State Sen. Kelly Armstrong, District 36, returned to Dickinson Monday as part of his campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Armstrong is pursuing the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, who is challenging Heidi Heitkamp in the U.S. Senate race.
The opportunity to become a representative was not intimidating, Armstrong told The Dickinson Press.
"Everything really just happened kind of quickly," he said. "My wife is the one who really encouraged me to consider it. After that, it was putting an entire campaign together in 48 hours and getting on the road. We were five and a half weeks from convention at that time, so we just went to work right away."
He added, "We've been going 100 mph ever since."
A Dickinson native, Armstrong worked for his father's company, the Armstrong Energy Corp., and until 2012 practiced law.
He was elected to the North Dakota Senate in 2012, where he served on the judiciary, natural resources and justice reinvestment committees.
He served as North Dakota Republican party chairman from 2015 until 2018, resigning from the position to run for the U.S. House.
Armstrong believes he can bring the same quality of performance he's shown in North Dakota to the United State Capitol.
"I've been proud of the work we've done for infrastructure spending, lower taxes and less regulation," he said. "We've worked hard to make North Dakota a great place to do business, and we need to continue to keep that going in Washington D.C."
A priority for Armstrong is reigning in national debt.
He dismisses criticisms, though, that Republican leadership has made the problem worse.
"I find it interesting that the one time Democrats care about deficits is when we're allowing more people to keep more money in their paychecks," he said. "For eight years of Barack Obama, deficit spending was going up for a long time and it sure wasn't an issue. But the minute we do a tax cut and allowed North Dakota citizens to keep more money, all of a sudden it's an issue."
Armstrong applauded President Donald J. Trump's "New NAFTA" deal, and said he has heard support for it across the state.
"People are nervous. People are concerned. But they were willing to give the president a chance to renegotiate these deals," he said. "They just wanted to see some progress, and I think in the last three weeks we've seen some progress."
If elected, Armstrong said that, to his knowledge, he would be the only member of Congress who has grown up in the energy industry.
"With the oil boom that happened, we dealt with a lot of issues related to oil and gas when we were in the state legislature," he said. "The answer, really, is to ensure that we let North Dakota regulators and North Dakota government deal with the issues that face North Dakota, and continue to help the Trump administration roll back regulations that are duplicative."
Armstrong hopes to be able to bring North Dakota values to the nation's capital.
"It's been incredibly humbling to go from one end of the state to the other and see the support we're getting," he said. "At the same time, we need somebody in D.C. who is going to fight for the things that are important for North Dakota."
The general election is on Nov. 6.