Incumbents Nelson, Taylor will run for ‘7’ seats
While long-time District 7 lawmaker Arlo Schmidt last month announced he would not seek re-election to the state legislature, the district’s two other incumbents – Rep. Jon Nelson, R-Rugby, and Sen. Ryan Taylor, D-Towner, will run again.
Nelson, who is completing his 14th year as a state representative, admitted the decision this time around to run or not was harder.
“When you serve for a long time there is that feeling of satisfaction and frustration,’ Nelson said. “You wonder if it’s time to move on.”
Nelson was first elected in 1996 and has had an opportunity to serve in a number of areas. The past few terms, he has been working in health and human services and as a member of the appropriations committee.
“That committee (appropriations) I feel I can be a little more effective in funding programs that are beneficial to a lot of people, especially those in our district,’ he said.
A couple of areas he was most happy with was helping to draft legislation which enabled the regional corrections center in Rugby more opportunities to contract for prisoners to boost boarding numbers.
He also was happy to help appropriate funding in the health and human services budget to establish a colorectal cancer screening program in rural areas. That pilot project started at Rugby’s Heart of America Medical Center.
The District 7 Republicans will hold their party meeting on Feb. 23 in Velva. At that time, candidates to run for the three district legislative seats likely will be announced.
Taylor will run for a third term in the N.D. Legislature this year. He was first elected in 2002 and believes his past experience in the legislature, and understanding and knowledge of the key issues facing district residents, make him a strong candidate.
“I’ve enjoyed my time representing the district and I think I’ve I can go into the next session and be an even more effective legislator,’ he said.
Taylor serves on the education and agriculture committees. During the off-legislative year, he’s been in contact with school superintendents within the district on a number of education-related issues.
Last session he worked to provide additional per-mile transportation funds for busing for school districts and was successful in providing state emergency funds for counties which ran up hefty bills to remove snow to keep roads open for emergency vehicles, residents and school buses.
The District 7 Democrats will hold their party meeting on Feb. 20 in Drake. It’s likely the three candidates to run for office will be announced.
Both lawmakers pointed out the time commitment the seats require and the sacrifices their families make in order for them to serve the district and state in this role.
“It does take a lot of your time, but fortunately my family has been very supportive over the years,’ Nelson said.
While Taylor has not served the stretch of time as Nelson, he said it’s an adjustment for the family as well.
While the legislative session tends to run for three to four months, there is work to do during the non-session years. And there are always phone calls and contacts with fellow legislators and residents. “It’s tremendous experience…to be in a position to do a lot of positive things for the people, but it’s a commitment,’ Taylor said.
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