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Last Day in Office


Ed Schafer, the 30th governor of North Dakota, left office on this date ten years ago. After serving as governor for eight years, Governor Schafer felt satisfied that he had met three goals he had set for himself when he began his first term on December 15th, 1992.

First off, Governor Schafer had diversified North Dakota’s economy and created more jobs. Using the same entrepreneurial spirit that had made him a successful businessman prior to serving as governor, Schafer attracted new business to the state and encouraged the development of pasta and corn sweetener industries. Always an advocate of the state’s farmers, Schafer saw these industries as developing directly from North Dakota’s agricultural economy. In addition, expanding telecommunications to rural areas promoted the growth of IT and communication businesses. The governor’s second accomplishment was the creation of a more efficient state government. While charged with overseeing twelve thousand state employees, Schafer managed to reduce waste and institute measures to increase efficiency, severely reducing the state’s operating costs. The third goal that Schafer managed to accomplish during his two terms was the creation of a new image for the state. By effectively branding North Dakota as an excellent tourist destination, potential business market, and a great place to live and raise a family, Schafer was able to employ his persuasive marketing skills to increase interest in North Dakota through a revitalization campaign.

Beyond these three accomplishments, Governor Schafer’s time in office is remembered for several additional reasons. For one, he was the first governor to be married while in office, wedding First Lady Nancy Jones Schafer. And many North Dakotans are not soon to forget the Governor’s leadership during the flood crisis of 1997, when the city of Grand Forks was ravaged by floodwaters and fires, while the areas around Devils Lake fought off the rising lake.

After serving as governor, he went on to become CEO of the Extend America wireless communication company. He was also an advisor for the North Dakota chapter of Americans for Prosperity, and in 2008, he was confirmed as the 29th Secretary of Agriculture under then-President George W. Bush.

Dakota Datebook written by Jayme L. Job