Governor pitches Roosevelt Library plan to Senate budget writers

Mar 14, 2019

Gov. Doug Burgum testifies before Senate Appropriations Committee (3/13/19)
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Gov. Doug Burgum is again making his pitch for a Theodore Roosevelt Library and Museum to be built in Medora.

This time, he appeared before the North Dakota Senate Appropriations Committee.

"It's honoring a man who, by immersing himself in the rugged, beautiful and untamed Badlands, formed himself into the bold and fearless leader whose actions later transformed our nation and the world," Burgum told the Committee. "And while we may know the story, it's important for the rest of the world to understand the role North Dakota played in shaping the history of that leader, and therefore, the history of our country."

Burgum wants to use $50 million of the earnings of the state’s Legacy Fund, which he says would be matched 2 to 1 by private donations. He told the Committee the National Park Service supports the idea, and plans are in the works for the Library and Museum to be built along with a new visitor center at the entrance to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Burgum told the Committee these kinds of ideas should be a focus of the Legacy Fund.

"If we can take $1 of earnings, and before we start a project generate $2 of wealth coming into the state to help us create economic diversity, I woud just say, 'Let's line up and do those projects every time,'" Burgum said.

The House did not fund the project. The Senate is being asked to restore the $50 million in the Commerce budget. The committee hasn’t taken action.