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Republicans give Rep. Johnson a final sendoff: Cramer: ‘Nancy is the best of the best’

Press Photo by Bryan Horwath With her friend Dr. Kamille Sherman, center, Rep. Nancy Johnson listens to North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem speak during Saturday’s GOP Lincoln Day Dinner at the Dickinson Elks Lodge.

A virtual who’s who of the North Dakota Republican Party was in Dickinson on Saturday, in part to sendoff District 37 Rep. Nancy Johnson as she moves to Fargo.

Among th attendees at the GOP’s Lincoln Day Dinner at the Elks Lodge were North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and Secretary of State Al Jaeger.

Johnson, who recently moved to Fargo after serving Dickinson’s legislative district for more than a decade, is retiring when her term ends at the end of this year.

“Over the past 16 years, things have really changed here,” Johnson said. “I was on the school board before serving in the Legislature and we were closing schools and cutting classrooms. Now there’s so much growth, which makes for special challenges in the Legislature.”

The official guest speaker for the event, Cramer said he thinks of Johnson as the “epitome of a citizen’s Legislature,” and said her time as a legislator in western North Dakota was well served.

“In preparing for tonight and giving the address, I’ve been reading a bunch about President (Abraham) Lincoln again and how accessible he was,” Cramer said before the dinner. “Nancy really epitomizes that and it’s appropriate to celebrate her service and to thank her for what she’s given.”

As a token of his and the party’s appreciation, Cramer presented Johnson with an American flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol. The presentation was made following the dinner, which was both a party fundraiser and a farewell gathering for Johnson.

“Nancy is the best of the best,” Cramer said. “She’s one of the more thoughtful and, I would say, balanced legislators. She considers all sides of an issue, even though she has a very strong Republican philosophy. That is also very Lincolnesque. I’m sure they miss her out here, but I actually get to see her a lot now in Fargo.”

Also attending Saturday’s dinner were Sen. Bill Bowman, R-Bowman, state Senate majority leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger and District 37 GOP candidate Mike Lefor. He will run for Johnson’s seat.

The Republican has served as Dickinson’s representative since 1999.

Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
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