Portrait of Doug Burgum

Remarks Announcing Candidacy for President in Fargo, North Dakota

June 07, 2023

Well, it feels like ESPN Game Day in here! Well, thank you.

Our hearts are full of gratitude for everyone who's made this moment possible, including all those that have gone before us and all of you that are joining us here today.

Thank you, Catherine. I'm so grateful for you. Grateful to be on this journey with you. I've witnessed firsthand how your brave and powerful decision to share your personal story of recovery has touched countless lives. And through your groundbreaking work on recovery you invented, you have literally saved lives. Catherine, I love you. Our state loves you and I know America is going to love North Dakota's amazing first lady.

Together, Catherine and I have so much gratitude for all the Burham and Helga's family members. We get our siblings, our cousins, second cousins, third cousins, nieces, nephews, even Aunt Joan Tua is here all the way from California. So we know we're going to get one vote in California. But all those close friends, all of you that are here today, looking back on the risers and I think that one third of my Arthur class of '16 is standing back there...high school. So thank you Glen Dave Gavin, everybody that's back there. But thanks to thanks to all of you that have encouraged us. You've supported us and you've believed in us throughout our lives. This is definitely a family decision and we're grateful.

Also today, we've got a whole boatload of elected officials here, fellow statewide state legislators, mayors, tribal chairs and tribal leaders from our five sovereign nations with whom we share geography, all of you that are elected today, you're in the arena and we're grateful for each of you for your service. Thank you.

But especially we want to thank today the people of North Dakota who we are so honored to serve. You took a chance on us in 2016 and that was another race where everybody said we're starting out as a long shot in a dark horse. So we think this is a good place to be. But I want to thank you all because reelecting us in that landslide in 2020 our 40 plus point victory margin was the largest in the country of any of the 11 governor races that year. You were the ones that all made that happen. Thank you. Thank you so much.

And again, thank you all for being here today that are watching here in the room and those in the overflow areas. But I want to thank you for being here. There are so many we know friends around the country that are watching online. Today is just the start of showing how much we can achieve when we all work together.

I grew up in Arthur, a tiny town of 300 people, part of the other 300 people that grew up, but our parents were a gift. They taught us not just by their words but by their actions. Dad, World War II Navy veteran, taught us the importance of service to country and the community. Mom. She taught us the importance of caring deeply, listening, thoughtfully, respecting everyone. And from the earliest days, dad and mom, not sure why, but they supported my entrepreneurship, my risk taking, whether it was crazy ideas like launching a newspaper when I was eight years old in elementary school or wilderness canoe trips or hitchhiking to Alaska as a teenager. But it was a cold Saturday night in January and we were ready to head out to play neighboring town, Kindred, when they pulled me off the bus to tell me that our dad was dying. I was a freshman in high school. That was tough.

But North Dakota is the kind of place where your neighbors rally around you. It was also interestingly the birthplace of the good Samaritan Society of America. At that time, we like to kind of brag that Arthur had a population of 400 not 300. We got to that big number because we probably counted the over 100 residents in the good Samaritan home. Good Sam. In those days, they took everyone in regardless of age or abilities. And so in a way our whole town was about taking care of each other, about helping those in need. About neighbor, helping neighbor. Every small town in America is like that, but Arthur, especially. If somebody was in need, a neighbor was always there to help out. We see that across the entire state of North Dakota today. If a farmer has a serious health issue, all the neighbors rally to get the crops planted or harvested. In every spring in North Dakota like this spring in ranch country, neighbors help neighbors with spring roundups and branding.

I'll never forget the way our town lifted up our family and supported us all, when mom had to go back to work after dad died. Other dads like Joe Peltier and my uncle Al Bergum, Lester Zimmerman all made sure I was doing ok. Mom was driving to and from Fargo for work and every night after basketball or football practice when mom was still working late in Fargo, I'd go to Helen Williams house for a fabulous dinner, homemade rolls and a wonderful chocolate milkshake. I'll always remember her generosity and kindness and her daughter Julie Barner is here today, Julie.

It shouldn't be a surprise that small town values have guided me my entire life. Small town values are at the core of America, and frankly big cities could use more ideas and more values from small towns right now. Along with cousins and friends, I worked every summer at our family's grain elevator, including some jobs like shoveling out rotten grain out of the pit. Those jobs should be featured on Discovery Channel's dirty jobs, actually. One time we were all so dirty, and we smelled so bad from that rotten grain, we went across the main street to go to the Arthur cafe and Walt Ann came out and said, "No, no, we we'll serve you out here on the curb. You guys can't come in."

I worked on the farm for Jack hog swathing grain. Every harvest all through high school and all through college and helped pay for college. I even worked as a chimney sweep. The minimum wage in North Dakota was $2.30, and I figured out that I could earn $40 an hour sweeping a chimney. I loved working outside. I loved climbing and I got to wear a top hat and tails when it was 20 below. And of course, this is a time when there was an energy crisis going on. OPEC had quadrupled oil prices and a lot of people were burning wood in their homes. So the threat of chimney fires was real. A clean chimney prevents those fires. So it was a chance to help people. And for me, the career had a real appeal because when you're a chimney sweep, you have an opportunity to move up fast and always stay in the black. Thanks for laughing, not groaning because I, for my kids, I had to have at least one dad joke in this presentation.

But I believe then, and I still believe now, and I believe it deeply, that unlimited opportunity exists everywhere in America. I literally bet the farm to help turn a small start up into a billion dollar company in North Dakota. People thought I was crazy. A software company in North Dakota? We ignored those and said North Dakota was too small, too cold and too distant to build a world class software company. We did it anyway. We built Great Plains Software into a company that served 140,000 businesses in 132 countries. And we did it with team members from more than 220 small towns across North Dakota. At the time we went public, we were one of the top five most successful NASDAQ IPOS ever. Only in America. Four and a half years later, by the time we joined force with Microsoft, we had just over 2,000 team members, 1200 of them based right here in Fargo, 400 team members across the rest of North America, and 400 Great Plains team members based around the globe. It's a tribute to the commitment of our partners and our team members and our investment and their absolute courage to take a stand against the conventional wisdom that said it just couldn't be done. Some people called us an amazing overnight success story. The truth is we were an overnight success story 18 years in the making.

When you start a software company here, you need to be willing to go against the grain and reimagine what's possible. And that's exactly what we did when we ran for governor in 2016. We shook things up a bit. We cut $1.7 billion in spending our first year in office. We cut red tape and streamline services. Working with other statewide elected and the legislature, we balanced the budget every year. We bolstered cyber security. We brought life back to our main streets. We made record investments in education, strengthened tribal relations, built infrastructure, unleashed energy production and diversified the economy.

North Dakota is both growing and getting younger. One of the only states that is doing that. And we have the third lowest unemployment in the country and the highest workforce participation in the nation. And again, working with the legislature this past year, we achieved historic pension reform, helped pterm limits, and enacted the biggest tax cut in state history. We know we can do the same for America.

Right now, the world, our economy, are both changing rapidly and how we respond will define our future. Technology is changing every job, every company in every industry, and this change will become more rapid than ever before. We need new leadership for the changing economy. We need a leader who understands the real work that Americans do every day. Someone who has worked alongside our farmers, our ranchers, and our small business owners. Someone who's held jobs where you shower at the end of the day, not at the beginning. Someone who's got decades of success selling our technology overseas and knows the threats and the risks to our future from foreign state sponsored competitors, stealing and pirating our intellectual property.

We need a leader who has experienced first hand that we win as a country when our innovators and entrepreneurs can soar and when every single person can grow and thrive. To unlock the best of America, we need a leader who's clearly focused on three things: economy, energy, and national security. And that, and that is why and that is why today I am officially announcing, I'm running for the President of the United States of America.

Thank you. That was so sweet, Mary. Thank you, uh godmother to our kids...I should point that out.

The economy needs to be the absolute top priority. Every small business owner and every family in our country is feeling the corrosive hidden tax on their lives driven by the Biden induced inflation. Inflation is the worst. It hurts those the most who can afford it the least. But innovation, that's always been the driver of America. Innovation over regulation, innovation over regulation. We say it every day in North Dakota. Innovation over regulation is how you solve the challenges we face today. Regulation looks backwards. Innovation looks towards the future.

The Biden administration is obsessed with creating mountains of federal red tape. These regulations raise costs for every American consumer. They hamper our ability to compete in the world marketplace. They siphon time and investment away from innovative solutions. And the way we retain our nation's position, which is so important to everything we do. Our position is the world's largest, most dynamic and most powerful economy, is through innovation. For well over a century, American innovation from telecommunications, to electric light, to flight itself. And the power of American agriculture, think of it feeding the entire world. America has led the way.

Yet when I was in high school, we were told two things were absolutely certain about our future. The world is going to run out of food and the world is going to run out of energy. However, today we live in a world of abundance because of American innovation. Innovation has paved the way for a better life for all Americans. And the potential, and the possibility that coming breakthroughs in software and biotech, energy and health care, can continue this trend. But due to over regulation that brighter future for Americans is now at risk. Let's get back to common sense. Let's eliminate red tape, get inflation under control, cut taxes, reduce the cost of living and help every American realize their fullest potential.

It takes energy to get things done in America. Clean, reliable, low cost energy brings manufacturing back to the US and reduces our supply chain risk. U.S. energy policy cannot not be separated from either our economy or from our national security. Energy policy directly underpins both and we need to stop buying energy from our enemies and start selling energy to our friends and allies. America produces energy cleaner and safer than anywhere else in the world. If you care about the global environment, you should be fighting to have every drop of energy produced in the United States. And when we're truly energy independent and we're supporting our allies, that's when we stabilize the globe and restore America as a leader of the free world.

Putin only dared to invade Ukraine because our allies in western Europe were all dependent on Russian energy. We need to recognize the real threats to America and strengthen our national security.

Growing up in a small town, you learn quickly. The enemy isn't each other. Our enemies aren't our neighbors down the street. Our enemies are countries that want to see our way of life destroyed. In a country built on neighbors helping neighbors, we become a country of neighbors fighting neighbors. We should all be fighting to unite the country against our common enemies like China, Russia, Iran, North Korea and the drug cartels. And we all know Joe Biden isn't getting the job done and too often is making things worse. Gas prices are too high and the Biden administration enacts policies that make us more dependent on foreign oil. That makes no sense.

American families are struggling under the weight of record inflation and the response from Democrats: increase the size of the IRS to target Americans. That makes no sense. An out of control border that is ignored by the White House while killer drugs like fentanyl, infiltrate our communities. And 110,000 individual tragedies occur through overdoses. Think of that...110,000 families in 2022 lost a son, a daughter, a mother, a father, a sister or a brother...and were doing nothing about the border. That makes no sense.

We're facing a very real threat from China and Joe Biden's Green New Deal policies. They're only going to shift our dependence from OPEC to Sinopec. That makes no sense. We could go on for hours, but we don't need to. Where we come from when something isn't working, you stop and you try something new. That's common sense. Joe Biden has got to go.

If you want to ensure that Joe Biden is a one term president, I hope you're going to join our campaign by visiting dougburgum.com. And if you believe that the economy, energy, and national security are critical to our nation's future, remember, that's why I'm running for president. And if you want more small town common sense in Washington, in our big cities, we'll make that happen. And if you think that we need a governor and business leader who understands this changing economy, I want to earn your vote. Because this campaign, this election, is all about what it takes to bring out the best of America and improve every American life.

After my dad died, I saw first hand what it means to be the best of America when the people of Arthur North Dakota lifted up our family. When we built Great Plains software with team members from small towns across the nation, just like Arthur, it showed the best of America. The best of America exists. It exists in the smallest towns and in the biggest cities. The best of America is there on our farms, on our factory floors, and in tiny start ups with big dreams. Every day, students see the best of America when they're inspired by their teachers. We see it in our brave military, our dedicated police and our selfless first responders. It's there through the sleepless nights of new mothers and fathers loving their newborns and also in the loving caregivers who are taking care of those that are in the twilight of their life.

When we take the time to look, we can see that we are surrounded by the best of America. Working together, we will unlock the best of America in all of us. Please join us on this mission. With your support, we will improve every American life.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless America.

Doug Burgum, Remarks Announcing Candidacy for President in Fargo, North Dakota Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/367573

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