Burgum’s vision should unite

If a resident of another state with no awareness of North Dakota politics tuned into Gov. Doug Burgum’s State of the State address on Tuesday, he might well have thought he was witnessing the introduction of a profound non-partisan uniter – not something one witnesses often in American politics.

Our fictional viewer, though, can be forgiven for any misconception, though, if indeed it was one.

Burgum’s vision for the state moving ahead should be the stuff that unites, that bridges the gap between parties, between rural and city and between the multitude of philosophies and principles that make up the diverse mindsets of our residents.

The governor discussed his five strategic initiatives. They are embracing technology, strengthening tribal relations, transforming education, promoting Main Street and solving mental health and addiction issues – all components of Burgum’s reinventing of government, the center piece of his insurgent election campaign.

It would be a challenge to find fault with the governor’s initiatives. They aren’t partisan, they are needed, they are rational, and in combination, success would benefit every resident of the state. They are also very modern ambitions that recognize the reality of today and of tomorrow. So far, reactions seem solid for the address, although the generic official response from the Democrat opposition was embarrassing for a party that needs to express its relevance but can’t ever seem to get out of its own way. GOP response has obviously been better, but let us not forget that the so-called GOP establishment did not rush to embrace Burgum.

Addressing mental health and addiction challenges, encouraging modern development strategies, improving use of technology, engaging better with tribes and studying our education system to see where reform can help shouldn’t be the most controversial agenda. It is more realistically a road map to bringing people together.

Of course, the devils are always in the details, and in the details will surely come conflict. But at least those will be disagreements that arise while pursuing common, noble goals.

Minot Daily News thanks Gov. Burgum for his insightful, daring and heartfelt address and wishes him well in pursuing his agenda, while hopefully bringing North Dakotans together.