Even Democrats are perplexed about why President Barack Obama has not visited North Dakota, the state with the country’s lowest unemployment rate because of what has been described as an “oil and natural gas boom” that is “transforming America’s energy landscape.”
Obama often speaks about the economy and energy independence. But National Journal asserts, “no clear reason exists for why the president has not visited the state” for economic and energy security reasons, especially because North Dakota has the country’s lowest unemployment rate and offers some hope of becoming energy independent.
Leaders from Germany, Turkey, Dubai, and other nations have visited the state to learn about the oil boom and North Dakota’s economy, but Obama has been absent.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) said Obama simply told her that he would not come in the winter when she asked him if he would ever visit the state.
“That’s as much of a commitment–I think it’s really important for him to take a look,” she told National Journal.
During his first term, the state did not offer Obama political benefits, and visiting the state during his second term may “inflame Obama’s environmental base, which is already worked up over his pending decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.”
“I would encourage him to go out,” former Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) told National Journal. “You’ve got to see it to believe it. It’s a big boost to our economy and also a big boost to our nation’s energy policy.”
North Dakota “is at the heart of America’s oil and natural gas boom” and “produced more than 800,000 barrels of oil a day in June, roughly 10 percent of the country’s overall daily oil production and an all-time record for the state. “
In fact, the state “has surpassed both California and Alaska to become the second-highest oil-producing state in the country, behind Texas.”
As a result, job seekers from around the country have traveled to North Dakota to find employment, and many have been successful. In stump speeches throughout the summer, Obama mentioned that the country was going to “produce more of our own oil than we buy from abroad for the first time in nearly 20 years” and repeatedly spoke about the economic problems the country faces.
North Dakota is one of six states Obama has never visited as president. The other five are Arkansas, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah.