The North Dakota Example
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North Dakota does not top the list of exotic, sunny locales that you’d want to visit in January. But Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue braved the -17 degree temperatures (-34 with the wind chill) to see firsthand why North Dakota is one of the most economically successful, innovative, and well-run states in the nation.
“I want to take North Dakota’s model of success back to Washington—and even to some other states that are struggling,” Donohue told a rapt capacity audience during a luncheon at Bismarck State College. “In fact, we placed an ad in the Bismarck Tribune and Fargo Forum this morning that pretty much sums it up: Washington could learn a lot from North Dakota.”
While in town, Donohue met with industry association executives in the morning, participated in a brief press conference, visited with the governor and state legislators, and wrapped up the day chatting with a group of energy executives.
He came away impressed. “North Dakota is setting the tone for solving America’s problems,” he told the Bismarck Tribune.
Local news source KXAN noted that while it’s “been years since Donohue visited North Dakota. However, what he's seen and heard convinces him bipartisan, public-private sector, responsible energy policy is possible.”
Indeed. The transformation of North Dakota in the last few years has been remarkable. The state has gone from laggard to leader. According to the Chamber’s Enterprising States study, North Dakota is number one in job growth, economic growth, and per capita income growth.
The New York Times Magazine even called North Dakota “The Luckiest Place on Earth” in its' cover story this week. As Clay S. Jenkinson, a humanities professor quoted in The NYT Magazine piece said:
“This is our time. It’s our gold rush, our Silicon Valley. It reverses decades of anxiety about out-migration and rural decline and death. Suddenly the state that never had anything is in the middle of an oil boom that is larger than anybody could have predicted. We aren’t going to do anything to jeopardize it. People aren’t interested in stepping back.”
But it's more than just luck that's catapulted North Dakota. A large part of North Dakota’s success has to do with its booming oil production. According to study for the Chamber conducted by IHS-CERA, North Dakota energy supports 70,000 jobs and generates $4 billion in state and local revenue. Those numbers should climb to 114,000 jobs and $6 billion in revenue by 2020.
It all just goes to show that when you seize obvious economic opportunities and plan for the future, you can get anything done. Now all eyes turn to North Dakota to set an example on how to get things done.
“America needs to follow North Dakota’s example,” Donohue said. “Because of the example you’ve set, North Dakotans must play a critical role in convincing our federal lawmakers to seize the opportunities we have in developing America’s energy resources. We hope you’ll continue to make your voices heard in Washington and around the country.”