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Commerce has been stellar through COVID-19

Megan Laudenschlager, Minot

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, North Dakota’s public officials and nonprofit leaders have shown decisive leadership at every turn. Thanks to our state’s strong and forward-thinking leaders like Commerce Commissioner Michelle Kommer, our communities are supported and reassured in their ability to manage a smart restart.

It’s important that we understand the challenge associated with this kind of response. Just six months ago, an unnecessary cloud hung over the Commerce Department. The cloud was an audit that suggested a criminal investigation should be pursued into a department that is doing great things for North Dakotans every day. Although the resolution was a top-to-bottom dismissal, it created interruptions in Commerce’s momentum.

Despite the distraction, under Kommer’s leadership, the Commerce Department has remained united around the singular goal of caring for North Dakota’s businesses and employees. It is laser-focused on deploying resources for employees facing furlough, aiding Main Streets silenced by the effects of social distancing, and corralling information for businesses stretching to retain their workers and customers. And after the pandemic, Commerce will undoubtedly intensify efforts to increase community development across the state and aid our economic recovery process. That is what we try to accomplish in our daily lives, which is why I’m so grateful for Commerce’s leadership.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given all of us the opportunity to show up and show off our best North Dakota qualities – our work ethic, our resilience, and our collective understanding. Real leaders echo the people they serve, and Commissioner Kommer exemplifies the best of all of us.

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