This session kicked off with the governor’s state of the state address. In his speech, Governor Doug Burgum made it very clear he wanted to see funding passed for a presidential library and museum at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Our Malique Rankin spoke with him and lawmakers on the status of that funding.
Earlier this week, the House passed the Department of Commerce budget without any funding for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library. The session is approaching it’s halfway mark, and lawmakers say there is still time to add amendments.
Mike Nathe: “So I think a lot of our house members needed more information as far as what that proposal entailed. I think holding off gives everyone some time to take their time, learn the issue. So when we get serious about coming up with a funding formula, everybody will be better informed.”
When I asked Representative Mike Nathe how lawmakers plan to approach the funding, he said they aren’t ready to publicly say.
Mike Nathe: “Some of those options are being discussed right now, and I think we’d like to keep those between ourselves right now until we’re able to come up with something more concrete”
If the presidential library were to get lawmakers approval, that would take 50 million from the legacy fund and would require another 100 million from private donors.
Gov. Doug Burgum: “If you’re a small local donor or a big corporation, you want to give money to something that’s actually going to happen. This is an interesting fundraising challenge, it’s basically a start-up.”
Burgum says this library is one of his priority proposals, and although it didn’t receive funding yet, he doesn’t think it’s lost any momentum.
Gov Burgum: “The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library is very much alive both here in the legislature as we head into the second part of session, but it’s also growing in support across the state”
The governor says if lawmakers decide not to fund the presidential library at all, it’s out of his hands. For the Library to receive funding, lawmakers will have to introduce an amendment to a budget bill.