Brent Sanford graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1994. He is a Certified Public Accountant. He worked for Eide Bailly LLP from 1994 through 2002, and then became the chief financial officer of Transwest Trucks in Denver, Colorado. He moved back home to Watford City in 2004, taking over his family-run car dealership. He was elected to the Watford City Council in 2006, and became mayor in 2010. Watford City became the fastest growing community in America from 2010-2020. Most of the growth occurred during the early days of the Bakken oil boom from 2010-2014. The community focused on infrastructure investment and community development activity to address the rapid growth, including: investing in the historic Main Street area, new retail, new schools, new healthcare, new daycare, and new airport investments.
Doug Burgum chose Sanford as his running mate in the 2016 gubernatorial election. The ticket won the general election. They won a second term in the 2020 election. The pair entered office with a State budget crisis and the DAPL pipeline protests, weathered the storm of COVID-19, and throughout focused on infrastructure and economic opportunities for the State. On December 20, 2022, Sanford announced his resignation as lieutenant governor, effective January 2, 2023, in order to return to the private sector and spend more time with his family.
Over the last 15+ years, Sanford has consistently been a public voice of reason for societal, governmental, business, and community challenges facing North Dakota. He was the public voice for the City of Watford City as City Council President and later as Mayor from 2006–2016, during a period of unprecedented population and economic growth. Brent excelled at explaining issues of the day while answering questions, in a legislative hearing explaining the value to all North Dakotans when presenting the needs from the oil boom impacted communities of western North Dakota, or in various radio or newspaper interviews during the incredible Bakken Oil Boom. It was his sense of the national and statewide importance of the Bakken development as well as his passion for communication and collaboration for communities of all shape and size in North Dakota that brought Brent into the partnership with his running mate Doug Burgum in the 2016 gubernatorial election.
Brent took on a statewide leadership role as a public voice, problem solver, ambassador and communicator for the ND Governor’s office from 2016-2023. He had to strike a balance between nurturing relationships with local officials, state officials, federal officials, legislators and the state’s industries, and developing creative solutions to move forward large projects and initiatives and challenges during the Burgum Sanford administration’s 6 years together.
Brent firmly believes that the everyday common sense and values practiced in fly-over-country can lead us out of our current troubles while keeping our nation on its path to greatness.