John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.
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BISMARCK—North Dakota state tourism officials revealed plans for marketing the state this year on television, in print and through other avenues Wednesday, Jan. 17. The tourism division of the state Department of Commerce will spend $2.9 million advertising North Dakota this year, which is about the same as last year, its Director Sara Otte Coleman said. She previously said the division faced an 18 percent budget cut this two-year cycle compared with the original 2015-2017 biennial budget of $13.3 million.
BISMARCK—John Andrist, a giant in North Dakota's newspaper industry and a former state lawmaker, died early Wednesday, Jan. 17, in a Fargo hospital after suffering a "pretty significant stroke" last week, his son said. He was 86. First elected in 1992 as a state senator from Crosby in the state's northwestern corner, Andrist retired from the Legislature in 2014, two years after a stroke. He told Forum News Service at the time that he thought of himself as a "facilitator" who "didn't create any landmark legislation" but "helped shape an awful lot of it."
BISMARCK—The state of North Dakota asked a federal judge this week to lift a 2016 order preventing it from implementing its voter identification law without a "fail-safe" option previously available to voters. The Republican-controlled Legislature in 2013 eliminated the affidavit option that allowed voters who didn't provide an ID to swear their eligibility. That change, along with others made in 2015, were challenged in court by seven members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa who argued the laws were unconstitutional and discriminatory.
BISMARCK—Another person with ties to Gov. Doug Burgum's private sector background is joining North Dakota state government. Jenny Olson started at Great Plains Software as an intern before working her way up to business manager at Microsoft. She started last week as managing director of the new Office of Recovery Reinvented, an effort that's under the governor's office and is focused on battling addiction. Great Plains Software was the Fargo firm that Burgum grew as chairman and CEO before its sale to Microsoft in 2001. Burgum was an executive at Microsoft until 2007.
BISMARCK—U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer named a new campaign manager Monday, Jan. 15, as he begins his re-election bid for the U.S. House. Cramer, a Republican first elected in 2012, announced Jared Hendrix of Minot will lead his quest for a fourth term this year. Hendrix managed Republican state Rep. Rick Becker's failed run for governor in 2016.
BISMARCK — The head of the North Dakota education and public employee union apologized Monday, Jan. 15, after calling President Donald Trump a "liar" and "racist" on Twitter over the weekend. Nick Archuleta, president of North Dakota United, posted the message on the social media site Saturday morning before deleting it. "You are a liar, a racist, and an embarrassment to our Nation, sir," the tweet to Trump said.
BISMARCK—The state of North Dakota will appeal a federal judge's recent ruling preventing it from implementing a new law that supporters dubbed a "farm equipment dealer bill of rights." A notice of appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit was filed by the state's attorneys Friday, Jan. 12. The state seeks to challenge U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland's Dec. 14 order issuing a preliminary injunction, which he said will preserve the status quo while the case is pending.
BISMARCK, N.D.—North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, on Friday, Jan. 12, asked the state Supreme Court to reject arguments from lawmakers who challenged Gov. Doug Burgum's vetoes, arguing that two bills passed last year give too much power to a subset of the Legislature.
BISMARCK—Gov. Doug Burgum convened the first meeting of the Task Force for Higher Education Governance Friday, Jan. 12, urging a forward-looking approach in a university culture that's often steeped in tradition. The task force, created through an executive order in November, will examine the state's higher education governance structure. Burgum has traced the current structure to a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 1938 that created the State Board of Higher Education.
BISMARCK—North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak didn't rule out a run against Sen. Heidi Heitkamp Friday, Jan. 12, but said it's "very unlikely" she'd try to unseat the Democratic incumbent this year. Meanwhile, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said he's not running for the U.S. Senate and will likely run for re-election instead.