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Rugby native Joe Heilman to run for district legislative seat

Twenty-four-year old resides in Fargo

January 28, 2010
Tribune Staff Report

A go at state politics has always been in the back of the mind of Rugby native and recent North Dakota State University graduate Joe Heilman.

It will just occur sooner than later for the 24-year-old.

Heilman, who resides in Fargo, and is just a year out of college, will seek the District 45 Republican Party endorsement for the North Dakota State House of Representatives. He announced last week his intent to run for the seat.

"A lot of things lined up politically recently that provided me this opportunity,' Heilman said.

Long-time GOP lawmaker Rick Berg of Fargo decided not to run for another term, opening up the seat in Heilman's district.

Joe was approached by a number of friends and other supporters, encouraging him to run. "This is a chance for me early to see if it's something I like or don't like,' Heilman said. "If I do enjoy it, maybe at some point I will make a career out of it."

While the prospects of serving in the state legislature are appealing, it doesn't come without some drawbacks.

"I just started a career and you think is this the right time?,' he said. "If I am fortunate to get elected, than it means taking three or four months away from my work (to serve in the legislature). Fortunately, I work for an employer (Pedigree Technologies) who has been supportive of this decision."

Heilman, who is the son of Duane and Jeni Heilman, of rural Rugby, is no stranger to the political process as he served as NDSU student body president which afforded him the chance to testify at several N.D Legislative committee hearings last session and meet with lawmakers.

Heilman looks back fondly on his time growing up in Rugby and the encouragement from friends and neighbors to get involved.

"I learned early the lesson of giving back and contributing to the community you live in,' he said.

Serving in the state legislature is just an opportunity to do that. community and that. He said education, investments in infrastructure, aggressive economic development and sound fiscal policy are the keys to keeping the state on the path to prosperity.

District 45 contains parts of north Fargo, Reile's Acres and Harwood.



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