Roughrider Roundup – January 9, 2023

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

Photo of the Week

Senators Cramer and Hoeven welcome home returning members of the North Dakota National Guard from the Southern Border where they worked over the past year to stem the tide of illegal immigration, drug smuggling and human trafficking into our nation.


Great analysis from RNC Research on how the President’s only Southern Border visit is nothing more than a carefully choreographed stunt. – Perrie

According to the mayor of El Paso, “we have hundreds and hundreds [of migrants] sleeping on the streets” as overcrowded facilities reach close to 5 times their capacity.

These homeless encampments – created because of the worst border crisis on record – are part of the devastating reality of Biden’s failed border policies. But will Biden see them during his border visit? No. He’ll be presented with a Potemkin village, as Biden’s DHS Secretary Mayorkas continues to falsely claim the border is “managed in an orderly way.”

Per new reporting from the Washington Examiner: “City sidewalks that transformed into makeshift homeless camps as tens of thousands of illegal immigrants were released into downtown El Paso in recent months have been cleared out ahead of President Joe Biden’s arrival Sunday.”

More lies from an administration more concerned about maintaining optics through their border coverup than addressing the reality of their border crisis.

North Dakota

Burgum focuses on industries, workforce needs in pitch to North Dakota lawmakers
The Bismarck Tribune
Gov. Doug Burgum on Tuesday urged the North Dakota Legislature to pass income tax relief and update laws for animal agriculture and a longtime program for community development, among other priorities. In his State of the State address on the 2023 Legislature’s first day, the second-term Republican governor touted the state’s record population, natural resources, industry projects and and rosy financial picture. “Today the state of our state is one of strength and infinite opportunity, blessed with abundant natural resources, inherent freedoms and industrious, caring people,” Burgum told North Dakota lawmakers and state officials.

ND Gov. Burgum highlights state energy sector in annual address
Fox News
Burgum also said North Dakota’s efforts to store carbon dioxide, known as carbon capture, storage and utilization, is creating a sustainable path forward for the agriculture and energy industries. He said North Dakota is one of only two states with authority to permit Class VI injection wells for carbon dioxide storage and is better positioned than other states to take advantage of the emerging industry. “Today, we’re on our way toward achieving carbon neutrality as a state by 2030, thanks to our extraordinary capacity to safely store over 252 billion tons of CO2, or 50 years of the nation’s CO2 output,” he said. “And in the process, we can help secure the future of our state’s two largest industries, energy and agriculture.”

Burgum asks lawmakers to back his lowest-in-nation income tax
The Center Square
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum touted his plan to reduce the state’s income taxes during his State of the State address given Tuesday to a joint session of the 68th Legislative Assembly. The income tax relief plan would eliminate income taxes for three out of five taxpayers, according to Burgum. “Inflation and rising interest rates are eating away at family finances. Consumer prices in November were up over 7% from a year ago,” Burgum said. “Let’s show our working families in North Dakota that we understand their struggles by expediting this income tax relief legislation and making it one of the first bills to be signed this session.”

North Dakota to receive $62M from opioid settlements
North Dakota will distribute to local governments up to $62 million that will come from opioid lawsuit settlements. Gov. Doug Burgum announced Friday, Jan. 6, the creation of a seven-person opioid settlement advisory committee. The group will receive and distribute funds received through 11 settlement agreements with 13 opioid manufacturers and distributors, according to a news release. “The opioid epidemic has caused significant harm to individuals, families and communities across North Dakota, and it’s important that we immediately begin putting these settlement funds to use to address opioid abuse and support recovery from the disease of addiction,” Burgum said in a statement.

Burgum pushes for industrial livestock operations
KX News
Burgum’s proposal would allow industrial-sized corporate-owned livestock operations in North Dakota. “Let’s take the handcuffs off our ranchers and livestock producers. Let’s allow animal agriculture to flourish in North Dakota once again. We need farm freedom legislation, and we need it now,” said Governor Doug Burgum during his January 3 State of the State address to both legislative chambers. Burgum points to statistics that show North Dakota is way down in animal agriculture production compared to our surrounding states.

Unmanned aerial systems company awarded first FAA waiver to fly in North Dakota beyond visual line of sight
An unmanned aerial systems operator has become the first company to receive federal approval to fly beyond visual line of sight in North Dakota. Governor Doug Burgum (R-ND) announced that uAvionix was awarded a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones beyond their visual line of sight using the VANTIS network. The company has been flying drones in northwestern North Dakota to help develop and validate the system…“This approval is a critical step that validates our state’s investment and years of work to bring UAS aircraft to commercial sectors in a safe and economic way,” said Burgum.

New gift for the proposed Theodore Roosevelt Library — and a proposal to redo the Painted Canyon Visitor Center
Prairie Public
In his “State of the State” address to North Dakota Legislators, Gov. Doug Burgum made a ‘surprise” announcement – regarding the proposed Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library, scheduled to be built in Medora. “I have the honor to make the public announcement, that Harold Hamm has completed a gift of $50 million to the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation,” Burgum said, to a round of applause in the House chamber. Hamm is the chair of Continental Resources – and is credited with helping to unlock the Bakken oil play. Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation chairman Ed O’Keefe called the gift a “game changer.”

Burgum working on recruiting people to move to North Dakota
AM 1100 The Flag
North Dakota’s population is growing and so is its need for workers. The latest estimate for the Peace Garden State is just under 780-thousand. This week, Governor Doug Burgum noted that if every person on unemployment and every college graduate took up work in the state there would still be thousands of jobs to fill. That is why the governor is focusing on recruiting people to the state with the recently revived “Find the Good Life” campaign.

Committee OKs bill changing spending caps for North Dakota’s Emergency Commission
The Center Square
The North Dakota Senate’s State and Local Government Committee greenlighted a bill Thursday that would change the spending caps for the state’s Emergency Commission. The commission is tasked with approving special and federal funds the state receives during the interim of North Dakota’s legislative session. Gov. Doug Burgum is chairman of the Emergency Commission. Other members are the secretary of state, the majority leaders of the House and Senate and the chairman of the Appropriations Committee from each body. 

N.D. farmers eyeing wheat prices; hesitant to after high inputs
North Dakota experienced record spring wheat and durum yields in 2022, but now producers are facing a peculiar issue. Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says the price of wheat is unusually low, considering the market factors. And that’s a problem for producers who paid high prices for inputs last spring. He says if prices don’t increase, some farmers in North Dakota might choose to grow a different crop. “It’s impacting decisions being made by farmers right now, as to whether they’re even going to plant wheat this spring. Because some of them are telling me, even with the good wheat crop they had, when you’re looking at seven-dollar wheat, cash price, they say, ‘I can’t make it on that. Not with what I’m paying for expenses,’” said Goehring.

N.D. Attorney General Wants Tougher Sentencing On Some Crimes
North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley says a mandatory minimum bill is needed to set tougher jail and prison sentences as violent crime continues to escalate. During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at the state capitol, Wrigley said many criminals who are convicted of dangerous crimes and imprisoned are out too soon. Wrigley says he has met with sheriff’s departments, police departments, legislators and other groups and heard concerns about escalation in violent crime, transparency, and truth in sentencing.

Public Service Commission holds hearing for expansion of Williams County power station
Having a reliable power source available to the public is important during peak times in the summer and winter. In order to keep up with future demand, Basin Electric Power Cooperative is looking to build upon their existing facility northwest of Williston. The Pioneer Generation Station currently generates 242 megawatts for consumers throughout northwest North Dakota. On Thursday, Basin Electric Power Cooperative met with the Public Service Commission for permit approval to expand the site…“Here’s a project that has almost 600 megawatts of power and will be almost 100% capacity factor, which means when you need it, you can turn it on. That’s a really valuable resource,” said Julie Fedorchak, commissioner of the Public Service Commission. Basin was questioned by the commission on several concerns including environmental impact, their use of simple cycle turbines, and possible noise pollution affecting a nearby church. “Our goal is not to see that it gets built or to stand in the way of a project, but to make sure that if it’s done, it’s done right,” said Randy Christmann, Public Service chairman.

Hennessy Named 2023 Weed Control Partner
Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has named Jim Hennessy as the recipient of the 2023 Weed Control Partner Award. Hennessy is the current president of the North Dakota Weed Control Association and has been a Mountrail County weed officer and ag agent for 27 years in Mountrail County. “Jim takes the initiative to keep in touch with other weed officers and frequently mentors new weed officers across the state,” Goehring said. “He encourages education and provides public outreach on integrated weed management, early detection and rapid response.”

Children’s event set for North Dakota Capitol
The Bismarck Tribune
Agencies serving young children will gather at the state Capitol next month for an event including story time with the governor and other activities. North Dakota Early Childhood Awareness Day is from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11, in Memorial Hall of the Capitol. The event is free and open to the public. Activities include story time with Gov. Doug Burgum, a photo booth and a meet and greet with PBS Kids characters The Berenstain Bears.

Washington, D.C.

Senators put food on the line ahead of NDSU-SDSU FCS championship game
North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer and South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds have a friendly wager on Sunday’s FCS National Championship Game between the NDSU Bison and SDSU Jackrabbits. Sen. Cramer said bragging rights are on the line. If the Jackrabbits win, he’ll provide bison burgers for his and Sen. Rounds’ staff. Sen. Rounds said he’s ready to put up or shut up, and he’s going to put up. He said if NDSU wins, he’ll bring steaks and tiger meat. Win or lose, he said he’ll bring the ice cream.

North Dakota U.S. Sen. John Hoeven Sworn In For 3rd Term
Hoeven says the 118th Congress needs to focus on addressing the real issues impacting American households including getting inflation under control. He says the best way to do that is to unleash all of America’s vast energy resources, including abundant oil, gas and coal reserves.

Speaker McCarthy faces first test on rules package
The Washington Post
After four years in the minority and seeing Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) tight grip on the chamber, McCarthy’s allies have defended the rules package, even though it diminishes the power McCarthy can wield. “Anything that takes more power out of leadership and gives more ability to rank-and-file members is going to be really good for our conference,” Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), a McCarthy ally, told The Early on Sunday.

Thread receives $1.2 million to develop perimeter security software for Grand Forks Air Force Base
Grand Forks Herald
Grand Forks technology company Thread, formerly known as Airtonomy, has received a $1.2 million award under the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research Program to develop unmanned aerial system software to enhance perimeter security at Grand Forks Air Force Base. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., announced the award on Friday morning, Jan. 6. The award is being made by AFWERX, an arm of the Air Force Research Laboratory, to help ensure the base is protected against threats, intrusions and breaches.

Armstrong introduces bill tightening digital copyright protection
“Online platforms are important places for creators like musicians, authors, and filmmakers to share their content with consumers across the world,” Armstrong said in a written statement. “Unfortunately, online piracy has become prevalent and difficult to stop, jeopardizing content quality and the incentives to create it,” he added. The proposed legislation would help ensure artists are compensated for their work while ensuring public access to their creations, Armstrong said. He added that the new rules would make it harder for Republicans to pass legislation and will force lawmakers to take tougher votes because more rank-and-file members will be able to offer amendments and bills. But it’s worth it, he said, because members want more say in the legislative process. “I think our voters sent us here to take tough votes,” Armstrong said. 

Lingering mail issues affect Minot area
Minot Daily News
Hoeven said the Postal Service reported the Minot Post Office remains behind but had hoped to clear the backlog Thursday. Information provided to Hoeven’s office Thursday stated Minot had five city routes, letters and flats, not go out that day. All packages went out. The unit had five employees call in sick but has extra employees available to deliver all mail today. At this point, employee attendance is the only issue creating delays in clearing mail, postal officials said. Personnel shortages have been impacting the Postal Service for some time. However, the Minot Post Office hired four carriers in the past two weeks and has five more carriers and a postal clerk in orientation who should start next week, Hoeven relayed from postal officials. Hoeven said his office received about 20 customer complaints related to postal delays in the past two weeks. “But I have also been out there and have seen that the service is not what it needs to be,” he said. “The holidays, the heavy snow and the difficulty getting people is their rationale for being behind.”

Hoeven Comments on New WOTUS Rule from EPA
Senator John Hoeven issued the following statement after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a final rule to redefine the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS). “The Biden administration continues to push overbroad regulations that impose increased costs and greater constraints on our economy, which ultimately lead to higher prices for American consumers,” said Hoeven. “Like the Obama-era rule, this new WOTUS definition violates private property rights and is the wrong approach for our nation. Instead, we need regulatory relief that encourages investment and reduces costs for energy development, agriculture producers and construction, among others, while empowering states to protect the water resources within their borders.”

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