Dakota Download Governor Burgum's Weekly Update - November 26, 2023

Governor, First Lady invite public to ‘Light the Way’ at annual State Christmas Tree lighting ceremony

St. Mary’s Blues, Miss North Dakota 2023 Sydney Helgeson, and pianist Michael Land to perform for ceremony

Gov. Doug Burgum and First Lady Kathryn Burgum encourage the public to join them for music, carols and a holiday reading at the 42nd annual North Dakota State Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 27, in Memorial Hall at the Capitol.

The theme of this year’s Christmas tree is “Lighting the Way,” in connection with the first lady’s platform of inspiring people to know that recovery from the disease of addiction is possible. The theme also broadly applies to the notion that every person can be a light for others during the holiday season.

This year’s ceremony will feature performances from the St. Mary’s Central High School Jazz ensemble “St. Mary’s Blues,” Miss North Dakota 2023 Sydney Helgeson and pianist Michael Land. Free holiday cookies, hot chocolate and apple cider will be available to all attendees. All are welcome to attend and view the submitted handmade ornaments featured on the State Christmas Tree.

Following the tradition established during the past four ceremonies, the tree will be ceremoniously lit by three individuals in recovery and their families to signify hope, opportunity and renewal during the holiday season. Attendees of the event may park in the visitor’s lot south of the Capitol and enter the building through the south entrance.

The ceremony also will be livestreamed on the Facebook pages of the governor and first lady.

Additionally, as part of the event there will be a winter clothing drive for Heartview Recovery Center in Bismarck. Items that guests are encouraged to bring can include but are not limited to the following:

  • Coats/jackets
  • Gloves/mittens
  • Hats
  • Scarves
  • Boots
  • Snow pants
  • Sweaters

Items for all ages and sexes are welcome.

Lt. Gov. Miller pardons turkey in ceremony at State Capitol

In a ceremony leading up to Thanksgiving, Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller and state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring participated in the pardoning of North Dakota turkey Henrietta on Tuesday at the Capitol.

"Henrietta, it’s time to go free now and count your blessings, for you won’t be served with all the dressings," Miller said.

As part of the ceremony, the North Dakota Turkey Federation, represented by President David Rude of Tolna, donated 16 turkeys to the Adult Abused Resource Center and Heaven's Helpers Soup Cafe in time for Thanksgiving. The Turkey Federation also donated one turkey each to Miller and Goehring, who in turn donated the turkeys to the nonprofits.

In North Dakota, a long line of turkeys – dating back at least 40 years to Gov. Art Link – have been pardoned by governors while also promoting the state's turkey industry.

Currently, there are nine turkey producers in North Dakota producing a total of approximately 1 million turkeys annually.

ND DEQ seeking public input for ideas around sustainability

North Dakotans from all backgrounds are invited to share ideas to meet the state’s goals of creating vibrant economies and finding innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

Information collected will be used to develop the North Dakota Sustainability Plan. North Dakota received funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Pollution Reduction Grant (CPRG) program to support this effort.

The plan development process will be a major step toward North Dakota's goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Groundbreaking study reveals economic and social impact of $151.8M from nonprofit arts and culture sector in ND

North Dakota Council on the Arts announced that North Dakota's nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $151.8 million in economic activity in 2022, according to the newly released Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) study, an economic and social impact study conducted by Americans for the Arts.

That economic activity – $70.8 million in spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and $81 million in event-related spending by their audiences – supported 3,335 jobs and generated $26.1 million in local, state and federal government revenue. The findings show that spending by arts and culture audiences generates valuable commerce to local merchants.

“We are grateful to The Arts Partnership in Fargo, the Jamestown Arts Center, Bismarck’s Dakota West Arts Council, and the Minot Area Council on the Arts for their partnership in this statewide project,” NDCA Executive Director Kim Konikow said. “In addition, NDCA was able to gather data from the Grand Forks area, western North Dakota cities, as well as many rural communities. Together we learned that the arts have value – and a significant economic impact.”

Nationally, the AEP6 study reveals that America’s nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $151.7 billion industry – one that supports 2.6 million jobs and generates $29.1 billion in government revenue.

Key figures from North Dakota's AEP6 study:

  • Attendees spend $32.50 per person per event, beyond the cost of admission.
  • 27% of attendees are non-local visitors who traveled from outside the state of North Dakota; they spend an average of $38.03.
  • 90.9% of arts and culture attendees agree that the activity or venue where they were surveyed “is inspiring a sense of pride in this neighborhood or community.”
  • 87.8% agree that “I would feel a great sense of loss if this activity or venue were no longer available.”
  • 83.9% agree that the venue or facility where they were surveyed is “an important pillar for me within my community.”

Learn more about North Dakota’s AEP6 Study results on NDCA’s website.

Capitol designated state’s second Cardiac Ready Campus

The North Dakota Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced that the State Capitol Complex has been designated by the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services as the state’s second Cardiac Ready Campus.

“We are incredibly proud that the North Dakota State Capitol was designated the second-ever Cardiac Ready Campus in North Dakota,” Capitol Cardiac Ready Campus Lead, and Facility Management Administrative Assistant Julie Strom said. “This is a testament to the state’s commitment to the health of its team members, by ensuring access to blood pressure monitors, automated external defibrillators, and ongoing education about the risk of heart disease.”

Several state agencies collaborated over the course of a year to meet the extensive criteria of the program. The team ensured that blood pressure monitoring stations and automated external defibrillators are now available for team members in all the Capitol complex buildings: Capitol Tower, Department of Transportation, Governor’s Residence, Heritage Center and State Museum, and the Liberty Memorial Building.

Strom added that she plans to hold a kick-off educational event during American Heart Month in February 2024 at the Capitol.

The University of North Dakota in Grand Forks was North Dakota's first Cardiac Ready Campus.

Burgum shares gratitude on Thanksgiving Day

Gov. Burgum shared the following message with North Dakotans on Thanksgiving Day:

"Thanksgiving, with its traditions, holds a unique power to shape our lives, families and communities, turning a simple Thursday in November into a meaningful holiday through gratitude. Whether you are gathering with loved ones, volunteering for those less fortunate or welcoming new friends into your home, First Lady Kathryn, Lt. Gov. Miller and I extend our warmest wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving and a joyous holiday season to you and yours!"