North Dakota Governor Will Donate Salary To Help Addicts

By Victoria Kim 05/25/17

The governor is following through on a campaign promise to enhance addiction recovery initiatives in the state.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum Photo via YouTube

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum will donate more than $50,000 to improve addiction recovery initiatives in the state. The money will come from his own salary earned during his first months on the job—since taking office in December to the end of June. After taxes, this amounts to about $51,500.

The funds will serve as “seed money” for bettering North Dakota’s addiction recovery services—specific initiatives will be announced later by his wife, First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum.

Kathryn has come out as a strong ally for the addiction recovery community. She herself has been in recovery for 15 years, she told the Bismarck Tribune earlier this year. “I’m very passionate about addiction because it affects me personally,” she said. “It was fun until it wasn’t fun…It was just part of my DNA that was going to show up at some point.”

The first lady recalled going to inpatient rehab for 10 days at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota—much to the surprise of her family and friends, who didn’t suspect that she had a drinking problem.

After that, it took a “few more slips and bumps” before recovery really took hold. “I know that I am blessed to be where I am in my life because I am sober,” she said. “I really believe I have a higher power who directed me down this path where I am now.”

Governor Burgum is on the same page with his wife when it comes to humanizing substance abuse issues. “We treat addiction like a crime,” he said according to the Tribune. “We can’t solve the problem by building bigger and more prisons.”

The governor’s generous gesture makes good on his campaign promise to give his salary back to North Dakota taxpayers, the Tribune reported this week.

“The salary I have been legally obligated to accept since taking office Dec. 15 will be donated as seed money for new recovery and treatment initiatives the First Lady will announce at a later date, continuing our focus on enhancing addiction services statewide,” Burgum said in a statement.

And on July 1st, at the start of the new budget cycle, Governor Burgum will continue to decline to get paid. 

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr