Joe Heilman serves 1st term in ND Legislature
Joe Heilman credits his Rugby roots for helping him to get where he is today.
“Rugby, and the people who reside there, always encouraged me to do my best and gave me the tools and opportunities to do so,” said Heilman. “Rugby provided many opportunities for me to be active in the community,” continued Heilman. “This helped me realize the rewards of service and community engagement.”
His career path has him working as an account manager for Pedigree Technologies, Fargo. He bought a home in District #45 which includes his alma mater, NDSU, as well as parts of north Fargo and the cities of Knife River, Reile’s Acres and Harwood.
When Rick Berg moved on to run for the U.S. House of Representatives, Heilman was encouraged by him and others to run for Berg’s seat. Heilman won the seat in the North Dakota House and has begun work on his first legislative session as a representative.
“I thought long and hard about it and ultimately decided to run in the 2010 election cycle,” said Heilman.
“My experience as NDSU’s Student Body President (2008-2009) really opened my eyes to the political process, as I would frequently travel to Bismarck to testify on issues affecting students,” said Heilman. “The experience working with legislators across the state was fantastic and sparked my interest.”
The biggest issue his district is facing is permanent flood protection as the east and west borders of District 45 are the Red and Sheyenne Rivers. Property tax relief and business friendly policies are two others.
Representative Heilman looks at his service in District 45 as an opportunity to serve the NDSU community as well as other parts of the Fargo area where he has spent the last 6 1/2 years of his life. It’s a way of giving back while pursuing something he is passionate about.
Heilman grew up on a farm south of Rugby with his parents, Duane and Jeni Heilman who continue to live on a farm near Silva. His granparents continue to live in Rugby. They are Joe and Loretta Heilman and Marion Hauck. He is also the grandson the late Clem Hauck.
He has many good memories of Rugby. In his senior year at RHS he was president of the student body. He was asked to serve on the Dollars for Scholars board and said he really enjoyed getting to know members of the business community.
“Some of my favorite memories were the times I spent working on RHS’s Robotics Team,” said Heilman. “The FIRST robotics project was always an amazing opportunity to work with companies like Rugby Welding and Machine and Rugby Manufacturing.”
Added to those memories were all the times he had to go to town on parts runs to local businesses. “I enjoyed shooting the breeze with all the great people who helped keep the farm running,” he said.
Heilman worked on the farm the summer after graduating from high school then went to NDSU in the fall to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. After a year, he switched his major to business administration and graduated with a BS in business administration with a minor in accounting.
While in college he was active in leadership positions in the NDSU Concert Choir and in student government.
During the summer of 2010, Governor John Hoeven appointed him to serve on the ND Youth Council.
Heilman is single with no children. He enjoys working with his hands, watching movies, keeps up with technology, plays accordion and piano, and of course, politics.
He is looking forward to Rugby’s 125th Celebration and All Class Reunion in July.
In the meantime, he remains busy with his work and his service to District 45.
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