Happy Hour in the Heartland – Josh Swanson

Josh Swanson

Josh Swanson a.k.a. “Swanny” joined me at Bar 9 in West Fargo for the return of Happy Hour in the Heartland. Swanson is an Attorney at Vogel Law Firm where he focuses on energy and natural resource law, business law, property law and land use. He has been at the practice since 2011 and has represented a lot of landowners in Western North Dakota.

Swanson breaks down the continued controversy surrounding mineral ownership under Lake Sakakawea. We discuss the history, what’s at stake, and who, if anyone, is to “blame” for the situation getting to this point. Swanson also gives his take on how the state has handled the energy development and looks to the future.

Josh also is a contributor for Bison Illustrated. You’ve likely read his column, “Swanny Says.” You can find his work here.

Topics Covered:

– Lake Sakakawea mineral ownership dispute
– Grading how State Government has handled energy development
– What questions should we ask our officials going forward



Happy Hour in the Heartland is an original podcast brought to you by ND xPlains. The series will bring the real conversations had by average people in an open, honest, and judgment free environment. The conversations are unfiltered, unscripted, and at times may move you out of your comfort zone.

So why Happy Hour? As I’ve traveled across the state and met with people of all backgrounds a couple of things are clear, everyone has an opinion on politics, and they are open about it in a one-on-one conversation after a long day at work. Whether it is a welder, a farmer, a banker, or others involved in politics who I’ve visited with, the discussions have been real and thought provoking. At times we’d agree, and at times we’d disagree. Regardless, at the end of the conversation, we’d often part ways and wish the best for each other. I hope by elevating those candid conversations, we can begin to better understand our collective worldview here on the plains.

The series will capture a personal yet public journey across the state. It is no secret I’m a Democrat from a rural, red state who recently lost reelection. In the aftermath of the 2016 election, Democrats have been accused of losing touch with rural America. I don’t think that is true locally. I know North Dakota, and I know its people. Nationally, they are talking about us now, but only a few have begun to talk with us. So let’s bring the conversation to them.

Through Happy Hour in the Heartland, your voice on the plains will be elevated. We will join you for a round at our coffee shops, diners, and bars. If you are interested in politics, grab your favorite beverage, listen, engage, and enjoy. Cheers!

Tyler Axness
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