Gov. Doug Burgum today announced the appointment of Governor’s Office Chief Operating Officer Tammy Miller, former CEO of Border States, to succeed Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford as lieutenant governor of North Dakota. Miller begins her new role on Jan. 3.
Miller has served as chief operating officer in the Governor’s Office since April 2020, working with cabinet agencies to enhance citizen focus, drive innovation and improve the delivery of government services. She had previously served as CEO and board chair since 2006 at Fargo-based Border States, the sixth-largest electrical distributor in North America. Miller joined the employee-owned company in 1991 as the accounting manager and served in a variety of roles including corporate controller, vice president of finance, executive vice president, general manager for the southwest region and president.
“Tammy’s considerable private-sector background as a finance executive and CEO of a successful, multi-billion-dollar revenue, employee-owned organization, and her deep knowledge of state government through her outstanding work as COO, make her an excellent choice to be North Dakota’s next lieutenant governor,” Burgum said. “We are deeply grateful for her passion to serve the citizens of North Dakota and help our state reach its full potential.”
A native of Brocket, N.D., Miller graduated from high school in Lakota. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master of business administration degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Miller is a certified public accountant and early in her career spent eight years in public accounting.
“It is an incredible honor to serve our citizens as the 39th lieutenant governor of North Dakota,” Miller said. “I thank Gov. Burgum for his confidence and trust and this amazing opportunity in my home state. I look forward to working with the legislature, agency leaders and team members across all of state government to better serve the residents of North Dakota. I also want to share gratitude for my husband of nearly 35 years, Craig Palmer, for his love and support on this journey.”
Sanford has served as lieutenant governor since he and Burgum took office Dec. 15, 2016. They were re-elected to a second four-year term in 2020. In a statement, Sanford cited a desire to return to the private sector and focus on his family and career. Sanford is a certified public accountant who served as mayor of Watford City and owned and operated a third-generation auto dealership there prior to running for statewide office with Burgum in 2016.
“We are deeply grateful for Brent’s exceptional service to the State of North Dakota and its citizens these last six years,” Burgum said. “From his leadership on key issues including energy, child care and economic development, to his influential work with the legislative branch as president of the Senate, to his leadership as the governor’s designee on multiple state boards, Brent has made a positive impact on North Dakota’s citizens, economy and communities far and wide. It’s been an honor to serve with him, and we wish him, Sandi and their children all the best in their future endeavors.”
The lieutenant governor serves as president of the state Senate and chairs the Capitol Grounds Planning Commission, North Dakota Trade Office, Task Force for Military Issues in North Dakota, Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority, Early Childhood Education Council and Clean Sustainable Energy Authority.