Watford City. Population-roughly 1700 back in 2010. Once described as a small, sleepy town. Now bustling with a population that has quadrupled in size and is projected to keep growing.
“I can tell you from moving here 12 years ago, even as a native of Watford City, it wasn’t that easy. There was not the activities, there was not the-it didn’t feel like the young family type of a place at that time even,” says North Dakota’s Lieutenant Governor-Elect, Brent Sanford.
But as mayor of Watford City, Brent Sanford has worked to make the town a place where young families want to move and settle down. As North Dakota’s lieutenant governor elect, that goal of creating livable communities will remain a priority for him at the state level.
“We need to revitalize our small towns and communities so that they’re places young families want to settle in and the retired people have the facilities and security that they can stay in the communities as well,” says Sanford.
And on his road to doing that, North Dakota’s lieutenant governor elect knows where his challenges will lie.
“Right out of the chute, it’s balancing that budget. When you’re talking a billion plus, it’s where is that going to come from? There’s going to be some projects that are really necessary that people are feeling very strongly about. That we’re not going to be able to do everything,” says Sanford.
But Sanford has already faced challenges that a booming population created for this once sleepy town. And he feels prepared, along with North Dakota’s governor-elect, to reinvigorate the state.
“We’re looking at being able to receive the budget from Governor Dalrymple and put some of our nuances onto it and bring that forward and work with the legislature to balance the budget but not increase taxes. That’s something that Doug feels very strongly about. The governor elect is very passionate about that. As is the legislature so we look to move forward working with them and as the executive branch, you’re going to be working closer with the actual agencies themselves and looking at fine-tuning, finding efficiencies, and doing business in the most efficient way within the agencies themselves,” says Sanford.
Doing efficient business-something two businessmen should know a thing or two about.
Watford City will hold a special election for a new mayor on February 21. The governor’s inauguration will be held on December 15th.