Voters in a vast district spanning a large swath of southwestern North Dakota as well as the Standing Rock Indian Reservation will decide who will hold their two House seats from a field of three distinct candidates.
They include a former tribal chairman, a young dairy farmer and a longtime incumbent.
The District 31 House race features Democrat Mike Faith, of Fort Yates, and Republicans Dawson Holle, of St. Anthony, and Rep. Karen Rohr, of Mandan.
In the district’s Senate race, incumbent Don Schaible, R-Mott, is running unopposed for reelection.
District 31 encompasses Grant and Sioux counties and parts of Morton and Hettinger counties. The Standing Rock Indian Reservation shares geography with the district.
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Faith, who was Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman from 2017-21, touts his experience including 22 years on the tribal council, 28 years on the tribal school board and eight years on a federal Farm Service Agency committee.
“Within that area you work a lot with the townships, the county, the state, federal, other agencies,” Faith said.
He also cites his experiences working with Natural Resources Conservation Service cost-share projects and managing the tribe’s buffalo for 17 years.
He did not seek another term as a tribal chairman, citing his health and also stress from the coronavirus pandemic. He said he decided to run for House to “get back to a true representation.”
Faith said his priorities are veterans, home and health care, elderly care, agriculture, education, infrastructure, mental health, rural fire and emergency services, and energy — particularly renewable resources.
“I think it’s time that we support and strengthen renewable resources out here in North Dakota,” he said. “We have abundance of that through the solar, the wind, thermal energy. With that said, I think we put a lot of undue stress on our existing resources, so it’s not a fix-all bringing in renewable, but it may be the future and it would help offset the demand right now of oil and coal. It’s not meant to take over anything.”
Holle, who won the most votes in the June Republican primary for the district’s House race, is a dairy farmer and University of Mary business student.
At 18, he cites his qualifications for office as his interest in transparency with constituents, his agriculture background and also his youth — which he said would allow him to be a voice for his generation on bills.
Holle said he’s encountered people who “wanted new blood and new change … so I wanted to run and bring new perspectives to the Legislature.”
He also said constituents “want someone who is transparent with them, and they want someone who understands what the district wants and understands how they vote.”
Holle would be the youngest state lawmaker if elected. His primary victory knocked off longtime incumbent Rep. Jim Schmidt, R-Huff.
Holle’s priorities if elected would be to fortify the state’s dairy industry, to emphasize North Dakota oil and gas, and to protect veteran.
He said he is opposed to abortion and supports gun rights.
Rohr, a board-certified nurse practitioner first elected in 2010, is seeking her fourth term.
She declined a Tribune interview.
Rohr is vice chair of the House Human Services Committee and sits on the House Government and Veterans Affairs Committee.
She also sits on the Legislature’s interim Health Care Committee and Human Services Committee.
Reach Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.