After nearly 10 years in the governor’s office, Sen.-elect John Hoeven resigned Tuesday, paving the way for Lt. Gov. Jack Dalrymple to be sworn in as North Dakota’s 32nd governor.
Hoeven, addressing legislators and other guests who packed the state House chamber, noted it was the first time a North Dakota governor had chosen not to finish his term.
“Other governors have left office early, but only involuntarily, either by dying or because they were removed by the law. I’m very pleased to report that neither of those cases applies today,” Hoeven said, to laughter.
The House chamber was jammed, with legislators, state officials and guests crammed onto the floor. The balcony above was likewise full.
Dalrymple’s 94-year-old mother sat in the back of the chamber.
Hoeven took time to reflect on the strength of the state, a strong economy, an oil boom and a growing population.
After the roughly 10-minute speech came to an end, Dalrymple was sworn in as governor by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle.
Dalrymple’s first words as governor, after taking the oath of office, were procedural ones.“As my first act in the office of governor, I hereby appoint Mr. Drew Wrigley to the office of lieutenant governor,” Dalrymple said.
Wrigley was then sworn in.
Dalrymple addressed the crowd, listing the virtues of Wrigley, a former U.S. attorney. He also thanked Hoeven, not just for giving him the opportunity to do what he loves, but for serving the state.
“Betsy (Dalrymple’s wife) and I thought he looked promising,” Dalrymple said, drawing laughter. “But honestly, we had no idea what a great leader he would become.”
Dalrymple outlined some of the goals of his administration, including improving education, diversifying the economy and improving infrastructure.
Still, legislators must wait until 10 a.m. today to see what Dalrymple outlines in his budget address.
“So, if you were governor, what would you do with the state budget when there is funding available?” Dalrymple asked, and then paused. “Tomorrow I will tell you in great detail how I believe we should proceed.”
Hoeven and the new members of the administration were then escorted out of the chamber, one by one.
As Wrigley was being escorted off, his 9-year-old daughter Quinn handed him her purse to carry down the aisle, while wife Kathleen carried their other two children’s doll and book.
After the men were escorted out, a ceremony was held in Memorial Hall. The resulting receiving line stretched back past the doors into the two chambers, and it took more than an hour and a half for people to congratulate the incoming administration.
The official paperwork was then delivered to leaders in the Legislature and the secretary of state, with the transfer of power becoming official at around 2 p.m.
(Reach reporter Rebecca Beitsch at 250-8255 or 223-8482 or Rebecca.email@example.com.)