Burgum talks strategic planning, reinventing government

May 8, 2017

Gov. Doug Burgum (R).
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Gov. Doug Burgum will soon start working on a strategic plan for the state of North Dakota.

Burgum said that plan will be formulated with his cabinet.

"We're going to be heading into an off-site planning session soon to work on a strategic plan for the state," Burgum told Prairie Public in an interview.

Burgum continues to push for reinvention and innovation in government. He thinks some of that can be accomplished without Legislative approval, but some ideas will have to be presented to the 2019 Legislature. He also said there would be some "cross-cutting" initiatives among a number of state agencies.

"Almost 50 different budgets get approved," Burgum said. "But if you take a category like, kids under age 6, that shows up in about 20 different budgets. We need to think about how we optimize for audiences, groups and solutions.

Burgum said one area where the Legislature made progress in government reinvention was in the area of corrections. $7 million was taken out of the corrections budget, and put into addiction treatment.

"If you have a 'war on drugs,' then the person using the drugs becomes an 'enemy combatant,'" Burgum said. "We're at war with people who have a health issue.  We have to start treating addiction like the chronic disease it is."

Burgum said throwing someone with an addiction into prison doesn't cure the addiction.

"If you turn that person into a felon, then when the person is released, the person has very few places to live, and may not be able to find a job," Burgum said.

Burgum said there is more to be done -- but the Legislature has built a foundation.