- Associated Press - Saturday, January 19, 2019

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is working to develop relationships with the new governors who recently took office in neighboring South Dakota and Minnesota.

Burgum wants to collaborate with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, who took office this month, on the $2.75 billion Fargo-Moorhead area flood division project, the Bismarck Tribune reported. Burgum had worked with Walz’s predecessor, former Gov. Mark Dayton, on a task force to study the infrastructure project’s engineering.

Also, Burgum and Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem plan to work together with the two tribal nations that straddle their states, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. Burgum said he, Noem and Indian affairs officials have considered planning join visits to the reservations after North Dakota’s 2019 legislative session.

“I think that would be something we’d love to try to put together and work with them,” Burgum said.

Noem was sworn in Jan. 5.

Burgum will also welcome more new governors when he becomes chair of the Western Governors Association in June, said Jim Ogsbury, the association’s executive director. Eleven newly elected governors are part of the association, which is a bipartisan group of governors from 20 states in the western region of the country.

“I think we’re going to lean on him quite a bit to help welcome people like Gov. Noem,” Ogsbury said.

North Dakota will host the association’s annual summer meeting next year, he said.

“I think they have found that they have so much to gain from working together across state lines and learning from each other,” Ogsbury said.

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