PSC member seeking election for final two years of term
BISMARCK — Public Service Commissioner Brian Kroshus formally announced Tuesday, Feb. 6, plans to seek election, emphasizing the goal of building a stronger North Dakota through responsible development.
"Our job is to make sure it's done right," Kroshus said from the state Republican Party headquarters.
Meanwhile, Casey Buchmann, of Washburn, is seeking the Democratic-NPL endorsement to run for the same position. Buchmann said he hopes to bring the voice of the people to the commission.
"For far too long, the public has been sitting on the sidelines of the Public Service Commission," Buchmann said in an interview this week.
Kroshus was appointed in February 2017 by Gov. Doug Burgum to fill a vacancy on the three-member commission after his predecessor, Brian Kalk, took a new job.
In November, voters will decide who will serve the remaining two years of Kalk's six-year term.
Kroshus worked for 30 years in the newspaper industry, including as enterprise leader of the Farm & Ranch Guide, division leader for Bismarck-based Lee Agri-Media and publisher of the Bismarck Tribune.
Kroshus stepped down as publisher in fall 2015 to run for state auditor, but did not receive the Republican nod in 2016.
Kroshus said his priorities on the PSC include focusing on responsible infrastructure development, reliable and affordable energy and maintaining a fiscally responsible government that puts the public interest first.
"While we're fortunate to live in a state rich in natural resources, it's critical to manage them in a way that drives responsible and sustainable economic growth balanced with sound environmental stewardship," Kroshus said.
Buchmann, who has worked as a union iron worker for 29 years, said he'd like to bring his experience of site planning and overseeing large jobs to the commission.
Buchmann said he thinks the Public Service Commissioners have the inability to say no.
"The oil industry always gets yes," Buchmann said.
While Buchmann, who is the chairman of the District 8 Democratic-NPL Party, said he is pro-business, but wants to put people and the land first.
Buchmann, who ran unsuccessfully for state House in 2012 and 2016, said his ideology aligns with the Nonpartisan League.
"I won't let the party who I'm seeking the nomination from influence how I am going to vote on one thing or another," Buchmann said. "It will always be how will this affect the people."
Public Service Commission Chairman Randy Christmann is running for election to serve a second six-year term. No other candidates have made public announcements.