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Area Republicans ready to head to session

After sweeping the District 36 elections on Tuesday night, area Republicans say they are ready to head to Bismarck to begin a new legislative session in January.

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Luke Simons

After sweeping the District 36 elections on Tuesday night, area Republicans say they are ready to head to Bismarck to begin a new legislative session in January.

Rep. Mike Schatz and Luke Simons won their District 36 House of Representatives races on Tuesday night, each getting approximately 39 percent of the vote.

Democratic-NPL Party candidates Dean Meyer and Linda Kittilson received approximately 10 percent and 9 percent of the vote respectively.

District 36 includes parts of Dunn, Stark, Hettinger and Morton counties.

Simons, a newcomer to the House race from northwest of Dickinson, said he is looking forward to working in the Legislature and working with fellow District 36 Republicans.

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"Mike Schatz is one of the most conservative in the House there is," he said. "I am very, very honored to work with him. He's a freedom loving man, and so am I."

Simons said he would try his best to help out farmers and ranchers in southwest North Dakota and across the state by creating a law that would allow farmers and ranchers to sell anything, except for drugs, that they make on their ranches-a similar law already exists in Wyoming.

Schatz, an incumbent from New England who currently serves in the House of Representatives, will be serving his fifth straight, and sixth total, term in the House.

Schatz said he has enjoyed representing District 36 since 2009 and is excited to be able to continue to serve the area.

"I like to help people and solve problems," he said. "It's one of those things that I think my career as a history teacher probably-part of your job was doing that."

One of the biggest issues this Legislature will face this session will be the budget, Schatz said.

He also wants to see mental health issues talked about in the next biennium.

"I think what we're seeing in some cases is that you're having people that are being incarcerated and put into prison because of drug issues," he said. "Sometimes I think the treatment that maybe they need-maybe we're using prison not in all cases of course but in some cases. So, we have to look at the treatment of people with drug and alcohol problems."

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Schatz said overall he excited to work with local leaders in Bismarck in January.
"I think we've got an excellent team going down there with Kelly (Armstrong) and Rich (Wardner) and Mike Lefor is running for caucus chair and Vicky, Luke and I," he said. "... I'm looking forward to it."

Kelly Armstrong, chair of the North Dakota Republican Party, won his race unopposed for state Senate with 99 percent of the vote. Armstrong has been a member of the North Dakota Legislature since 2013.

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Mike Schatz

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