Last month, we hosted North Dakota’s now former Lieutenant Governor Drew Wrigley for a special presentation. Wrigley stopped by The Chamber’s Premier Partner holiday social for a private address just two days before his final day in the office. He shared an overview of the state’s accomplishments during his term and offered commentary on what he’s observed in western North Dakota where the Dakota Access Pipeline is. We had planned to address the topic at an Eggs & Issues event, which had to be rescheduled. Because Wrigley was able to find time in his schedule, we added him to the agenda for this event—one of the year’s special events reserved for our Community Builders, Business Builders and Board of Directors.
Most of the information he shared was largely positive for the state of North Dakota. A state that is the fastest-growing state in America. Average income has increased, making the state a hospitable one for new residents, not to mention seeing through the largest tax cuts in state history and investing in a diversified economy. One major investment was seen in the education sector, including a $30 million college grant program.
One challenge he did address was the need for additional health care providers across the state and the nation.
“Don’t let anyone tell you we’re facing economic dire straits,” he said at one part. “It’s simply not true.”
Switching focus to the DAPL, Wrigley said what is happening is an assault on free enterprise and commerce in this country. The pipeline is an important project not just for America, but for North Dakota as the #2 oil producing state in the nation. The 1,200-mile long pipeline is designed to move oil out of the Bakken—an estimated 5,000 barrels in the most efficient and safest way. The project removes 2,500 tanker trucks from the interstate and 800 rail cars carrying crude oil throughout our communities a day. Wrigley mentioned the accident in Casselton as a wake up call to the importance of this. The state has spent $17 million so far paying for law enforcement officers, the National Guard to be activated and checkpoint corridors.
Wrapping up, Wrigley said the pipeline will be completed and will serve the economy of the state, the safety of the state and will remind people that you can invest in this country without being stopped by politics.
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