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Public Policy Guide 2016

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.

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Message from the President

On behalf of our more than 2,100 members and their 98,000 employees, The Chamber serves 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 are proud to represent our members in the public policy arena. In greater Minnesota, we are committed to protecting the funding mechanisms that allow border cities to remain competitive. We stand firm to mitigate policies that unfairly impact border cities and will advocate for expanded exemptions. The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo community is a strong and reliable economic engine for the state of North Dakota. We are proud to be the voice of our dynamic business community in Bismarck. We continue to advocate for sensible tax relief, a smart approach to the 21st century job market and permanent flood protection for our region. One of The Chamber’s top priorities is to advocate for responsible and successful strategies to respond to our workforce shortage in our region. We are fortunate to live in a thriving metropolitan area that offers a strong economy, evolving job market and exemplary educational institutions. It’s imperative to the continued success of our community that we shine a light on the impressive opportunities that are available for people who are looking for a great place to work, live and do business. I invite you to please join us in our advocacy efforts and thank you for your Chamber membership.

Craig Whitney, President/CEO, The Chamber


Message from the Chairman

The foundation for a successful business climate is built on sound public policies and an engaged private sector. As chair of The Chamber’s Public Affairs committee, I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in the political education process with members of our committee and The Chamber’s Board of Directors. We’ve studied important issues and provided guidance for the membership on more ballot measures than ever before. I am proud of what’s been accomplished and continue to be amazed at how savvy the business leaders in our Chamber really are. It is by no accident that the economy in the Red River Valley continues to prosper.

I’d like to acknowledge the leaders of our subcommittees and our special task forces who stand ready to lend their expertise for the benefit of us all. As a business owner myself, I’ve learned the value of having a strong team and with depth of The Chamber membership, rest assured your interests are in good hands.

Tom Dawson

Dawson Insurance – Business Leaders for Flood Protection Task Force

Brein Olmstead

Rasmussen College – Workforce Development

Marshal Albright

Cass County Electric Cooperative – Environment & Natural Resources

Rocky Schneider

Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc. – Regulatory, Tax and Economic Development

Connie Nelson

Fargo Public School District Number One – Metro Cooperation

Pam Gulleson

Blue Cross Blue Shield of ND – Health Care

Kris Bakkegard

KLJ – Planning, Transportation & Infrastructure I look forward to working with all of you in the year ahead.

Jim Roers, Public Affairs Committee Chair, The Chamber 3

Energy and Natural Resources Regulatory

The Chamber supports certainty in energy markets and opposes 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. Additionally, 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 efficient development of regional energy resources. Local access to a vast array of resources provides the link to comprehensive energy solutions and supports energy independence.

Education Stewardship

The Chamber values our spectacular natural environment and encourages responsible stewardship of state water, state trust lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources.

Environmental Stewardship

The Chamber values our spectacular natural environment and encourages responsible stewardship of state water, state trust lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources.

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Education,Training and Workforce Development 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.

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 and educators. The Chamber supports programs that provide internships, mentorships and on-thejob training opportunities.

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 STEM disciplines. Additionally, The Chamber encourages the modernization of education to incorporate new technologies and cutting-edge teaching methods.

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 will increase students understanding of postsecondary education including costs, employment prospects and earning potential in their chosen fields.


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


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.

Long-Term Care

The Chamber supports policies that incentivize individuals for and saving for their long-term care needs while targeting limited public dollars toward those who can least afford their own care. Given the projected wave of seniors utilizing longterm 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 and also supports public policies that discourages the use of tobacco products, decreases the health risks associated with use and reduces the disparity between North Dakota and Minnesota tobacco tax laws.

Cost Containment 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.


Economic Development and Tax Policy North Dakota 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-tobusiness taxes as well as protect and create new bordercity 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.

Earned Income Credit

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 the foreign trade distortions that 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.


Flood Protection Permanent Flood Protection

The Chamber supports the FM Area Diversion project as the best solution to reduce the flood risk in the metropolitan area and provide protection of lives, property and economic opportunity.

Multiple Funding Sources

The Chamber supports the allocation of financial resources for the construction and maintenance of the diversion project from all available local, state and federal partners.

Impact Mitigation

The Chamber recognizes that achieving the necessary flood risk reduction will not come without a cost and encourages sponsors and stakeholders to make every effort to minimize the impact to affected landowners.

Quality of Life

The Chamber supports the integration of recreational opportunities into the development of the diversion project to contribute to a healthy, vibrant economy.


Planning, Transportation and Infrastructure Comprehensive Transportation Planning

The Chamber supports a quality, multi-modal transportation system that allows people and goods to move quickly, conveniently and safely into and around the metropolitan area. The Chamber supports efforts to develop, integrate and maintain rail, air, bus and pedestrian services, including the expansion of services to new growth areas.

Strategic Development

The Chamber supports a strategic and synergetic approach toward community development. This includes implementation of proven economic tools to promote investments in downtown Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo. Additionally, The Chamber supports the study of construction and/or expansion of a multi-functional convention center to accommodate enhanced professional, educational and recreational opportunities.

Rail Safety and Efficiency

The Chamber supports minimizing risk of accidents by any means possible including replacing older tank cars, appropriate speed regulations, increased standards for track and equipment inspections. The Chamber also supports public outreach and first responder training to ensure officials are properly informed and trained to respond to potential situations.

Expanded Bandwidth Capacity

The Chamber supports a progressive private/public approach to developing an advanced digital infrastructure system through investments in the fiber networks, resulting in the highest speed and bandwidth capacity available.

Transportation Infrastructure Investments

The Chamber supports investments in the National Highway System, Minnesota’s Interregional Corridors and the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund through the examination of the motor fuel tax to ensure adequate resources are available for transportation infrastructure needs.

Water Infrastructure

The Chamber understands the increase in residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural water use places a growing demand on existing water supplies that will be inadequate during periods of drought. The need to supplement the water supply to the Red River Valley has been clearly demonstrated; therefore, The Chamber supports the prioritization and advancement of the Red River Valley Water Supply Project to ensure the availability of a long-term, high-quality water supply.

Air Service

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


Constitutional Officers Governor Mark Dayton

Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith Attorney General Lori Swanson Mark Dayton

Secretary of State Steve Simon Minnesota Supreme Court

Lorie Skjerven Gildea, Chief Justice 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.


NORTH DAKOTA Constitutional Officers Governor Jack Dalrymple

Lieutenant Governor Drew Wrigley Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem State Auditor Robert R. Peterson

Jack Dalrymple

Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm 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

Gerald W. VandeWalle, Chief Justice Dale V. Sandstrom Carol Ronning Kapsner Daniel J. Crothers Lisa Fair McEvers



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 Al Franken

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

Sen. Kent Eken Phone: 651.296.3205 Email:

Al Franken

District 4A

Rep. Ben Lien Phone: 651.296.5515 Email:

District 4B

Rep. Paul Marquart Phone: 651.296.6829 Email:

Collin Peterson


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 1

Sen. Tim Mathern Email:

District 21

Sen. Carolyn Nelson Email:

Rep. Ron Guggisberg Rep. Kathy Hogan Email: Email:

District 44

Sen. Tim Flakoll Email: Rep. Josh Boschee Email:

Rep. Kris Wallman Email:

Rep. Blair Thoreson Rep. Mary Schneider Email: Email:

District 13

District 27

District 45

Rep. Kim Koppelman Email:

Rep. Thomas Beadle Email:

Rep. Mary Johnson Email:

Rep. Chris Olson Email:

Rep. Randy Boehning Email:

Rep. Tom Kading Email:

District 16

District 41

District 46

Rep. Ben W. Hanson Email:

Rep. Pamela Anderson Rep. Kathy Hawken Email: Email:

Sen. Judy Lee Email:

Sen. Tyler Axness Email:

Sen. Jon Casper Email:

Sen. Kyle Davison Email:

Rep. Ben Koppelman Rep. Al Carlson Email: Email:

Heidi Heitkamp

Sen. Ronald Sorvaag Email:

Sen. George Sinner Email:

Rep. Jim Kasper Email:

Kevin Cramer


MINNESOTA Local Leaders Moorhead City Council

218.299.5305 |

Mayor Del Rae Williams First Ward Del Rae Williams

Mari Dailey | Nancy Otto |

Second Ward

Heidi Durand | Jim Haney |

Third Ward

Brenda Elmer | Mike Hulett |

Fourth Ward

Chuck Hendrickson | Steve Gehrtz |

Dilworth City Council

218.287.2313 |

Mayor Chad Olson Elected City Officials of Dilworth

Jim Aasness | Julie Nash | Jason Kakac | Kevin Spaulding |

Chad Olson

Clay County Commission

218.299.5002 | District 1

Wayne Ingersoll |

District 2

Frank Gross |

District 3

Jenny Mongeau |

District 4

Kevin Campbell |

District 5

Grant Weyland |


NORTH DAKOTA Local Leaders Fargo City Commission

701.241.1310 |

Mayor Tim Mahoney Fargo City Commissioners

Tony Gehrig | Dave Piepkorn | Melissa Sobolik | Mike Williams |

Tim Mahoney

West Fargo City Commission

701.433.5300 |

Mayor Rich Mattern West Fargo City Commisioners

Mark Wentz | Duane Hanson | Mark Simmons | Mike Thorstad |

Cass County Commission

701.241.5720 | District 1

Chad Peterson |

District 2

Rick Steen |

District 3

Rich Mattern

Ken Pawluk |

District 4

Arland Rasmussen |

District 5

Mary Scherling |


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



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Selective Legislative Terminology Biennium

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.


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.


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.

Conference Committee

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

Consent Calendar

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


Selective Legislative Terminology 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.

Fiscal Note

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 web sites.


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. 19

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, FATcat Studios, Legacy Photography and North Dakota Tourism/Clayton Wolt. 202 First Avenue North | Moorhead, Minnesota 56560 218.233.1100 |

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2016 Public Policy Guide  
2016 Public Policy Guide