BISMARCK — A U.S. Marine Corps veteran from Velva announced Monday, March 21, that he was seeking Democratic-NPL endorsement for a seat on the North Dakota Public Service Commission, making him the top nominee of the party for a statewide position in Bismarck this election cycle. .
Trygve Hammer is running for a four-year term in the PSC seat recently vacated by Republican Brian Kroshus, whom Gov. Doug Burgum appointed late last year to head the state tax office.
In a statement, the former Marine highlighted his years of military service and said North Dakota needs leaders who will work to keep utility costs down “while enriching and protecting our precious landscape”.
The three-member Public Service Commission is responsible for a wide range of energy-related oversight functions, including the regulation of electric and natural gas utility companies, reinstatement status of coal mines and authorization of projects such as wind farms, pipelines and transmission lines.
Another candidate so far has declared itself for the PSC’s four-year open, incumbent Commissioner Sheri Haugen-Hoffart, a Republican who was tapped by Burgum last month to fill Kroshus’ seat on the of the regulatory committee.
Hammer, an alumnus of Velva High School, enlisted in the US Navy after graduation, working as a nuclear power machinist and going on to study chemistry at the US Naval Academy. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps and served two tours in the military branch as a helicopter pilot before resigning from active duty in 2001. Two years later he was deployed to Iraq as a as infantry weapons platoon commander.
An unsuccessful candidate for the State House in 2020, Hammer has held a variety of other jobs, including as an assistant maritime attaché and speechwriter at the United States Embassy in Rome, Italy, as a commercial airline pilot in St. Louis, as a middle and high school science teacher and as a worker on workover rigs in the North Dakota oil fields.
“I believe that right now our state needs dedicated public servants who fight for them, especially in our rural communities,” Hammer said in his campaign announcement. “Our state needs compassionate leaders who will make tactical decisions to improve the lives of North Dakotans and protect the public interest.”
Two PSC seats are up for grabs in the 2022 elections, one for a full six-year term and the other to complete the remainder of Kroshus’ term. Commission President Julie Fedorchak is up for re-election for the six-year opening and currently has no challengers.
Democratic NPL members will gather in Minot later this week for the party convention, where Hammer will seek party endorsement.
Readers can contact Forum reporter Adam Willis, a Report America staff member, at firstname.lastname@example.org.