Laird enters state superintendent raceBISMARCK — A Grand Forks science teacher will make a repeat run for state superintendent of public instruction, he said Tuesday.
By: Janell Cole, N.D. Capitol Bureau
BISMARCK — A Grand Forks science teacher will make a repeat run for state superintendent of public instruction, he said Tuesday.
Max Laird is also a former North Dakota Education Association president.
He lives near Thompson and teaches at Community High School in Grand Forks, has collected the 300 petition signatures he needs to be on the June primary ballot. He says he will send them overnight to the secretary of state to meet Friday’s filing deadline.
He said, “I feel compelled to do (this) now because children can’t wait.”
The office appears on the no-party ballot but both political parties typically issue a letter of support for a candidate.
Incumbent Superintendent Wayne Sanstead was given the Democratic-NPL letter of support this past weekend. He has been in office since 1985. But the Republican Party did not issue a support letter to a candidate at its convention March 28-30 because it has not found someone willing to run for the office. Delegates gave the party’s executive committee the authority to issue a letter of support to a candidate should one be recruited before the primary election.
Republican Party Executive Director Mike Schatz said Tuesday that the party does not yet have someone to support but “we’re working on it.”
Laird was in the primary for the superintendent’s position four years ago, after defeating Sanstead for the Democratic-NPL support letter. But Sanstead entered the primary and he and the Republican candidate, Keith Jacobson, survived the primary and Laird was knocked out by a margin of about 1,600 votes.
Laird said the state Department of Public Instruction should be instrumental in bringing local and state government together to solve issues that confront education, and he wants to be the person leading that agenda.
“In the recent past, we have struggled with funding, declining enrollment, teacher recruitment and retention, geography issues and now No Child Left Behind,” Laird said in a prepared statement. “The only initiatives that have had an impact recently have been those coming from the governor’s office. I believe DPI can and should be instrumental” in solving education issues.
Laird is an active Democrat. He was a delegate to the state party convention this past weekend and helped plan and put on the convention.
Janell Cole works for Forum Communications Co., which owns The Dickinson Press.