BISMARCK - The role of lieutenant governor was created by North Dakota’s constitutional framers and has evolved in important ways across our 125-year history.
Through that original mandate, a variety of statutes and the evolution of custom, we’ve established the position as it exists today - a team member with the governor to ensure continuity in the executive leadership of our government.
In 2012, voters chose a direction for our state that includes our emphasis on tax reduction, education, job creation and enhanced infrastructure. As lieutenant governor, it is my privilege to help lead that direction under Gov. Jack Dalrymple during our time together in office and to provide continuity across all administrative agencies and functions.
In the delegation of duties, the North Dakota Constitution provides that the lieutenant governor shall serve as president of the Senate. The relationships developed in that role help create a smooth working environment between the legislative and executive branches.
This better ensures direct communication between branches and has helped us promote the governor’s voter-approved agenda for tax relief, infrastructure, education and economic diversification.
The lieutenant governor serves as chair of the North Dakota Trade Office, which over the past decade has been a significant factor in the diversification and growth of our state economy. Commodity and manufacturing exports have risen nearly 600 percent, and we have opened new global markets that allow North Dakota producers to sell technology and other products around the world.
The governor appointed me chairman of the State Investment Board, which oversees the investment of all state pensions and various special fund dollars. He also appointed me chairman of the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Authority, which oversees the newly designated Federal Aviation Administration Unmanned Aircraft Systems test site in our state.
Both boards play a significant role in North Dakota’s future in terms of economic diversity, career opportunities and quality of life, making their connection to the governor’s office essential.
As lieutenant governor, I also have the privilege of guiding selected innovative initiatives such as the higher education “challenge grant.” This public-private partnership matches every $2 of private funding with $1 of state funding to colleges or universities for the building of new education infrastructure and other defined educational enhancements.
By chairing this grant review committee, I ensure our administration’s guidance over this important public-private funding pool.
On the other end of the education spectrum, I chair the Early Childhood Education Council, which focuses on the developmental needs and care of pre-school-aged children. Quality education is a central focus for North Dakota and a priority for Dalrymple and his administration.
In these dynamic times, it is especially important for the governor’s office to meet with as many people, businesses and policy groups as possible. It is important to get input from multiple viewpoints and to reach out across every corner of North Dakota.
As a team, the governor and lieutenant governor are able to do this more effectively, helping ensure strong executive leadership as all North Dakotans work together to write the next great chapter in North Dakota history. This perspective was recognized by Gov. William Guy when he successfully urged the voters to change our constitution to four-year terms for both the governor and lieutenant governor, who thereafter ran as a team on the same ticket.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve the people of North Dakota as lieutenant governor, just as it was my honor to serve as our state’s U.S. attorney from 2001 to 2009.
I was grateful when the governor asked me to serve with him in 2010 and deeply humbled to receive voters’ overwhelming support in the 2012 election.
I will continue to devote my energy to addressing these exciting challenges throughout the years the Dalrymple-Wrigley team serves in office.
Drew Wrigley, a Republican, is the lieutenant governor of North Dakota.