FARGO — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announced Thursday, Oct. 24, that he is running for reelection along with Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, stating that one of the biggest challenges facing the state is a looming agricultural crisis brought on by an unprecedented amount of moisture this late in the year.
"The financial hardship is real," Burgum said at a news conference held in Fargo, where he was accompanied by his wife, First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum, and Sanford.
Recounting the plight of a rancher he recently talked to who lost half his herd in the fall blizzard that struck the state, Burgum said the region is facing problems it has never faced before and he said that will require "solutions we've never had before."
And those solutions, he said, will take time.
"This is not a sprint, it's a marathon," Burgum said. "We've never been in a situation like this."
At points during the news conference, Burgum paused to compose his emotions as he spoke about growers he has been meeting with and the stories they shared about their fears for this year's harvest and next spring's planting season.
"The emotion in the room you could feel from people that had really been pushed to the limit; people that care about their families, care about their neighbors, care about their livestock in a spot where they can't do something about it.
"This resilience is part of what makes North Dakota great, when we face really incredible challenges like this everybody pulls together," Burgum said.
Asked what his administration's top accomplishments have been during his three years as governor, Burgum said one was the way a high-profile dispute was resolved involving the Dakota Access Pipeline and Native American groups opposed to it.
"That could have turned violent and it didn't and from that we built even stronger relationships with the tribes," Burgum said, adding that another high point was the state's fiscal health.
"When we came in, we reduced the general fund, along with the Legislature, by $1.7 billion. No state has made that kind of reduction and kept things going," he said.
But the topper, he said, was what he described as a change in culture across state government, which he said has inspired workers to bring new energy and focus to their jobs.
"We have to have the curiosity to keep discovering new things," Burgum said.