State of the State Address

Gov. Doug Burgum shares North Dakota’s annual progress

Burgum announced the status of North Dakota and the achievements and struggles that the state faced on Wednesday, Feb. 16, during his state of the state address at the Fargo Theater. He discussed the legislative session, the coronavirus and honored members who have dedicated their time to North Dakota. 

“Today the state of our state is strong and growing stronger by the day with our unshakable faith in the unlimited potential of North Dakota and its people,” said Burgum. 

Burgum addressed the state of the coronavirus. He stresses the importance of vaccines to members of the community, telling people to meet with their trusted healthcare providers. Burgum hopes to see a boost in vaccine rates while continuing to fight against mandatory vaccine mandates. “We will continue to push back when the federal government overreaches into personal liberty and individuals’ personal health decisions,” said Burgum. 

This year the drought caused much stress on North Dakota farmers and ranchers. Last year North Dakota experienced the worst drought conditions recorded in the state’s history. To help ranchers and farmers throughout the state, “Using our whole government approach, we provided over $6 million in water supply and transportation,” said Burgum. 

“Responding last year to an unprecedented 2,199 fires that consumed over 122,000 acres, that’s more than triple the annual number of wildfires in the previous five years,” said Burgum. He honored and thanked the firefighters that worked hard to stop these conditions. 

The state has also seen an increase in cyber attacks across the state in recent years. “There continues to be a war on our state and our country, led in many cases by state-sponsored cyber attacks.” North Dakota defended itself against 4.5 billion attacks on the state government, this is more than double the attacks from two years ago. Most attacks can be stopped by an automated defense system. “More must be done to protect our citizens’ trusted information and our way of life,” said Burgum. 

Burgum also defends the North Dakota police and National Guard. “North Dakota, in our cities, we’ve been backing the Blue,” said Burgum. Last spring, Burgum signed legislation that provides health insurance benefits to the family of any emergency responder who died in the line of duty. 

“We fully funded the National Guard tuition assistance program,” said Burgum. Lawmakers have exempted military retirement pay from income tax, because “Those who serve their country have already paid society’s tab,” said Burgum. The exemption is also extended to the surviving spouses of military service members.  

The 2020 North Dakota’s census revealed that North Dakota’s population has grown by about 100,000 people in the last 10 years. This makes North Dakota the fourth fastest-growing population in the nation. North Dakota also has one of the youngest populations in the country, ranked fourth in the country. 

North Dakota is also investing money in infrastructure. They have invested “$6 billion in physical infrastructure” in the past five years, said Burgum. 

North Dakota is the leading producer in edible beans, honey, canola and flaxseed. The Grand Farm project will receive a $10 million grant from state legislatures and private donors. This will allow the area to lead the world in autonomous agriculture technology, said Burgum. 

Grand Farms visions will tie together NDSU, statewide extension and the private sector investments to improve North Dakota agriculture. “We have the potential to transform agriculture here at home, at the same time address the workforce challenges that face the agriculture industry,” said Burgum. 

A $350 million soybean crushing plant and refinery will be built in Spiritwood, N.D. This complex is going to create 70 permanent jobs and help North Dakota’s economy. 

According to North Dakota’s Office of the Governor, “Nearly $40 million will be used to create the state’s first polytechnic center at Bismarck State College.” This will help to build programs and help prepare students for their future career.

In North Dakota there have been 30,000 new businesses in the last two years. Burgum acknowledged North Dakota citizen successes such as the expansion and growth of Dot’s Pretzels.

“When we put our youth, then when we put our communities ahead of ourselves, we can create an amazing future,” said Burgum. 

To watch the state of the state address, click here.

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