The VPP’s recent high impact advocacy efforts have focused on top priorities for the Red River Valley, which often have implications for all North Dakotans and the western regions of Minnesota.
The Red River Water Supply Project to provide a supplemental water option to Central North Dakota and the Red River Valley that mitigates against drought conditions that would cause costly water shortages and fosters economic development by meeting water demands. The 2021-23 budget bill for the State Water Commission includes $50M for the RRVWSP.
The FM Diversion to provide flood protection for the Fargo-Moorhead metro. In 2021, the Legislature provided $435.5M in funding for the project in the historic bonding bill, HB 1380.
Funding for career education tech centers across North Dakota to train young people for North Dakota’s growing industry sectors, including the NDSCS Career Innovation Center in Fargo and the career and technical education center in Grand Forks. In 2021, the Legislature appropriated $70 million in funding for career & workforce academies in the state.
Funding for research at UND, NDSU, and North Dakota’s 9 other public universities to collaborate with technology and business innovators, to compete for federal and corporate research dollars, and proactively build expertise and capacity in high potential research clusters. The Legacy Fund Earnings Streams Bill did establish that three buckets including research, LIFT and “workforce enrichment initiatives” share up to $30M in funding—a step in the right direction.
Finance and investment programs, including LIFT and the newly capitalized North Dakota Growth Fund, that are focused on the development and growth of emerging technology sectors. The VPP was an early supporter and advocate of Insurance Commissioner Godfread’s efforts to deploy funds from the North Dakota State Investment Board to make these investments in technology companies with exciting ideas and high potential. VPP supported HB 1425 which ultimately allows for up to 20% of Legacy Fund principal to be deployed in ND—up to 10% into fixed income investments within the state and up to 10% of the available principal into equity investments within the state.