Burgum appoints Kommer to lead commerce department

Michelle Kommer
Michelle Kommer

BISMARCK — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum appointed Michelle Kommer to lead the state Department of Commerce, the governor's office said Tuesday, Dec. 11, after the agency's previous head resigned because he sent an inappropriate email to staffers.

Kommer currently leads both the state Department of Labor and Human Rights and Job Service North Dakota. She'll continue to serve as labor commissioner on an interim basis, while Workforce Safety and Insurance Director Bryan Klipfel takes the interim leadership position at Job Service until both positions are filled on a "permanent basis," Burgum's office said in a news release.

Kommer's appointment as commerce commissioner is effective Jan. 1. Before joining the Republican governor's administration, she was chief administrative officer and general counsel of Western State Bank in Fargo.

Former Commerce Commissioner Jay Schuler abruptly resigned in October after he sent an email to his staff reflecting on the contentious battle over now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.