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2018 PUBLIC POLICY GUIDE A guide to the area’s political and legislative landscape and overview of The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber’s public policy views and efforts.

A MESSAGE from the President On behalf of our more than 2,100 members and over 109,000 employees, The Chamber is proud to serve as the voice of business in the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo metropolitan region. As the largest local chamber in both Minnesota and North Dakota, we take our role in representing our members in the public policy arena seriously. The Chamber gets involved in the issues that are important to our members. Whether lobbying for specific legislation or vetting candidates for public office, we serve the business community well and have earned the respect of elected officials and public employees as a fair, consistent voice for balanced policy that both supports the business community and enhances quality of life. In greater Minnesota, we are committed to protecting the funding mechanisms that allow border cities to remain competitive. We seek to support policies that lessen the regulatory burden on businesses that conduct business in both states. In North Dakota, we are proud of the thriving communities we represent with Fargo and West Fargo. Our region continues to be a strong and reliable economic engine for the state of North Dakota. We stand firm in our support of the FM Diversion project and are proud of the milestones that have been reached thus far. We know that permanent flood protection has not been reached, and we will work tirelessly to reach that goal. One of our top priorities is to respond to the workforce shortage in our region. We understand that this issue is multi-faceted and affects many. We are fortunate to live in a community that offers a strong and robust economy, excellent schools and a high quality of life. But to make a dent in this, we need to take a collaborative effort. We believe that all of our cities and businesses working together will help make everyone stronger. Thank you for your Chamber membership, and I invite you to please join us in our advocacy efforts.

Craig Whitney

President/CEO, The Chamber


We Think Big. And Know Water.

Think Big. Go Beyond.

We are dedicated to making a positive impact on our community, protecting our children, and ensuring the vitality of where we live and work. Through providing specialized water consulting engineering services we continue to strive to make our region better. Area Successes: • Fargo Water Treatment Plant Expansion • Red River Valley Water Supply • Fargo-Moorhead Area Diversion • Water Supply Improvements for West Fargo & Moorhead


© 2017 Xcel Energy Inc.

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Energy and Natural Resources Regulatory

The Chamber supports predictability in energy markets by opposing burdensome, unnecessary regulations and mandates that increase costs for businesses and consumers. The Chamber supports responsible regulations driven by and in response to local conditions and needs.

Energy Infrastructure

The Chamber supports the development of essential energy infrastructure including transmission lines, power generation facilities and pipelines to produce and transport local energy to market. The Chamber encourages increasing refining capabilities to drive additional investment in local energy resources, strengthen the economy and increase the availability of a reliable supply of natural resources.

Energy Development Impact

The Chamber encourages the allocation of appropriate resources to communities affected by energy development to ensure access to adequate water, power, housing, infrastructure and workforce needs.

Comprehensive Energy Policy

The Chamber supports the thoughtful development of regional energy resources. Local access to a vast array of resources provides the link to comprehensive energy solutions and supports energy independence.

Environmental Stewardship

The Chamber values our natural environment and encourages responsible stewardship of state water, State Trust Lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources.


Education, Training and Workforce Development Alignment of Education and Employment

The Chamber supports the strategic development of a skilled workforce that aligns with regional employment opportunities and encourages increased communication between employers, students and educators. The Chamber supports programs that provide internships, mentorships and on-the-job training opportunities.

Early Education Expansion

The Chamber supports public policies that increase the availability of affordable, quality, early childhood learning opportunities and career advancement opportunities of early childhood professionals to meet the burgeoning demand and critical importance of early childhood education.

21st Century Workforce Skills

The Chamber encourages a curriculum that emphasizes science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) as well as the acquisition of resources necessary to support the STEAM disciplines. Additionally, The Chamber encourages the modernization of education to incorporate effective new technologies and cutting-edge teaching methods.


The Chamber supports an educational and employment environment that embraces a diverse workforce and capitalizes on unique talents.

Education Finances

The Chamber supports the allocation of financial resources to support student success. Funding should leverage programs that increase retention and on-time graduation, attract and retain the most effective teachers and accurately reflect population growth. Regarding higher education, The Chamber supports increased programs that increase students understanding of postsecondary education including costs, employment prospects, and earning potential in their chosen fields.

Strategic Workforce Development The Chamber recognizes the continued need to train, recruit and retain a talented workforce and encourages an integrated approach to meet the workforce needs of employers and employees. The Chamber supports the expansion of the H-1B and J1 visa programs to reform the highly-skilled immigration program, the development and expansion of public and private outreach efforts to promote local opportunities and the strengthening of career counseling programs to reflect all options and opportunities available to graduates after high school.

Retention Initiatives The Chamber is aware that along with attracting a dynamic workforce, there is equal value in developing quality of life programs and initiatives that retain said workforce.


Health Care Health Information Exchanges

The Chamber supports the confidential exchange of health information to facilitate access to and retrieval of clinical data regardless of the setting of treatment. This exchange of information will reduce the duplication of services, reduce costs and increase the quality and efficiency of care.

Public Funding

The Chamber supports policies that address regional funding disparities for health care providers to ensure continued access to health care services, including mental health.

Long-Term Care

The Chamber supports policies that incentivize individuals for and saving for their long-term care needs while targeting limited public dollars towards those who can least afford their own care. Given the projected wave of seniors utilizing long-term care, The Chamber encourages greater participation in information sharing by employers and employees and supports innovation in the delivery of long-term care that promotes consumer choice and reduces costs.

Health Promotion

The Chamber supports investments in evidence based worksite wellness programs that encourages a personal responsibility role in reducing the costs of health care.

Innovative Health Care Strategies The Chamber recognizes the need for affordable health care and supports public policies that address the growing cost of care including: the promotion of wellness programs, the implementation of telehealth, tele-pharmacy and other innovations, the examination of medical liability laws and supporting payment methodologies that reward providers for quality, coordinated care and the management of chronic diseases.

Healthy People/Healthy Communities Improve the health of North Dakotans and Minnesotans by supporting prevention and proven interventions to address behavioral, social, environmental determinants of health, including housing and nutrition and access to high-quality, costeffective health care. 6

Regulatory, Economic Development and Tax Policy Tax Relief

The Chamber supports the continued reduction of property taxes, business taxes, individual income tax and sales tax while recognizing the need to maintain local control. The Chamber strongly supports the examination of reducing the state income tax to zero as a means to attract workforce and reward personal and corporate success.

Border City Competitiveness

The Chamber will continue to support programs that allow Minnesota border cities to be competitive, including Local Government Aid and the Disparity Reduction Credit. The Chamber will support efforts to eliminate Business to Business taxes as well as protect and create new border-city exemptions.


The Chamber supports ventures that foster the formation and advancement of business incubators to encourage start-ups, accelerate time to market and increase the rate of long-term success. The Chamber encourages the advancement of programs that provide access to capital or spur capital investment in the private sector to promote and support entrepreneurship.

Tax Incentives

The Chamber supports the viability of tax incentives that support workforce participation.

Global Trade

The Chamber supports efforts to expand fair global trade opportunities for North Dakota and Minnesota businesses by removing trade sanctions and barriers and enforcing existing trade agreements. The Chamber recognizes that foreign trade distortions require a balanced trade policy.

Tort Reform and Legal Climate

The Chamber supports identifying opportunities to improve the legal climate to be fair and predictable for all parties and to discourage the practice of costly, frivolous lawsuits. 7

Flood Protection Permanent Flood Protection

Impact Mitigation

The Chamber supports the FM Area

The Chamber recognizes that achieving

Diversion project as the best solution to

the necessary flood risk reduction

reduce the flood risk in the metropolitan

will not come without a cost and

area and provide protection of lives,

encourages sponsors and stakeholders

property and economic opportunity.

to make every effort to minimize the

Multiple Funding Sources

impact to affected landowners.

The Chamber supports the allocation of

Quality of Life

financial resources for the construction

The Chamber supports the integration

and maintenance of the diversion

of recreational opportunities into the

project from all available local, state and

development of the diversion project

federal partners.

to contribute to a healthy, vibrant economy.


Planning, Transportation and Infrastructure Comprehensive Transportation Planning

Expanded Bandwidth Capacity

The Chamber supports a quality, multi-

approach to the advancement of

modal transportation system that allows

investments to developing an advanced

people and goods to move efficiently,

digital infrastructure system through

conveniently and safely into and around

investments in the fiber networks resulting

the metropolitan area. The Chamber

in the highest speed and bandwidth

supports efforts to develop, integrate

capacity available.

and maintain rail, air, bus and pedestrian

The Chamber supports a progressive

services to new

Transportation Infrastructure Investments

growth areas.

The Chamber supports investments in the

services, including the expansion of

Strategic Development

National Highway System, Minnesota’s Interregional Corridors, and the solvency

The Chamber supports a strategic

of the Highway Trust Fund through the

and synergetic approach toward

examination of the motor fuel tax to

community development. This includes

ensure adequate resources are available

implementation of proven economic tools

for transportation infrastructure needs.

to promote investments in downtown Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo.

Water Infrastructure

Additionally, The Chamber supports the

The Chamber understands the increase

study of construction and/or expansion

in residential, commercial, industrial and

of a multi-functional convention

agricultural water use places a growing

center to accommodate enhanced

demand on existing water supplies that

professional, educational and recreational

will be inadequate during periods of


drought. The need to supplement the

Rail Safety and Efficiency

water supply to the Red River Valley has been clearly demonstrated; therefore,

Support minimizing risk of accidents

The Chamber supports the prioritization

and initiatives that enhance traffic flow.

and advancement of the Red River Valley

Support ongoing efforts for public

Water Supply Project to ensure the

outreach and first responder training to

availability of a long-term, high-quality

ensure officials are properly informed and

water supply.

trained to respond to potential situations.

Air Service The Chamber supports the vitality of air service to ensure sustainable access for commerce. 9

Residential/Commercial Development Housing Attainability The Chamber supports public and private efforts to provide adequate and attainable housing in the region for all local residents in the form of affordable, safe, and quality housing for purchase or rent. The Chamber supports subdivision and zoning regulations that encourage efficient, orderly development, while allowing flexible and innovative development strategies.

Development and Infill The Chamber supports initiatives that promote a balance of diverse housing stock by providing new housing in outlying areas, while revitalizing the cores of our cities through thoughtful infill development.

Economics of Construction The Chamber supports an atmosphere friendly to construction of residential and commercial structures to serve local residents. The Chamber supports incentives that sustain a robust business sector, encourages homeownership, and the creation of neighborhoods to maintain strong, vibrant communities. It recognizes that investment in residential/ commercial development has a ripple effect felt throughout a multitude of industries through job creation and consumer spending.

Consistent, Reasonable Codes The Chamber supports efforts for consistency among local jurisdictions in regard to residential and commercial building codes. 10


Strengthening the region

Together, we can flourish today while we position ourselves for tomorrow. 100%



Emerging Opportunities for Commerce Unmanned Autonomous Vehicles The Chamber will be a strong voice supporting the safe integration of autonomous systems while addressing any security or privacy issues that might arise.

Cybersecurity The Chamber supports technology advances that support the security and privacy of business and personal information.


Mark Dayton

MINNESOTA Constitutional Officers Governor Mark Dayton Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith Attorney General Lori Swanson Secretary of State Steve Simon

Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea Barry Anderson Christopher Dietzen David Stras Wilhelmina Wright David Lillehaug Natalie Hudson


In Minnesota, constitutional officers include the governor/ lieutenant governor, attorney general, state auditor and secretary of state. Offices including the commissioner of education, commissioner of agriculture and commissioner of revenue are appointed positions.

Doug Burgum

NORTH DAKOTA Constitutional Officers Governor Doug Burgum Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem State Auditor Josh Gallion Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread Secretary of State Alvin A. Jaeger Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt Superintendent of Public Schools Kirsten Baesler

Public Service Commission Julie Fedorchak, Chair Randy Christmann Brian Kalk

North Dakota Supreme Court

Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle Jerod Tufte Carol Ronning Kapsner Daniel J. Crothers Lisa Fair McEvers 13

MINNESOTA Congressional Delegation

Senator Amy Klobuchar 302 Hart Senator Office Building Washington, DC 20510 | 202.224.3244 121 Fourth Street South | Moorhead, MN 56560 218.287.2930 |

Amy Klobuchar

Senator Tina Smith 309 Hart Senate Building Washington, DC 20510 | 202.224.5641 819 Center Avenue, Suite 2A | Moorhead, MN 56560 218.284.8721 | Representative Collin Peterson 2204 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 | 202.225.2165 714 Lake Avenue, Suite 107 | Detroit Lakes, MN 56501 218.847.5056 | Minnesota State Legislature State Capitol Building 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard Saint Paul, MN 55155 651.296.8338 | District 4

Tina Smith

Sen. Kent Eken 651.296.3205

District 4A

Rep. Ben Lien 651.296.5515

District 4B

Rep. Paul Marquart 651.296.6829


Collin Peterson

NORTH DAKOTA Congressional Delegation

Senator John Hoeven 338 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 | 202.224.2551 1802 32nd Avenue, Suite B | Fargo, ND 58103 701.239.5289 | Senator Heidi Heitkamp SH-110 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 | 202.224.2043 657 Second Avenue North | Fargo, ND 58102 701.232.8030 |

John Hoeven

Kevin Cramer 1032 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 | 202.225.2611 3217 Fiechtner Drive, Suite D |Fargo, ND 58103 701.356.2216 | North Dakota State Legislature State Capitol Building | 600 East Boulevard Avenue Bismarck, ND 58505 Legislative Council | 701.328.2916 | District 11

District 21

District 44

Rep. Ron Guggisberg

Rep. Kathy Hogan

Rep. Josh Boschee

Rep. Kris Wallman

Rep. Mary Schneider

Rep. Merrill Piepkorn

District 13

District 27

District 45

Rep. Kim Koppelman

Rep. Thomas Beadle

Rep. Mary Johnson

Rep. Chris Olson

Rep. Randy Boehning

Rep. Tom Kading

District 16

District 41

District 46

Rep. Andrew Marschall

Rep. Pamela Anderson

Rep. Shannon Roers Jones

Rep. Ben Koppelman

Rep. Al Carlson

Rep. Jim Kasper

Sen. Tim Mathern

Sen. Judy Lee

Sen. David Clemens

Sen. Carolyn Nelson

Sen. Jon Casper

Sen. Kyle Davison

Sen. Karla Rose Hanson

Heidi Heitkamp

Sen. Ronald Sorvaag

Sen. Jim Roers

Kevin Cramer


MINNESOTA Local Leaders Moorhead City Council 218.299.5305 | Mayor Del Rae Williams

Del Rae Williams

First Ward Mari Dailey | Sara Watson Curry | email not available at time of print Second Ward Heidi Durand | Vacant at time of print Third Ward Brenda Elmer | Joel Paulson | email not available at time of print Fourth Ward Steve Gehrtz | Chuck Hendrickson |

Dilworth City Council 218.287.2313 | Mayor Chad Olson

Chad Olson

Elected City Officials of Dilworth Jim Aasness | Julie Nash | Jason Kakac | Kevin Spaulding |

Clay County Commission 218.299.5002 |

District 1

Jim Haney |

District 2

Frank Gross |

District 3

Jenny Mongeau |

District 4

Kevin Campbell |

District 5

Grant Weyland | 16

NORTH DAKOTA Local Leaders Fargo City Commission 701.241.1310 | Mayor Tim Mahoney Fargo City Commissioners Tony Gehrig | Dave Piepkorn |

Tim Mahoney

Tony Grindberg | John Strand |

West Fargo City Commission 701.433.5300 | Mayor Rich Mattern West Fargo City Commisioners Mark Wentz | Duane Hanson | Mark Simmons | Mike Thorstad |

Rich Mattern

Cass County Commission 701.241.5720 | District 1 Chad Peterson | District 2 Rick Steen | District 3 Vern Bennett | District 4 Arland Rasmussen | District 5 Mary Scherling | 17

Legislator Contacts Contacting a Legislator in Minnesota Minnesota legislators are assigned offices and a legislative assistant to help coordinate their work and constituent requests. Staff members can be very helpful in ensuring legislators receive your communications. In addition, calling, writing letters to their physical address and emailing are all acceptable means of communication. While visiting the Minnesota Capitol, meetings with your legislator can be arranged through their legislative assistant. They can also advise you on how to call a legislator out of a committee meeting or off the House or Senate Floor. How to Locate Your Minnesota Legislator Visit or to find out who your Minnesota legislator is.

Contacting a Legislator in North Dakota House and Senate leaders are the only members assigned an office and receive assistance from a legislative staff member. During a session, all legislators can be reached by leaving a message with the legislative telephone message center or by physical addresses listed on their biographies. North Dakota Legislative Telephone Message Center 1.888.NDLEGIS (635.3447) or 701.328.3373 North Dakota Legislator Email Addresses Legislators also have access to email and their addresses may be found at



Eggs & Issues events expose the community to expert speakers on timely topics about the issues affecting Fargo Moorhead West Fargo.




Select Legislative Terminology Biennium

A group of members from the House and Senate appointed to resolve differences in a proposal passed by both chambers in different forms.


Fiscal Note

A proposal calling for a new law, a change in current law, the repeal of current law, or a constitutional amendment is drafted into a bill for consideration by the legislative bodies.


House and Senate members of the same political party or faction meet a “caucus” to elect leadership and discuss priorities.

Companion Bills

In Minnesota, identical bills can be introduced in the House and the Senate. The bills can be passed out of both chambers into committees for further action. If both bills return to the House and Senate floor, a conference committee would be appointed to work out the differences. Companion bills are not used in North Dakota as typically a bill is introduced in the House or the Senate, is referred to a committee. Once it returns to the House or Senate floor it is voted on and if passed, sent to the second house. If the bill is amended by the second house, a conference committee ultimately is appointed to work out the differences.


When changes or amendments are made to a proposal, the original body can concur or not concur. Concurrence is an action in which one body approves or adopts a proposal or action taken by the other house. 20

Conference Committee

The two-year period by which North Dakota and Minnesota budgets are set. Unless called into special session, lawmakers in North Dakota meet once during the biennium, while Minnesota lawmakers have a flexible schedule, which means by law, they are not required to meet annually but are authorized to do so.

Consent Calendar

Typically non-controversial bills that are awaiting their second reading.

Fiscal notes are intended to be an objective assessment on the price tag on proposed legislation on the change in expenditures and revenues that will result from a bill.


The months between adjournment of one regular session and the next is referred to as the “interim.” When the legislature is not in session, committees continue to work on assigned studies and often produce legislation to introduce in the following session.


The official records of the House and Senate. Records are recorded and posted on their respective legislative websites.


Lobbyists are individuals who are hired, or act on their own behalf to influence action in a particular manner. Information on how to register as a lobbyist, rules and reporting requirements can be accessed from each state’s Secretary of State office.


Legislatures can refer law making proposals to the voters by passing a referendum. The referendum would be placed on the ballot for a vote.

This guide was developed by the Public Affairs committee and adopted by the Board of Directors of the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce. Photography provided by 5foot20 design lounge, Explore Minnesota Tourism, and North Dakota Tourism/Clayton Wolt. 202 First Avenue North | Moorhead, Minnesota 56560 218.233.1100 |


Public Policy Guide  
Public Policy Guide