BISMARCK — Governor Burgum signed an executive order early Tuesday morning, classifying himself as an essential state employee.
The executive order, signed hours before a historic blizzard was set to impact Bismarck, paves the way for Burgum to drive a NDDOT snowplow, fulfilling a lifelong dream for the Governor.
“Today, I will finally come to understand what it feels like to be an ‘essential’ state employee,” said Burgum. “By removing combersome, antiquated barriers, I can fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a snowplow driver and truly understand the meaning of a hard day’s work. I look forward to clearing the snow from my mansion while sending my gratitude to my friends, family and coworkers on my upgraded, essential state employee Microsoft Teams account.”
Prior to the executive order, Burgum was considered a “non-essential” state employee, allowing him to work remotely in Fargo and his Detroit Lakes, Minn. cabin.
Burgum says it has always been a dream of his to drive a snowplow.
“The thought of manual labor, like shoveling snow, often frightened me as a child. That fear is what drove me to become a tech executive and why (Leutenant Governor) Brent Sanford shovels my sidewalks today. Whenever it would snow and my fear would reemerge, my mother would remind me to look to the helpers. And so, I looked to the City of Arthur’s lone snowplow driver. His innovative ‘work smarer, not harder’ approach to Arthur’s city works is what inspired my ambitions to reinvent our state government. And ever since I first saw Arthur’s plow operator take a sip of coffee from the comfort of his heated cab while moving mountains of snow, I’ve desired nothing more than to drive a snowplow.”
Burgum says he hopes his experience gives more meaning to his Main Street Initiative.
“Up until today, nobody has really known what the Main Street Initiative is — including myself. But thanks to my big orange plow and our fresh 24 inches of wet, heavy snow on the ground, my vision for our Main Streets couldn’t be clearer.”
Governor Burgum’s executive order is set to expire on Friday, just in time for the Easter holiday weekend – a holiday reserved for non-essential state employees.