John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.
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BISMARCK — The field in the North Dakota secretary of state's race solidified Tuesday, Sept. 4, as the office's longtime Republican occupant announced his independent bid was certified for the November ballot. Al Jaeger, who has been secretary of state since 1993, launched an independent campaign once the GOP-endorsed candidate, Will Gardner, dropped out after his 2006 peeping arrest surfaced. Gardner defeated Jaeger during the Republican convention, but the party has since backed Jaeger with a "letter of support."
BISMARCK — On a recent morning in the basement of Bismarck’s public library, Heidi Heitkamp wiped away tears as she listened to heart-wrenching stories from North Dakotans facing life-altering ailments.
BISMARCK — President Donald Trump will be back in North Dakota next week to headline a “VIP reception and fundraiser” for Rep. Kevin Cramer’s campaign, the Republican congressman said Wednesday, Aug. 29. Trump will be in Fargo Sept. 7. It will mark the president’s second visit to the state’s most populous city during the closely watched contest between Cramer and Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who’s seeking a second term representing the deeply red state that Trump won with 63 percent of the vote.
BISMARCK — The state of North Dakota is set to receive $3 million in federal funds to help replace aging election equipment. Secretary of State Al Jaeger will go before the state's Emergency Commission Thursday, Aug. 30, with a request to receive the money from the Federal Election Assistance Commission. He said it would cover about a third of the cost of a new system, including ballot scanners and electronic poll books, but the Legislature would also be asked to pitch in next session.
BISMARCK — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought against the federal government by an injured Dakota Access Pipeline protester seeking her seized property. U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright of Minnesota dismissed Sophia Wilansky's complaint without prejudice Monday, Aug. 27. She suffered serious injuries when an object exploded while she was protesting the oil pipeline in November 2016.
BISMARCK — The campaign for Sen. Heidi Heitkamp pushed back on a demand from Rep. Kevin Cramer's camp to discontinue an ad on pre-existing medical conditions Monday, Aug. 27, after it was scrutinized by fact-checkers. The ad in question starts with Heitkamp, a Democrat, stating: "Like 300,000 North Dakotans, (Denise Sandvick of Killdeer, N.D.,) has a pre-existing condition. That used to mean no health insurance." Although the ad doesn't explicitly mention the Affordable Care Act, it extends the fight over one of the law's most popular provisions.
BISMARCK — North Dakota's prison population is expected to grow at a slower pace under a package of reforms state lawmakers passed last year, according to a new report presented to legislators Thursday, Aug. 23.
BISMARCK — Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp defended herself against a barrage of attacks over her stance on so-called "sanctuary cities" Tuesday, Aug. 21, even as Republicans acknowledge North Dakota doesn't have those immigration policies.
BISMARCK — North Dakota politicians and the head of its coal industry group welcomed a proposed Trump administration rule on power plant pollution Tuesday, Aug. 21, while a local environmentalist derided it as a "gift" to the industry. The Environmental Protection Agency revealed the "Affordable Clean Energy" rule Tuesday, which would replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. The earlier rule never went into effect after legal challenges but would have required North Dakota to cut carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 45 percent by 2030, causing concern among utility executives.
BISMARCK — North Dakota voters will decide whether to amend the state's laws and constitution on four separate measures this fall. The measures range from legalizing recreational marijuana to allowing volunteer emergency responders to apply for red personalized vehicle plates. Voters will also choose whether to establish a state ethics commission to investigate politician malfeasance and to make it clear that only U.S. citizens can vote in North Dakota elections.