President-elect Obama promised a nationwide effort to create jobs, strengthen the economy and make America more energy independent.

Minnesota led the nation in clean technologies and biofuels, and North Dakota was seeking a transition away from traditional fossil fuel mining. Minnesota and North Dakota also had significant congressional leadership in the new Congress. The Midwest was an essential location to launch the Pickens Plan and encourage Congress to take action in the first 100 days.


Tunheim developed a Minnesota and North Dakota campaign plan centered on recruiting influential grasstops leaders and generating earned media throughout the state. Building upon the national campaign’s goal of developing and mobilizing a Pickens Plan army of volunteers, Tunheim targeted unlikely organizations to support the plan and assist in developing a local army to encourage congressional action.


Developed an army of more than 180 volunteers in Minnesota and 85 volunteers in North Dakota;

Secured Bismarck Mayor John Warford and Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown as the first mayors in North Dakota to endorse the Pickens Plan;

Secured 10 Minnesota mayors to endorse the Pickens Plan;

Worked with local supporters, including Will Steger to secure guest op-eds and endorsements in Minnesota’s largest newspapers; and

Organized two townhall meetings with attendance exceeding 150 people in Fargo and 85 in St. Paul, attended by Senators Kent Conrad and Bryon Dorgan, as well as Congressmen Earl Pomeroy and John Kline.