Roughrider Roundup – March 14, 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


SAVE THE DATE: The NDGOP Convention will take place April 1-2, 2022 in Bismarck, ND at the Bismarck Event Center. More information to come. 

Photo of the Week

Jamestown High School Junior Will Nelson with Senator Hoeven reflects on his experience as a Senate Page

The Senate Page program dates back to 1829. Senate pages serve primarily as messengers, delivering documents throughout the Capitol complex. Other responsibilities include preparing the Senate Chamber for each day’s business, distributing the Congressional Record and other documents related to daily business and assisting in the cloakrooms and chambers.
Nelson was sponsored by Senator John Hoeven.

North Dakota

COVID-19 continues to weaken as North Dakota marks 2nd anniversary of pandemic start
The Bismarck Tribune
“We encourage citizens to be prepared and not panic — to base their actions on facts, not fear,” Gov. Doug Burgum said at the time. He would go on to do about 100 public virus briefings, many of them lasting for hours. Since then, North Dakota has confirmed 239,125 COVID-19 cases in North Dakota, with 236,462 recoveries, 7,843 hospitalizations and 2,223 deaths. About one-fifth of the cases and deaths have been in Burleigh and Morton counties. There have been two main pandemic spikes in the state — in late 2020 before the arrival of vaccines, and late last year and early this year with the onset of the highly contagious delta and omicron variants of the virus. Both waves have now waned, and Burgum on Thursday announced that North Dakota’s coronavirus approach is shifting from pandemic to endemic. That essentially means COVID-19 is expected to be a regular part of life.

Burgum reaffirms North Dakota’s support for Ukraine
Devils Lake Journal
Gov. Doug Burgum reaffirmed North Dakota’s support for the Ukrainian people during a phone call with Serhiy Koledov, the consul general of Ukraine who was appointed consul general of Ukraine in Chicago in July 2020, serving an 11-state area including North Dakota. During the call, the governor said North Dakota has many residents who can trace their ancestry to Ukraine. “All North Dakotans are standing in solidarity with you and your country,” the governor said.

Burgum: Biden plan to buy oil from Venezuela, Iran ‘absolutely absurd’
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum says “it’s shocking” that the U.S. has been asking foreign governments to help mitigate the effects of a possible oil embargo on Russia. Senior U.S. officials secretly traveled to Venezuela over the weekend in a risky bid to unfreeze hostile relations with Vladimir Putin’s ally in Latin America, a top oil exporter. “In North Dakota alone, we’re operating at 400,000 barrels a day below what we were prior to the pandemic, and that can easily be turned back on again by U.S. energy companies,” Burgum said during an interview on the Fox Business Network.

North Dakota Public Service Commission to receive federal grant towards reclaiming abandoned coal mines
“This is money for us to find dangerous situations. Some of them over the years have been old highwalls that were abandoned from old surface mines that someone falling off the edge is an obvious danger. I believe it has saved lives. I know it has saved the state a lot of inconvenience and expense and one of the best examples of that is in these areas where there are state highways,” said Public Service Commissioner Randy Christmann.

National Guard ending its COVID-19 support operations in North Dakota
The Center Square
“As we shift operations toward an endemic status, we thank the National Guard and the Department of Emergency Services for the incredible support they provided throughout the pandemic,” Burgum said. “From testing and vaccinations to providing additional capacity at the state lab, the work of the National Guard enhanced our response across the state, and we are grateful for their assistance, service and lifesaving work.”

Feds suspends North Dakota cattle trader for 10 years for alleged Packers and Stockyards violations
The Jamestown Sun
On Feb. 18, 2021, North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring a “temporary” cease and desist order against Gader, after complaints of non-payment surfaced. On March 24, 2021, they issued a “permanent” cease-and-desist order, revoking his license.

North Dakota investment board continuing with Russia divestment
AM 1100 The Flag
The North Dakota State Investment Board is continuing to cut financial ties with Russia. Governor Doug Burgum says the overall value of the state investments is nine million dollars after a 25 million dollar drop tied to Russian securities. The 12-member board voted last week to divest public money with Russian ties. The state Retirement and Investment Office responsible for the divestment is expected to update the board about progress later this month.

MonDak lawmakers continue to hammer points for domestic oil production
The Williston Herald
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, meanwhile, joined a coalition of 24 fellow Republican governors on a letter urging Biden to “unleash” American oil and gas production to restore the nation’s energy independence and help her allies. “By removing his bans on new oil and gas development on federal lands, building the Keystone XL pipeline, and reinstating regulatory reforms to streamline energy permitting, we can protect our national energy security and sell to our friends rather than buy form our enemies — specifically Russia,” the letter said. “Family budgets have already been stretched thin following record inflation. People in our states cannot afford another spike at the gas pump, and our allies cannot afford to be held hostage by Putin’s tyranny and aggression.”

Burgum invites Biden to Bakken to talk energy production
AM 1100 The Flag
Burgum sent Biden a letter Tuesday saying he believes North Dakota could play a role in ensuring the nation’s security. The governor said he wants Biden to “see firsthand” the ways North Dakota’s clean, efficient production practices can increase the nation’s energy independence.  

Pride Dairy receives APUC award
Minot Daily News
Pride Dairy Inc. was awarded $100,000 from the Agricultural Products Utilization Committee for a comprehensive brand strategy and to develop its new ice cream sandwich product.North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring announced the commission made nine awards totaling $598,090 at its quarterly meeting Feb. 16-17 in Jamestown. APUC is a program of the North Dakota Department of Agriculture that administers grant programs for research and development of new and expanded uses for North Dakota agricultural products. The grants can be used for basic and applied research, marketing and utilization, farm diversification, nature-based agritourism, prototype and technology and technical assistance.

Dickinson rally for Ukraine raises $37,000 and counting
The Dickinson Press
Among other politicians in the audience, North Dakota Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner compared the Russo-Ukrainian War as a David and Goliath situation, but believes David will win again. “… Putin rules with fear. Zelenskyy rules by example,” Wardner said. “… He’s out there as a warrior. He’s on the frontlines. He’s with his men. He’s rubbing elbows with them. He’s encouraging them. It gives me goosebumps when I think about what this man is doing.”

North Dakota’s longest-serving active lawmaker to retire
Minot Daily News
One of the longest serving state lawmakers in the country and a meticulous monitor of the the state’s money said Monday he is retiring from the North Dakota Legislature. Republican Sen. Ray Holmberg, 79, of Grand Forks, was first elected in 1976. He is the longest-service active legislator in the state and is tied as the longest-serving state senator in the U.S. with Democratic South Carolina Sen. Nikki Setzler, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures…Gov. Doug Burgum said Holmberg “has conservatively steered state and federal dollars to some of North Dakota’s most impactful programs and infrastructure projects.” His pet project was higher education, cohorts said. “Ray cared deeply for the people of North Dakota. His institutional memory and ability to bring people together will be great missed in the chamber,” said Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, who is also retiring.

Anhydrous ammonia safety training sessions planned
Minot Daily News
The North Dakota Department of Agriculture and the North Dakota Agriculture Association will be hosting a series of anhydrous ammonia safety training sessions across the state…“Annual documented safety training is required for any person handling, transferring, transporting or otherwise working with anhydrous ammonia at storage facilities,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “These training sessions will meet the requirements of the state and attendees will be issued a certificate of completion.”

North Dakota attracting new businesses
The Center Square
More than 30,000 new businesses have been registered in North Dakota over the last two years, Burgum said in his state of the state address. In the past year, capital investments in North Dakota have totaled over $21 billion. Twelve billion dollars has been invested in biomanufacturing and other technology businesses, $7 billion in the energy industry and $2.2 billion in value-added agricultural products, Burgum said. 

Washington, D.C.

Congress votes to renew landmark domestic violence law
ABC News
Congress has renewed a 1990s-era law that extends protections to victims of domestic and sexual violence, updating the landmark Violence Against Women Act nearly three years after partisan disagreements caused it to lapse…Passage of the legislation brought a rare moment of bipartisan agreement in the Congress, achieved partly on the strength of the personal connections that lawmakers have to domestic violence and its devastating effects. For North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer, the connection is his adopted son whose biological mother was murdered by her husband.

Biden sends ‘wrong message’ to oil industry ‘every day’: Sen. Cramer
Fox News
Watch here.

MonDak lawmakers continue to hammer points for domestic oil production

The Williston Herald
Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and Sen. Steve Daines, R-MT, both joined a letter this week to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, urging her to reverse course on climate risk rules that the Securities and Exchange Commission intends to roll out next week…Sen. John Hoeven, meanwhile, pushed back against new pipeline regulations that FERC is proposing during a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The regulations will adversely affect many future projects, and could even hamper existing projects that have already completed environmental impact statements.

Armstrong, Burgum invite Biden to the Bakken to ‘see how energy independence can be achieved’
Congressmen Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) and August Pfluger (R-TX) sent a letter to President Joe Biden Monday imploring him to support domestic energy production. Additionally, the Congressmen invited the President to visit the Bakken Formation in North Dakota and the Permian Basin in Texas to see firsthand the work that happens every day in domestic oilfields. The letter from the Congressmen wrote in part: “Only a decade ago, energy producing states like North Dakota and Texas were at the heart of the American energy renaissance that unleashed domestic production of oil and natural gas. Combined, our states produce over half of the nation’s crude oil and the hardworking men and women of our states are ready and willing to increase domestic production again, but they need the appropriate regulatory environment and support of your administration. Rather than plead with Saudi Arabia and Venezuela to increased production, we invite you to visit the Bakken Formation and the Permian Basin to see firsthand the essential work that happens every day in domestic oilfields. America’s oil and gas producers gave us energy independence before, it’s time to get out of the way and let them do it again.” Tuesday, Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND) echoed these remarks in a letter to President Biden.

Holmberg’s retirement prompts outpouring of comments from state, federal lawmakers
Grand Forks Herald
“Through more than four decades of service and leadership, Sen. Holmberg has left his mark on Grand Forks and North Dakota, and we are better for it,” said Hoeven, a Republican who previously served as North Dakota’s governor. “In particular, he leveraged his role on the Senate Appropriations Committee to strengthen our institutions of higher education to benefit students and the broader economy, while also working to help our state overcome a variety of challenges, seize new opportunities for growth and improve our quality of life.” Hoeven, on behalf of his wife, Mikey, and the residents of the state, thanked Holmberg for his service…Armstrong, R-N.D., called Holmberg “a champion” for the city, his district and the state. Armstrong served in the Legislature before he was elected to the U.S. House in 2018. “He has been a constant force in the state Senate,” Armstrong said. “I had the opportunity to serve with him and was always in awe of his institutional knowledge. I wish him well in his retirement.” Cramer, in his first term as a U.S. senator after serving as state Republican Party chairman and two terms on the North Dakota Public Service Commission, called Holmberg “a legend.” “He has long been Grand Forks’ number one cheerleader in the Legislature, replacing Earl Strinden,” said Cramer. “He is both thoughtful and tenacious in his work on behalf of the Grand Forks region. He has the rare ability to amass friends while amassing power. It’s hard to drive around Grand Forks and not see Ray’s beneficial influence in the institutions surrounding the city.”

Burial equity bill to be signed into law
Minot Daily News
Sen. Kevin Cramer, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and sponsor of the Burial Equity for Guards and Reserves Act issued the following statement: “This is the absolute right thing to do. The brave members of the Reserve and National Guard are heroes who always step up to the plate when duty calls. This new law will ensure state veterans’ cemeteries will not be punished by Washington bureaucrats if they choose to bury these men and women.” Sen. John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Committee and a bill sponsor, said, “State veterans cemeteries, including ours in North Dakota, allow servicemembers to be laid to rest with honor closer to their homes and loved ones.

Grand Forks city leaders discuss Grand Forks Air Force Base issues in Washington, D.C.
Grand Forks Herald
City leaders met with Space Development Agency Director Derek Tournear to discuss what’s to come regarding space satellite missions for GFAFB. Leaders also had discussions with generals at the Pentagon, along with North Dakota Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer, focusing on how to leverage the base and its strategic location. They also discussed re-purposing the Global Hawk mission.

Travel mask mandate extended again to April 18th
AM 1100 The Flag
“We’ve pushed back against those mandates from the start, and this latest effort is to end the mandates related to travel on planes, trains and buses,” said North Dakota Senator John Hoeven. “People should be able to make their own decisions.” 

SkyWest Airlines files for termination of contract with Devils Lake Airport
Devils Lake Journal
Dennis Olson, chairman of the Devils Lake Regional Airport Authority, said the airline was a great service to work with and that termination is the result of the the airline facing an ongoing pilot shortage…U.S. Sen. John Hoeven confirmed late Thursday that the state was working to ensure service continues in Devils Lake and Jamestown. A representative said in an email to Grand Forks Herald that the state was working with the local communities and the Department of Transportation to ensure continued reliable air service to the communities of Jamestown and Devils Lake “[We] will be petitioning DOT to ensure there is continued air service to these airports without any disruptions,” the email said.

Bipartisan pressure mounts for US to do more in Ukraine amid frustration over Polish jets
In a sign of the concern about the reaction on Capitol Hill, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley was making calls to a number of members of Congress on Thursday, according to Sen. Kevin Cramer, a Republican from North Dakota, who said he hadn’t received a call from Milley but knew of others who were planning to speak to him. “A number of members are talking to him today,” Cramer told CNN.

Republican Bill Would Ban Oil from Iran and Venezuela
North Dakota Senators Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven have joined fellow Republicans in introducing a bill to ban oil and natural gas imports from Iran and Venezuela. Hoeven says the Biden administration’s willingness to do business with two adversaries is troubling, just as the U.S. bans imports of Russian oil. They want to expand U.S. energy production to strengthen both the economy and national security. “The Biden administration continues to look to other countries for oil and gas, countries that have human rights issues, countries that have worse environmental standards, that makes no sense.,” said Hoeven. “We need to produce more oil and gas here at home, we can do it if the administration will just take the handcuffs off.”

How farmers and ranchers are bouncing back despite the ongoing drought in western ND
State officials are concerned about the impact high energy and fertilizer prices will have on farmers and ranchers. “When the costs of energy go up like they have, fertilizer goes through the roof. That drives up their costs, so you’re seeing better commodity prices, obviously, which is of course a concern from the consumer side with inflation. But that’s all eaten up in terms of the farmer because of these high input costs,” said Senator John Hoeven.

Ukraine crisis fuels calls to open US, European conservation acres
Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer, whose home state of North Dakota has 1.2 million acres enrolled, also thinks CRP should be an option for cropping this year. “Everyone should be deeply concerned about global food prices hitting record highs at the same time an agricultural powerhouse like Ukraine[.]”

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