives $1.5 million grant to replace 12th Avenue bridge
The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded $1.5 million to the city of Fargo to help replace the 12th Avenue North bridge. Announced in a press release on Tuesday, Aug. 9, by Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer, along with Rep. Kelly Armstrong, all Republicans who represent North Dakota, the funding was made available through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant program. The 12th Avenue North Bridge closes frequently due to high waters from the Red River during spring flooding, limiting crossing options for those who commute between Fargo and Moorhead.

Grand Forks International Airport awarded $9.39 million for projects
Grand Forks Herald
A $9.39 million grant will help fund a list of projects and upgrades at Grand Forks International Airport, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The grant was announced Monday afternoon in releases from the office of U.S. Sens. Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven. According to the release, the intent of the grant is to construct a 20,000-square-foot hangar for aircraft storage, for maintenance, and to modify the existing terminal building by adding a replacement Customs and Border Protection facility to better accommodate passenger loads.
U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong, law enforcement officials discuss topics during roundtable
Devils Lake Journal
A roundtable at the Lake Region Law Enforcement Center (LRLEC) was the perfect opportunity for law enforcement officers and officials to discuss various topics with U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong Wednesday morning. Armstrong was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives representing North Dakota in 2018. The Aug. 3 roundtable allowed law enforcement officials – including the Ramsey County Sheriff Department and Devils Lake Police Department – to voice their opinions to the congressman. Topics included retention and recruitment of law enforcement officers and mental health among adults and juveniles. “We have to figure out as communities, we have to figure out at the state [and] we have to figure out at the national level,” Armstrong said after the meeting. “Three things you absolutely have to have from a human resources standpoint for a community to maintain and grow is good teachers, good [police officers] and good healthcare. And for various, different reasons, we are starting to see real issues in recruiting in all three of those fields.” 

Democrats Pass Massive Economic Bill Along Party Lines in U.S. Senate, Heads To House Next
No Republicans supported the legislation. North Dakota Senator John Hoeven said the Inflation Reduction Act creates higher taxes and more spending. Senator Kevin Cramer said instead of taking steps to fix the economic crisis, the Biden Administration and the Democrats are “doubling down on the dumb policies that created this mess in the first place.”

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