Roughrider Roundup – December 20, 2021

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

Programming Note: We’ll see you in 2022! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Please note ** NDGOP will be closed starting at noon on Thursday, Dec. 23rd-26th for Christmas, and we will also be closed Friday, Dec. 31 for New Years.

North Dakota

NDGOP Holds Successful State Committee Meeting.

“I want to thank the hardworking members of the NDGOP State Committee who took the time before the holidays to form an easy quorum and vote to continue the past tradition of holding a Republican endorsing convention in the spring; add a few additional requirements for candidates seeking the NDGOP’s endorsement at its convention, and continue to consider party resolutions through a modified process,” said Chairman Schafer.

North Dakota’s unemployment rate at 3.2%
North Dakota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 3.2% in November, down from 3.3% in October, according to information from the Labor Market Information Center at Job Service North Dakota (LMIC).

Goehring offers tips for Kentucky aid
The Bismarck Tribune
“The agriculture community always comes together to help each other in times of need,” he said. “If you want to help impacted Kentucky farmers and ranchers, there are several ways to do so.”Money donations may be made to the Kentucky Agriculture Relief Fund at Farm materials donations, such as fencing, may be made to the Kentucky Ag Disaster Donations operation. More information is available at

Wardner, a champion for the West, announces retirement
The Williston Herald 
“Today we offer our deepest gratitude to Senator Rich Wardner for his more than three decades of service to the people of District 37 in Dickinson and his 10 years as Senate majority leader,” Gov. Doug Burgum said. “Senator Wardner continues to demonstrate the qualities of a true statesman who fights for the betterment of all North Dakotans. Wardner is and has been a servant leader within both chambers and also an educator and passionate coach. His dedication to improving infrastructure, especially during the Bakken boom, supporting K-12 career academies, higher education and tribal partnerships, and advocating for those working for the state will have a positive impact for generations to come.”

Longtime North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem announces retirement
The Jamestown Sun
Burgum said Friday that Stenehjem is the “epitome of a dedicated public servant,” adding that his “chief concern has always been the safety and well-being of North Dakota citizens.”

State agency food drive competition donates nearly 6,000 items to Bismarck Food Pantry
KX News
A bit of friendly competition between a few state agencies is helping put food on tables this holiday season. For the first year ever, the state Auditor’s Office challenged other departments to see who could collect the most food items. Among the six offices that participated, the Governor’s Office came in first…While the Auditor’s Office didn’t place first, they say they’re happy to contribute what they can. “We were a strong second. The Governor’s Office did a fantastic job, couldn’t be more proud of what they were able to contribute. But I’m also really proud of what the Auditor’s Office did. We were in solid second place,” State Auditor Josh Gallion said.

Water Commission Approves Various Water Projects at December Meeting
Valley Views & News
The largest cost-share approval today was $11.5 million for construction of the Northwest Area Water Supply (NAWS), South Prairie Reservoir and Hydraulic Control Structure. Progress continues to move forward on several phases of the NAWS project through local, state, and federal cooperative efforts. The state’s total investment in the project is nearly $66 million and is anticipated to be completed in 2030. NAWS is designed to provide water to over 80,000 people in north central North Dakota…The 10-member Water Commission consists of Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, and eight members appointed by the governor to serve six-year terms.

Burgum to deliver 2022 State Of State in Fargo
AM 1100 The Flag
Governor Burgum will deliver the address the morning of January 19th in Festival Concert Hall on the campus of North Dakota State University. The speech will also be broadcast on his office’s website.  

Burgum, Dohrmann visit North Dakota soldiers serving on the southern border
The Bismarck Tribune
“From the southwest border to our shared northern border with Canada, border security affects every state in the nation, from ensuring the safe and efficient flow of goods and services to stopping illegal immigration and drug and human trafficking,” said Burgum, who serves as commander-in-chief of the state Guard. “We’re deeply grateful to our North Dakota soldiers for doing their part with courage and professionalism to support the efforts to end the humanitarian crisis and secure the southwest border.” Burgum and Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, the Guard’s adjutant general, received briefings from Customs and Guard officials and met with the soldiers.

One wind farm granted lighting waiver while North Dakota regulators reject extensions for others
The Bismarck Tribune
A wind farm near intercontinental ballistic missile silos in central North Dakota will not have to install a system to keep the lights atop its turbines from blinking all night…Commissioners denied two other companies’ requests for more time to comply with the end-of-year deadline spelled out in North Dakota’s law surrounding the light mitigation systems. The PSC has yet to make a decision in two other cases…Commissioners denied the companies’ requests, saying that 10 wind farms had already managed to comply with the year-end deadline, which they had known about since the law passed in 2017. “I find it disappointing given a four-year window that these companies chose so long to wait to get the ball rolling,” Commissioner Randy Christmann said.

Hydrogen hub, Coal Creek projects among those recommended for state funding
The Bismarck Tribune
Proposals to establish a hydrogen hub in North Dakota and to retrofit Coal Creek Station with a carbon capture system are among the projects recommended for funding assistance via a new arm of state government focused on clean energy…The three-member Industrial Commission, chaired by Gov. Doug Burgum, will have the final say over which projects receive funding. The commission is expected to make those decisions when it meets on Monday. Future funding rounds slated for 2022 are meant to allocate $17 million in remaining grant dollars and $115 million in loans.

Specialty crop grant applications
Tioga Tribune
Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has announced that applications are now being accepted for 2022 Specialty Crop Grants. “We encourage organizations, institutions and individuals to submit proposals on their own or in partnerships,” said North Dakota Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring. The North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) will distribute the funds through a competitive grant process.

North Dakota attorney general warns of recent gift card scams
The Dickinson Press
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem is warning residents to be mindful of fraud during the holiday season after a recent spate of gift card scams racked up tens of thousands of dollars. The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection division reported that it received nine reports of gift card fraud totaling $45,000 over the last two weeks. Stenehjem advised residents to buy gift cards only as presents for family or friends, noting “gift cards are a favorite tool of scam artists.”

Washington, D.C.

Sen. Marshall’s effort to limit consequences of military vaccine mandate passes Congress
American Military News
Marshall was able to add language to the National Defense Authorization Act — the bill that funds the military — to say that people fired from the military for refusing the vaccine must be honorably discharged or discharged under honorable conditions…“We’re just taking that worst case scenario off the table,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer, a Republican from North Dakota, who cosponsored the amendment. “That relieves the commanders, it relieves the Department of Defense, it relieves even the joint chiefs of staff from making a different decision. And they should be relieved with that relief.”

Hoeven and Tester Press USDA to Expedite Disaster Help
“Our producers are still facing challenges from this year’s severe drought, and need to know what to expect from this disaster assistance and when it will become available as they plan for next year,” said Hoeven. “We encouraged Under Secretary Bonnie to get this relief out to our farmers and ranchers as quickly as possible to help them recover and maintain their operations following a tremendously challenging year.”

Wardner, a champion for the West, announces retirement
The Williston Herald
“Rich Wardner is the best. He is the true gentlemen of North Dakota’s legislative history and we are better off because of his servant leadership to our great state. With an educator’s and coach’s heart, he gives being a Senator a good name,” Sen. Kevin Cramer said. Sen. John Hoeven said Wardner’s efforts have left North Dakota a better state. “He has been an educator, coach and farmer – truly a range of experience that touches many central aspects of our state” Hoeven said. “Through his decades of service, hard work and leadership, he has helped shape our state for the better.”

Biden’s China ambassador confirmed after passage of Uyghur forced-labor bill lifts Rubio hold
The Washington Examiner
President Joe Biden’s nominee for ambassador to China was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday after a top Republican senator agreed to drop his hold on the nomination and allow a vote following the passage of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act…Despite allowing a vote to move forward on Burns, Rubio still opposed him and voted against his nomination on Thursday, along with Republican Sens….John Hoeven[.]

Cyber Workforce Bill Clears Senate
“Our legislation will help retain our existing cyber-workforce while also boosting collaboration between agencies to ensure our nation is better equipped to deal with threats,” said Hoeven, a member of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Committee“Given the increase in cyber threats and the growing complexity of these attacks, it’s vital our federal workforce has the knowledge and skills to fight back.”

Northrop Grumman To Repurpose EQ-4Bs as Range Hawks
Aviation International News
One of the drivers behind the SkyRange program is North Dakota Senator John Hoeven. “With divestment of the Global Hawk Block 20s, we’ve worked to secure a real opportunity to leverage the expertise we’ve built at Grand Sky and repurpose these aircraft to support hypersonic missile testing,” he said. “Doing so will save the armed forces time and money in developing these new missiles, as the new Range Hawks will be much more efficient than the current ship-based test range and support additional options for conducting tests.” Hoeven is continuing to make the case for bringing the Air Force’s RQ-4B Block 30s to Grand Sky after they have been retired from service, which is likely to happen in the coming year or two. This plan could cement the facility’s position as the hub of TRMC’s SkyRange program.

Legislation authorizes nuclear modernization programs at Minot AFB
The Minot Daily News
Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, said, “The NDAA is about showing our support for the men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line to defend our nation. At the same time, it shows strength to our adversaries by authorizing important programs for our national defense. That includes ensuring we continue to modernize our nuclear forces, which is critical for the missions at Minot Air Force Base, support our Global Hawk mission at Grand Fork Air Force Base, as well as authorizing important projects and priorities for our National Guard. As a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, we’ll continue working to fund these national security priorities.” The legislation passed the House on Dec. 8. “Support for our military is important to the security of our nation and of North Dakota,” said Congressman Kelly Armstrong. “The 2022 NDAA provides critical funds for a strong defense and a pay raise for the men and women in our armed forces. I am pleased that the final bill is bipartisan, as supporting our troops should be.”

Senators request vaccine mandate exemption for cross-border truckers
Land Line
Fourteen U.S. senators want truck drivers from the United States and Canada to cross the border without being subject to a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. [T]he letter was signed by:…Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D…Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.

Navy Awards $2.5 Million for Research to Improve Solar Cells & Military Asset Mobility at NDSU
The Valley City Times Record
Senator John Hoeven today announced that the Office of Naval Research (ONR) has awarded $2.5 million to Dr. Philip Boudjouk at North Dakota State University (NDSU) to develop silicon-based materials for use in solar cells. The goal of the project is to create cells that can produce electricity in low-light conditions, including in moonlight, cloud cover, indoors and underwater. This would support greater mobility for military assets and provide flexibility to a variety of missions, including unmanned aerial systems (UAS) operations. At the same time, the research seeks to develop methods for producing new silicon alloys at lower temperatures than required for existing technologies, allowing solar cells to be produced more efficiently and at a lower cost.

GOPers slam State Dept. for letting Nigeria off religious freedom hook
New York Post
Seven Republican senators urged the Biden administration Monday to restore Nigeria to a State Department list of countries that systematically violate the religious freedom of their citizens after it was removed last month.“Religious people in Nigeria face severe persecution at the hands of radical terrorist groups and even their own government,” read the letter, which was signed by…Kevin Cramer of North Dakota.

Legislation Introduced to Protect U.S. Sheep Producers from Harmful Imports
Northern Ag Network
The legislation introduced by Rep. Pfluger in the House and Senator Barrasso in the Senate will provide the domestic sheep and lamb industry the information we need to assess the potential impacts of increasing exports and inform this conversation going forward.” Sen. Barrasso’s legislation is cosponsored by…Kevin Cramer, John Hoeven[.]

GOP reps rip Disney over ‘deplorable’ scrubbing of ‘Simpsons’ China episode
New York Post
A group of Republican lawmakers have demanded that Disney’s CEO explain why an episode of “The Simpsons” that includes a joke about the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre was removed from the Hong Kong version of the Disney+ streaming service…In addition to Duncan, the letter was signed by…Kelly Armstrong (R-ND)[.]

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