BISMARCK — Gov. Doug Burgum has been named chairman of the Western Governors' Association and will bring the organization's annual meeting next year to the North Dakota Badlands.

The first-term Republican elected in 2016 was previously the organization's vice chairman. Fellow governors on Wednesday, June 12, chose him to succeed Hawaii Gov. David Ige in leading the bipartisan group of 20 state executives for the next year.

“Being elected to lead the Western Governors’ Association is a tremendous honor, and I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to build upon the bipartisan, commonsense policy development that has become synonymous with WGA,” Burgum said in a statement.

His term's policy theme will be "Reimagining the Rural West," with an Oct. 1 workshop in Fargo and 2020 annual meeting in June in Medora.

Former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer, who chaired the Western Governors' Association from 1996 to 1997, held the organization's 1997 annual meeting in Medora, with a train ride out from Bismarck. Seven governors attended.