BISMARCK, N.D. -

The state's economy was front and center in the first gubernatorial debate of the election season.
 
Republican Doug Burgum, Democrat Marvin Nelson and Libertarian Marty Riske took the stage in Bismarck.

The candidates were civil. There weren't the fireworks you normally see during presidential debates.

Burgum, who upset Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem in the Republican primary, says one of his top priorities is diversifying the economy.

He says red tape is stifling innovation in the state.

Burgum says, "If someone can go online and create an LLC in Minnesota in a half an hour online. It takes weeks in North Dakota. We have to streamline some of that."
 
Democrat Marvin Nelson says filling job openings should be a top priority.

He says there are workers to fill those jobs.

He thinks expanding services like day care will help them get back to work.

Nelson adds, "We have available workers out here, but they don't have services available to watch their children, so they're not working. "
 
Two more gubernatorial debates are scheduled, October 3rd in Bismarck and October 10th in Fargo.