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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 honored 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 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 seek to support policies that lessen the regulatory burden on businesses who do business in both states. As a border city community, it is important that we evaluate and simplify code regulations where possible, including housing and business operations. In North Dakota, we are proud of the thriving communities we represent with Fargo and West Fargo. Our metropolitan region continues to be a strong and reliable economic engine for the state of North Dakota. We stand firm in our support of the Fargo Moorhead Diversion project and are proud of the milestones that have been reached thus far, but we know that permanent flood protection has not been reached and we will work tirelessly to reach that goal. The Chamber has outlined one of its top priorities to advocate for responsible and effective strategies to respond to the workforce shortage in our region. We understand that this issue is multi-faceted and affects many different areas. We are fortunate to live in such a thriving metropolitan community that offers a strong and robust economy, excellent school systems, and a high quality of life. We are committed to shining a light on the great things happening in our community and sharing the impressive opportunities available to those who are looking to live, work and do business in the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo metropolitan region. 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

E N G I N E E R I N G YO U R V I S I O N .

Visit today to see how you can be a part of our talented team! M/F/Vet/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity


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. 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.

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.


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-the-job 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 cuttingedge 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 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, 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 toward 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 Healthcare 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.


Regulatory, 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 businessto-business taxes as well as protect and create new border-city exemptions. As a border city community, it is important that we pursue definitions for housing code regulation pertaining to fire sprinkler requirements in twinhomes that allows for consistent application of regulatory standards.


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 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

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. 8

Planning, Transportation and Infrastructure Comprehensive Transportation Planning

The Chamber supports a quality, multi-modal transportation system that allows people and goods to move efficiently, 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 approach to the advancement of investments 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.



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 Doug Burgum

Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem

Doug Burgum

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

Gerald W. VandeWalle, Chief Justice Jerod Tufte 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 |

Senator Al Franken Amy Klobuchar

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

Al Franken

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

Sen. Kyle Davison

Sen. Jim Roers

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. Karla Rose Hanson

Heidi Heitkamp

Sen. Ronald Sorvaag

District 46

Kevin Cramer



Local Leaders Moorhead City Council

218.299.5305 |

Mayor Del Rae Williams First Ward

Mari Dailey | Sara Watson Curry | email not available at time of print

Del Rae Williams

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 Elected City Officials of Dilworth

Chad Olson

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 |


NORTH DAKOTA Local Leaders Fargo City Commission

701.241.1310 |

Mayor Tim Mahoney Fargo City Commissioners

Tony Gehrig | Dave Piepkorn | Tony Grindberg | John Strand |

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

Vern Bennett |

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



Strengthening the region

Together, we can flourish today while we position ourselves for tomorrow. 701.282.4692 ¡


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


Select 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.

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 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 |

2017 Public Policy Guide  

A guide to the area's political and legislative landscape and overview of The Chamber's public policy views.

2017 Public Policy Guide  

A guide to the area's political and legislative landscape and overview of The Chamber's public policy views.