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Gov. Dalrymple to run for full term

Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple said today that North Dakota now is "the envy of the nation" with the country's lowest unemployment rate, rising personal income and more than 17,000 available jobs.

Gov. Dalrymple in Grand Forks
North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple (left) with his wife Betsy (center) and Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley (right) announces his intention to seek a full term as North Dakota govenor at press conference Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011, in Grand Forks. (Photo: John Stennes, Herald staff photographer)

Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple said today that North Dakota now is "the envy of the nation" with the country's lowest unemployment rate, rising personal income and more than 17,000 available jobs.

But even with the new opportunities and economic successes since 2000, Dalrymple said the state will soon face "new challenges" that he is ready to tackle if elected to his first full term in office next November.

"With the right leadership, we will meet these challenges and we will do much more," he said. "There is no limit to what we can accomplish in North Dakota, and that's why I am here today to announce that I will run for governor."

After a decade as lieutenant governor, Dalrymple, 63, was sworn in as North Dakota's 32nd governor in December 2010 when former Gov. John Hoeven resigned to prepare for his newly elected spot on the U.S. Senate.

He said former U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley, whom he appointed to serve as lieutenant governor last December, will be his running mate in the 2012 elections.

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About 40 students, local legislators and business officials gathered at the UND Center for Innovation to hear Dalrymple's campaign announcement. Dalrymple also visited Fargo, Minot and Bismarck today and is scheduled to stop in Jamestown, Devils Lake, Williston and Dickinson on Wednesday.

If elected next November, Dalrymple would become the state's oldest elected governor at age 64.

Experience

Sen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, said he has been "impressed" by Dalrymple's "open and reflective" leadership style in the past 25 years while serving as a legislator, lieutenant governor and governor.

Dalrymple, the founding board chairman of Dakota Growers Pasta Co., has managed his family farm operation in Casselton, N.D., since 1971. He began his 25 year career in public service in 1985 as a legislator representing rural Cass County.

Dalrymple graduated with honors from Yale University in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in American Studies. He and his wife, Betsy, have four daughters.

Holmberg said the governor's newly launched campaign is "about tomorrow" and taking on the state's challenges, including the need for responsible government spending and addressing infrastructure needs in western North Dakota.

He also said Dalrymple is experienced in addressing flood protection and water control, two important issues for eastern North Dakota.

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"Those of us in Grand Forks know very well the problems of flood control," Holmberg said. "What you might not have remembered is that the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee who led the fight in the House for the Grand Forks plan was then-Rep. Jack Dalrymple."

Republican Governors Association Chairman Bob McDonnell issued a written statement praising Dalrymple's role in the state's prosperity.

"The RGA is confident that Gov. Dalrymple's sound fiscal leadership combined with North Dakota's booming economy and job growth will translate to victory in November 2012," he wrote.

But Greg Hodur, chairman of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party, criticized Dalrymple for spending the week "campaigning, fundraising and essentially politicking" instead of preparing for the special legislative session that begins Monday.

"Those who are living in temporary housing in Minot, those who are paying $2,000 for rent in Williston and those along the Missouri in Bismarck are more interested in learning about plans to help their communities recover than they are in a political announcement," Hodur wrote.

'Rise to the task'

Dalrymple told the Grand Forks audience he is "extremely proud" of what North Dakota has been able to accomplish while most of the country struggles to rebound from the recession.

He said the state has been able to create thousands of new jobs since 2000 while reducing property and income taxes, building up reserve funds and boosting support for education in the state.

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But Dalrymple said the government "needs to let the private sector be successful instead of getting in its way," a belief he said he brings to work every day at the state Capitol.

"We have practiced sound fiscal management over the last 10 years and it is a factor in our success today," he said. "My experience on the Appropriations Committee and in the governor's office will be invaluable in managing the state budget. As your governor, I will fight to limit our recurring state expenditures."

Dalrymple said the state's economic success and large cash reserves also allow North Dakota to catch up on "much needed infrastructure investments," including roads, bridges and water projects.

That is especially the case in western North Dakota, which he said has seen "phenomenal" energy industry growth along with growing infrastructure needs. He said the state has invested almost $1 billion in oil and gas producing counties, including $100 million in impact grants for residential development.

If elected, Dalrymple said he would work with legislators to pass a flood recovery package to help homeowners rebuild in Minot and Bismarck while also continuing work to secure permanent flood protection.

Another goal is to continue serving as a "defender" against federal encroachment on the state's rights, he said. That includes opposing the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed changes to air quality regulations and continuing criticism of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' management of the Missouri River.

"Furthermore, their management of the 2011 flood shows that states need more say in the operating plans for the Missouri River," he said. "As your governor, I will continue to fight against these ill-conceived plans until our rights as a state are acknowledged and respected."

Dalrymple said his "ultimate objective" is to help achieve a better quality of life for North Dakotans through efforts to create jobs, carefully manage the state budget, address the needs of veterans and provide a "helping hand," not a "handout," to the less fortunate.

"North Dakota is the envy of the nation and I believe we can stay that way," he said. "Yes, we have challenges before us, but they will not define us. Together, we can rise to the task."

Johnson reports on local politics. Reach him at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 105; or send email to rjohnson@gfherald.com .

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