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Burgum names new North Dakota labor commissioner

A Watford City native, Nathan Svihovec will start his new job on Thursday, replacing interim commissioner Kathy Kulesa. Kulesa will remain as the department's human rights director.

Nathan Svihovec Photo.jpg
Nathan Svihovec.
Submitted photo
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BISMARCK — Gov. Doug Burgum has appointed Bismarck attorney Nathan Svihovec as head of the North Dakota Department of Labor and Human Rights.

The governor cited Svihovec's experience representing public and private employers and employees at state and federal levels.

Svihovec's "compassion and dedication to removing employment barriers, encouraging cooperative relationships between employers and employees, and ensuring fair treatment for all will serve the citizens of North Dakota well,” Burgum said in a statement issued Tuesday, Nov. 29.

A Watford City native, Svihovec will start his new job on Thursday, replacing interim commissioner Kathy Kulesa. Kulesa will remain as the department's human rights director.

Svihovec was most recently an attorney with a Bismarck law firm, representing and advising employers and employees. From 2017 to 2020, he was an assistant attorney general for the North Dakota Attorney General's Office, representing and advising state agencies in employment law matters.

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He has bachelor’s degrees in human resource management and business administration from Dickinson State University and a law degree from the University of North Dakota.

He was in the North Dakota National Guard from 2008 to 2016, attaining the rank of sergeant.

“I look forward to building on the department’s efforts to leverage technology and improve processes to best serve North Dakotans with courtesy, respect, patience and empathy," Svihovec said in a statement.

The labor department is responsible for enforcing state labor and human rights laws. It has a two-year budget of $2.9 million and up to 13 employees.

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