One of the foundational pillars of our Chamber is advocacy. With election season upon us as we head into the 2018 midterms, we wanted to provide our members and the community the opportunity to hear directly from the candidates up for various seats on the ballot next month. See what they had to say in this question-and-answer forum below. Make sure to vote on November 6!
Want to hear more? Engage with the candidates at our Cracker Barrel on Thursday, October 18 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Hjemkomst Center Auditorium. Attendance is free, but registration is required. Learn more and register here.
Please note, The Chamber does not endorse candidates. We invited everyone running to participate in this questionnaire and in the Cracker Barrel. Below are the candidates that have provided written responses so far. More will be added as they are received.
We asked everyone this: What will be your top priority if elected, and how will you advocate for the issue as to have a measurable impact? What makes you qualified to solve this problem?
Below you will find the names, contact info shared, and their answer to this prompt if provided. Each candidate was allowed 100 words to answer. Their answers were only edited for punctuation, format, and for length if it was received over the specified word count. Those that did provide answers are listed by name only.
Moorhead Mayor’s Race
- Newzad Brifki
Business will be my top priority. I will make Moorhead a more business-friendly community. Having border city incentives to compete with Fargo is important. Having a business background in education and being a business owner makes me highly qualified for this position. Having available capital for new businesses is what I will introduce. We need to welcome bigger corporations by giving them longer tax incentives where they will give back in the future. Lastly, we cannot have empty buildings to remain empty. This will change with me as the next mayor of Moorhead.
- Brenda Elmer
I would prioritize economic development and bringing more business to the city, not only for the amenities it provides, but because we must strengthen and diversify our local property tax base. With more than one-fourth of our land parcels tax exempt, the responsibility falls on a subset. Having served on the council, my city knowledge, the relationships developed, partnerships I helped to cultivate, my ability to actively listen and engage with residents and stakeholders, my business experience, my passion for Moorhead, my first-hand understanding of the state and federal legislative processes will all allow me to hit the ground running.
- Johnathan Judd
Creating sustainable economic and business growth in Moorhead that is mutually responsive and profitable to business developers and city residents. I would advocate for this issue by having conversations with city council, staff and interested parties, including new and established local entrepreneurs. The purpose is to understand and formulate a holistic vision for future economic and business growth. My qualifications are that I have been actively involved in the community and built relationships from serving on non-profit boards that have been involved in partnerships with private businesses in Moorhead. I have also served on city commissions working with businesses.
Moorhead Council Ward 1
- Shelly Dahlquist
- Riley Maanum
I believe economic development is one of the most important issues that Moorhead faces. We need to attract new businesses and residents to our community. Business growth will stabilize our tax base and keep our tax rates competitive with surrounding communities. Residential growth will create a broader tax base. I will strongly support the economic development department and the sensible use of tax incentives. My connections with local/state legislators will benefit Moorhead as we work to minimize unfunded mandates and code issues that increase costs to our community. We need to be competitive or we will lose developments for Moorhead.
Moorhead Council Ward 2
- Shelly Carlson
There are multiple priorities I would work on if elected: Continuing the forward momentum currently occurring in downtown Moorhead while simultaneously focusing on other areas in Moorhead; supporting the Moorhead Police Department and Moorhead Fire Department with determining ways to retain employees while assessing ways to increase safety within Moorhead; and determining ways to build healthy neighborhoods and increase quality of life for Moorhead residents. I would support measurable impact (quantitative and/or qualitative) to ascertain success of each initiative. I believe I am qualified for this position based on 24 years of experience working with the public and building community collaboration.
- Ben Hammer
- Drew Sandberg
Growing Moorhead’s commercial and industrial tax base remains my top priority. I will seek clarification of roles and priorities between Moorhead’s Economic Development Authority (EDA), Downtown Moorhead, Inc. and Moorhead Business Association. I will advocate to change the EDA’s membership structure to favor additional full-time staff over volunteers. I favor expanding the EDA’s mission to actively recruit businesses across the Upper Midwest to relocate or add operations in Moorhead. Additionally, I favor funding a small-business incubator and entrepreneur mentorship program capable of nurturing local start-ups into sustainable, successful, long-term Moorhead-based businesses.
Moorhead Council Ward 3
- Karl Deilke
My top priority is growing our business community. I will promote the image of Moorhead as a great place to do business. Moorhead is seeing a lot of new growth, and I will work to keep that momentum going. Border city legislation is one area that we need to continue to monitor so we level the playing field. I will work with Derrick LaPointe (the new EDA director) to help recruit new business and retain existing business; and to keep desirable tax incentives for businesses. As a lifetime Moorhead resident and business person, I feel that I am uniquely qualified to handle this position.
- Troy Krabbenhoft
I started to get interested in doing more for the city when I started to see some empty buildings in Moorhead. Not just Family Fare, Sams, and Herbergers however, the empty businesses that used to flourish in Moorhead. I want to represent the growth of Moorhead and bring more area business and housing. I am hoping there will be some businesses established that will be careers for the graduation college students to want to stay and raise a family in Moorhead. I want more places for the citizens of Moorhead to eat, shop and be able to entertain their family.
- Deb White
Moorhead is a growing, friendly community with many strengths. However, we have not always done well at engaging stakeholders. I will ensure that residents, business owners and other stakeholders are well informed and have voices in decision-making. I will seek to improve our notification processes, create listening sessions, and pursue other ways to build a more open and collaborative local government. As a former business owner and Moorhead Planning Commissioner, neighborhood advocate and experienced leader, I have the knowledge and skills to effectively engage stakeholders. By doing so, we will enhance economic development, protect homeowners’ investments, and promote neighborhood vitality.
Moorhead Council Ward 4
- Marc Hedlund
My top priority, if elected, would be to continue to help Moorhead grow the business side of things. Moorhead is a great community and we need more amenities for the citizens of Moorhead. I would work hard with the Economic Development committee as well as local business owners to fill the gaps that they need, as well as work with potential new businesses to create plans that will sustainable for them to bring their business to Moorhead.
- Chuck Hendrickson
My top priority if I am elected would be to keep working on infrastructure projects and make sure those projects are completed. The top three infrastructure projects for the City of Moorhead include: Permanent flood protection for the metro area; Solid Waste Transfer Station; and 20/21st Underpass. As a member of the Metro Flood Diversion Authority, Solid Waste Advisory Committee, and the Moorhead City Council, I have the experience to keep these projects moving forward.
Clay County Commission – District 3
- Jenny L. Mongeau
Clay County Commission – District 4
- Kevin Campbell
Permanent flood protection always tops all. Because that process continues to move forward, we need to build our workforce. With our baby boomers retiring, we will need to retain our young people and recruit others to move here if we want to entice more high paying jobs. Economic development cannot happen without a strong workforce. We need to keep and improve our community amenities so that our 2 and 4-year college graduates have a reason to stay here. My experience is shown by Clay County being the fourth largest growing County in Minnesota over the last seven years.
- Mari Dailey
State Legislature – House District 4A
- Ben Lien (D)
My top priority for the 2019-2020 legislative session is to make Moorhead stronger by supporting the local business community and area infrastructure. I’ll continue fighting for the Border City Enterprise and Development Zone program with other Red River Valley legislators to make the program better for businesses through permanent appropriations. Area infrastructure includes a new Clay County solid waste transfer station, planning for a downtown Moorhead railroad underpass and flood mitigation projects. I’ve proven to be effective in achieving results for Moorhead by working with Democrat and Republican legislators over the last six years as a state representative.
- Jordan Idso (R)
If elected, my top policy priority will be to build a healthy business environment for Moorhead and, by extension, the state of Minnesota. You do not need the Red River to define the border between Fargo and Moorhead. The discrepancies in our tax and regulatory policies have already seen to that. I believe to be competitive as a border city, we must mirror North Dakota’s policies as best we can, starting with a Renaissance Zone in Moorhead. Moorhead is not the only border city, and those who represent areas in similar situations are very likely to be on board.
State Legislature – House District 4B
- Paul Marquart (D)
My top priorities are to provide safe communities and schools, build a strong rural economy through education, job skills development, lower taxes for farmers and businesses and supporting our veterans and senior citizens. My strong record of bipartisan leadership and common sense approach to reaching solutions to our challenges will help in getting results in these areas for rural Minnesota.
- Jason Peterson (R)
My top priority is to fight so you can keep more of your hard-earned money. Stopping the rising the cost of healthcare and providing solutions to lower costs for families while protecting the relationship between patients and their doctor is critically important. One of the first action items when I’m elected will be to support moving Minnesota into conformity with the federal tax overhaul so that all Minnesotans can realize the full benefit of tax relief – something my opponent failed to do. I have the relationships necessary and the enthusiasm required to make a lasting impact and get the job done.
State Legislature – Senate District 11
- Tim Mathern (D)
Top priority is permanent flood protection for Fargo, reduction of property tax, and proper funding of education and health services. I will use my relationships with Republicans and Democrats, my seat on the Appropriations Committee, and strong work ethic to get these things done. I am qualified as I have the experience of 30 years in the legislature, appropriate education in public administration, and the passion to make a positive difference.
- Todd McMichael (R)
My top priority if elected would be: Help ND maintain its prosperity and traditions. North Dakota is a wonderful state with many opportunities. In order to do this, we must make sure the agricultural and energy sectors stay strong. We must also strengthen our higher education system, not just the four year colleges but also our trade schools. Also many of North Dakota’s traditions revolve around the outdoors and I would work with Game and Fish along with Parks and Recreation to maintain and grow these traditions.
State Legislature – Senate District 13
- Judy Lee (R)
Behavioral health, including mental health and substance use disorders, is a priority. As chair of the Senate Human Services committee, I have been directly involved with the efforts now being made on prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery. Providing access to treatment for all ages, including early intervention for young children, along with treatment and peer support for adults in recovery, will enable children to succeed in school and adults to remain with their families and at work, instead of being incarcerated. Adequate numbers of licensed addiction counselors is a challenge.
- Carrie Leopold (D)
State Legislature – Senate District 21
- Kathy Hogan (D)
The legislature must continue to have a major focus on addressing the behavioral health crisis in our state. The suicide crisis is epidemic in ND. Our prisons and jails are filled with people with diagnosed problems. Some good work has been done over the last four years. However, there are still gaping holes in the prevention/early intervention, treatment and recovery continuum particularly for children with both mental health and substance use disorder. As chair of the Interim Human Service Committee, we have prepared five bills to address these critical issues. I am committed to advocating for these critical services.
- Sierra Heitkamp (R)
My top priority, if elected, will be connecting younger generations of North Dakotans with our business leaders that have driven the economic progress of our state. Encouraging our students who have graduated from in-state educational institutions to continue North Dakota’s legacy of building upon generations of experience is, in my opinion, the most effective way to progress our thriving economy. As a college student, I am uniquely poised to serve as an influencer of my generation in the State Senate, integrating and guiding the experiences of my peers to help ensure that North Dakotan talent stays in North Dakota.
State Legislature – Senate District 27
- Quinn Garrick (D)
My top priority if elected is to focus on the economic security of all individuals within the state of North Dakota. In order to achieve this, we need to put in place new standards for quality work environments and employee wages and benefits. Furthermore, we need to invest in and expand opportunities for North Dakotans, particularly for young people in the state. We must do this to foster an innovative and entrepreneurial economic environment, one that embraces all citizens regardless of upbringing or privilege. As a policy advocate for RESULTS, I’ve worked extensively to push forward policies to alleviate poverty.
- Kristin Roers (R)
Workforce development is a priority that needs to be addressed from multiple angles: ensuring that North Dakota remains business-friendly to develop and retain business growth, and ensuring communities remain vibrant to attract workers to want to live and work in. Working in healthcare, we have battled workforce shortages for a few years. We have made progress by allowing leaders the flexibility to respond to their employees’ needs, while working with the community to develop a place where potential employees want to live. My work in healthcare gives me a unique understanding of the issues facing our state and region.
State Legislature – Senate District 41
- Kyle Davison (R)
My top priority in the 2019 legislative session will be additional funding for education with a focus on early childhood education and behavioral health issues. The state currently funds early childhood education only for those who qualify for free and reduced lunch. I’d like to see this funded for all students. The measurable impact is more students will be ready both academically and socially to enter kindergarten. My work over the last 20 years in education provides me the understanding of
- Paula Thomas (D)
State Legislature – Senate District 45
- Danielle Pinnick (D)
- Ronald Sorvaag (R)
My top priorities for the 2019 session will be the adequate funding of K-12 education. Funding for higher ed will also be important, so that we can keep it affordable for our future workforce. The other priority will be critical infrastructure funding. I am a member of the Appropriations Committee in the Senate, and will be involved with these issues and others and have an impact on the final budget that comes out of the Legislature.
State Legislature – House District 11
- Gretchen Dobervich (D)
North Dakota has experienced a dramatic increase in suicides. Crisis lines are an evidence-based, low-cost suicide intervention. An investment in North Dakota’s 211 system will add an additional statewide suicide crisis line, enhance the existing database system, and increase program capacity. I hold a Bachelor of Social Work and a ND social work license, work at the NDSU Public Health Department American Indian Public Health Resource Center as a policy program manager, served on the ND Legislature Health Services interim committee, previously worked as Director of Operations at FirstLINK and am pursuing a Master of Public Health at NDSU.
- Bridget Ertelt (R)
- Ron Guggisberg (D)
- Kathy Jorgenson (R)
State Legislature – House District 13
- Dianne Hyndman (D)
As a candidate, my priority will focus on veteran’s healthcare and court systems to accommodate veterans with representation. Our state is receiving monies for these programs, and there needs to be oversight on those funds. There are 22 veterans committing suicide every day. Our legislature needs to step up our commitment to those who served. PTSD is a disease that affects many vets, and incarceration for these vets, that are not getting long-term treatment, is a disservice to their service to our country. A group of veterans are working on a veteran’s court system, but seem to be getting stonewalled!
- Kim Koppelman (R)
We are confronted with many issues and must take a “big picture” approach to those which confront us during a Legislative session. If I had to pick one issue, however, it might be completing the Justice Reinvestment work we started last session. My 24 years of experience, my previous successful work and my leadership role as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee help best prepare me for this work. As a citizen legislator and business owner for more than three decades, I also understand the importance of low taxes, less regulation and limited government and how they’ve helped our state prosper.
- Landis Larson (D)
The budget is the most important issue facing our state. We need to stabilize it so it will work for now and into the future. The most important issue I see for business in this state is a lack of trained qualified workforce. I have worked closely with management to develop training programs to upgrade the skills of the workforce in our plant to address the future needs. Workforce safety is paramount to attracting workers as is having vibrant communities with great education and childcare to draw workers to our state.
- Austen Schauer (R)
My top priority for the 2019 ND Legislature would be improving school safety. For the last 20 years, we’ve watched and felt the horrific agony of tragic school shootings. Is there something more we can do, and if so, what? Dogs. Dogs are remarkable. They are already being used extensively in law enforcement, military and major sporting events. Why not schools? Experts say a weapons detection dog supervised by a trained person can screen 150 students per minute. Funding a K2 program is always a challenge, but the State’s Legacy Fund is a good place to start.
State Legislature – House District 21
- LaurieBeth Hager (D)
My highest priority if elected is to work to restore funding for North Dakota’s Higher Education System to a level that will maintain quality and affordable programs for students. The drastic funding cuts in 2017-2019 budget have caused the significant loss of faculty/staff and students at NDSU. The reductions at NDSU greatly impact the economy of Fargo and the entire region. Funding North Dakota’s college and universities is an investment into the future of young adults, the future of Fargo, and the future of our state.
- William Kloubec (R)
- Madison Rodgers (R)
- Mary Schneider (D)
Violence, including domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault and abuse of vulnerable adults and seniors, takes a tremendous financial, public, personal and multi-generational toll on our state, its services and workforce. With funding and legislation, we can create, expand and support preventive services, community education, law enforcement and other approaches to lessen the adverse consequences of violence. My background as a lawyer, police officer, social services worker and mental health worker, and my legislative experience on Health Services, Human Services, and Interim Judiciary committees has given me a unique combination of skills and experience to address this important issue.
State Legislature – House District 27
- Thomas Beadle (R)
Workforce shortages greatly impact our economic growth. If we want to diversify and strengthen our economy, we need to ensure a skilled workforce is available. I have worked hard in the legislature to promote economic development opportunities, and to keep successful programs like Angel Investment Funds and Renaissance zones in place. We have a good foundation, now we need to take the next step and reinvest in our education system to train and attract the next generation of workers, and to prepare ourselves to meet the needs of the global marketplace. We have done well, but we must do more.
- Randy Boehning (R)
- Ruth Buffalo (D)
As a lifelong North Dakotan, I am committed to improving our quality of life. Ensuring affordable, quality health care for every North Dakotan is important. As a public health professional, parent, and educator, I know how important it is to have a knowledgeable and skilled advocate working hard on their behalf. From families to farmers, to a flourishing business sector each relies on a legislator who has the focus and drive to get the job done. My unique experience and background provides a fresh and informed perspective to this seat and for our state.
- Jon Kitzman (D)
State Legislature – House District 41
- Pamela Anderson (D)
Community leaders across our state in business, education and local government, all agree that one of the biggest challenges facing North Dakota is attracting and retaining a skilled, educated workforce. We have an increased demand for specialized training and a continued need to support our entrepreneurs and grow our local economies. I sponsored bills to lower student loan interest rates, provide tuition assistance and income tax credits to help our young families with childcare costs. I know how important it is to help our graduates and their families in order to recruit and retain a much needed workforce.
- Al Carlson (R)
Funding of the F-M Diversion will continue to be a priority going into this session. We have committed $450 million toward the diversion. When the final plan is approved and we can see what the final costs are, we may need to adjust our portion from the state. Four years ago I promised $120 million for interior city flood projects. That money was delivered. I have proven that as the leader in the House I can get the job done for Fargo and the state. Promises made; promises kept. Another critical issue will be the total reorganization of our workforce delivery system.
- Brandon Medenwald (D)
My top priority will be a balanced budget. As the owner of a software company I started with only a $100 bill and hard work, I know how to balance a budget while still investing for the future. We need to protect higher education in Fargo and more to bolster our workforce right here in the Red River Valley.
- Michelle Strinden (R)
My top policy priority is to strengthen education by improving student literacy rates in North Dakota. Less than half of our students are reading at or above grade level. Research has shown that one in five students experience dyslexia or other learning disabilities, and that early identification and consistent remediation is essential for students identified as dyslexic. I have a BS in Education from UND and a MS in Counseling from MSUM. I have worked in Richland County and in West Fargo as a school counselor. My husband and I have four children ranging in age from 12 to 21.
State Legislature – House District 45
- Tim Hoye (D)
My biggest priority is to bring jobs to the state/region. My goal is to bring technology jobs as I have been in the tech field for 20 years. I know the need for tech jobs will grow with automation, renewable energy resources and programming. Bringing those businesses through skilled education, we can be a tech leader for the nation right here in North Dakota.
- Mary Johnson (R)
- Tom Kading (R)
- Lukas Maughan (D)
Cass County Commission – District 2
- Rick Steen
Cass County Commission – District 4
- Duane Breitling
U.S. Congress – North Dakota House
- Kelly Armstrong (R)
If a five-year Farm Bill hasn’t been passed, that will be my top priority, and advocating for this is the same as advocating for all bills important to North Dakota. As a legislator, I have a proven track record of helping pass some of the most significant legislation in the state. This requires working with parties on both sides of the aisle as well as the administration and government agencies. I’ve always been good at building maintaining relationships with stakeholders, including those that I may not always agree with, and this is something I plan to continue in D.C.
- Mac Schneider (D)
Contact: Deputy Campaign Manager, Anna Diederich, 701-412-3503
My top priority is working with Republicans and Democrats to enact policies that grow North Dakota’s economy and create opportunity for hard-working families. That means working on a bipartisan basis to end the harmful trade war that is hurting our family farmers, preserving healthcare gains like North Dakota’s Medicaid expansion, and passing a balanced budget. In the North Dakota Senate, I was proud to work with business leaders and legislators of both parties to provide property tax relief, invest in education, and advance critical infrastructure projects like Fargo flood protection. I would take a similar bipartisan approach in Congress.
Note: Other races are being held across the city, state and nation, and may appear on your ballot. To view the other races and candidates, visit your respective Secretary of State’s website. Or check out these links to input your address and view your ballot:
There are also four measures on the North Dakota statewide ballot, and one on the Fargo city ballot. View the official measure and ballot language HERE; and the stances we have taken can be found on our website.
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