Moderate Republican Doug Burgum spoke Thursday at the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox. Burgum, Governor of North Dakota, drew a large crowd on a hot, sun-filled afternoon.
Burgum, a real estate developer and venture capitalist, was introduced by his wife, Kathryn. She spoke about overcoming addiction and the importance of removing the stigma affiliated with addiction.
“The fastest, quickest, easiest way to eliminate stigma is just to talk about it,” Kathryn said.
Doug wants to improve every American life and “unleash” the best of America, Kathryn said.
Burgum said the President’s job is essentially to be CEO of America, and the “first screening interview” is the Iowa Caucus.
“You get to tell the rest of the nation who you think should have that job,” he said. “And so you take your job very seriously.”
Burgum credited Iowans for being informed and knowledgeable about the issues facing the country. He grew up in a town of 300 people, working on the farm. Every job Burgum had through his mid-20s was a job where he took a shower at the end of the day rather than at the beginning.
Burgum talked about his success in business and pivoted to three issues driving his presidential run.
“We’re running because those three policy areas matter to every one of you,” he said. “Economy, number one. Energy, number two. And national security. The Biden Administration is 180 degrees wrong on all of these.”
Burgum noted America’s recent downgrade on its bond ratings. This will impact everyone, everyone’s kids and everyone’s grandkids, he said.
“Lower bond ratings are going to mean higher interest rates,” he said.
The economy, he said, is crawling along due to Biden’s administration.
“In North Dakota we say one thing over and over — it’s innovation, not regulation, but innovation built this country,” he said.
America needs to get its economy going because we are in a cold war with China, according to Burgum.
“We’re in an actual proxy war with Russia,” he said. “And the way that we win those Cold Wars and those wars is that we get our economy going. So we got to cut red tape.”
Burgum said there is too much federal overreach with red tape and that increases the cost of everything while restricting what can be done. Going all electronic will enslave America to China. But China, he said, has an energy problem of its own. China imports 10 million barrels of oil a day. China also imports calories, he said, and doesn’t have enough food to feed its people.
“What do we have? What do we have in Iowa,” he asked. “We feed the world, we fuel the world. This is the powerhouse economy. We do not have to be in second place to China on anything.”
Burgum talked extensively about the border. He criticized Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal, which resulted in the deaths of American men and women.
Burgum said there are less than 20,000 people in the border patrol in the country.
“And we know that in North Dakota because we have 360 miles of border with Canada,” he said.
A lot of the crossings are not open because the federal government is pulling people from the northern border and sending them to the southern border. Everyone is taking early retirement and the equipment is lacking.
“They don’t have the manpower, they don’t have the technology,” Burgum said. “They don’t have anything to do their job. They’re literally not being supported.”
Burgum vowed to visit the border within the first two weeks of his presidency.
He also hit the lax border policies for the overdose deaths plaguing the country.
“It’s 300 people a day who are dying in this country,” he said. “We’re talking mass casualties because of an open border.”
Burgum said while there are huge issues, there are also huge opportunities.
“If we get it right on the economy, if we get it right on energy, if we get it right on national security, we have an opportunity to improve every American life,” Burgum said.
Anyone who wants to “throw bombs” at the other party should run for Congress, Burgum said.
“I will never be a Congressman, I will never be a senator,” he said. “They do amazing work. I love them. But I’m an operating guy. I’ve grown up building stuff and running stuff and when you’re in the executive branch, you have a job to serve everybody.
“When there’s a blizzard in North Dakota, we don’t ask if you’re Republican, Independent or Democrat before we decide to plow your road. We plow the road for everybody and we do our job first. And that’s what we need in the executive branch in this country right now.”