Results 2020: The Business Recap
Election 2020 is “in the books” or is it? It could be numerous days or even weeks until the Presidential election is finalized but at least the North Dakota votes have been counted. The Greater North Dakota Chamber closely monitors the state election because these officials have the power to enact policies across the state that directly affect the business climate for growth and prosperity. Here is GNDC’s perspective on the state results and impacts of the 2020 election.
GNDC deploys two methods to further ensure candidates continue to be elected that will advance business-friendly policies: Chamber Champions recognition and the ND Chamber PAC. GNDC scores each legislator and provides a grade. These are determined by individual voting records on bills that impact businesses. Chamber Champions are legislators with a score of 85% or better. During this election cycle, all of our Chamber Champions who were up for election resecured their seat. This is a significant win for North Dakota business. The ND Chamber PAC, GNDC’s non-partisan political action committee, is the other tactic to further the free enterprise system in North Dakota. This PAC financially supports Chamber Champions to help secure their re-election as the business community needs support to enable, not inhibit their ability to prosper.
The North Dakota House of Representatives and Senate will see some changes in the 2021 Legislative Session. Besides dealing with new protocols due to the pandemic, the Republicans gained an even larger supermajority. The GOP gained an additional seat in the House of Representatives and three seats in the Senate. This brought the mix to 40-7 in the Senate and 80-14 in the House. Committee assignments and leadership positions in both houses and caucuses will occur during Organization Session December 1st – 3rd. There are 14 freshman legislators joining the legislature, only one is a Democrat.
On another note, both Constitutional Ballot Measures that were pushed forward by the legislature failed by large margins. This shows that the people of North Dakota do not want changes to their Higher Education Board and didn’t agree with the proposed tweaks for the initiated constitutional ballot measure process. This issue of how easy it is to change the North Dakota Constitution, especially by out-of-state groups is discussed in many circles and we wonder what proposal will come forward that is agreeable to the people, if any at all.
Another unique situation in the legislature is in District 8. Unfortunately, House of Representatives candidate, David Andahl, passed due to COVID-19 shortly before the election. He won the election and now it is up to interpretation who gets to fill the vacancy. On November 4th the Governor issued a press release appointing Wade Boeshans to the seat. This conflicts with a previous Attorney’s General opinion and came as a surprise to the State GOP. GNDC will be following this and time will tell how this situation gets resolved.
These developments and changes do not change the goals, vision, or purpose of GNDC. We are the only statewide business association solely dedicated to promoting and defending the free enterprise system on behalf of businesses of every size and in every sector. We are a non-partisan organization that works to prompt conditions that encourage businesses, which in turn support our economy, communities, and citizens of North Dakota. Whether there is a growing supermajority or an even partisan split, it is critical to our work to build relationships with every legislator to amplify the voice of business which will ensure North Dakota’s business climate is the best in the nation.