Fargo dad, daughter running for state Senate, House
FARGO -- Construction has long been the Roers' family business. If voters in Fargo's District 46 agree, politics could also become a family affair. Jim Roers, the founder and CEO of Roers Companies, is seeking the Republican endorsement for the s...
FARGO - Construction has long been the Roers’ family business.
If voters in Fargo’s District 46 agree, politics could also become a family affair.
Jim Roers, the founder and CEO of Roers Companies, is seeking the Republican endorsement for the state Senate seat, while his daughter, attorney and businesswoman Shannon Roers Jones, is looking for the GOP nod to run for the House seat being vacated by incumbent Kathy Hawken.
The pair said they didn’t originally plan to make a father-daughter run for the Legislature,
Roers Jones said she didn’t think her father was going to run when she decided in July to take a shot at state-level politics. But in September, Jim Roers determined he would make another run for the Senate seat he held for eight months in 2011 as an interim appointment following the death of incumbent Sen. Tom Fischer.
“I wanted her to go first. I wanted her to make her decision first, not as a result of my decision,” he said.
She made her candidacy official in late October. He announced his run for the endorsement on Tuesday.
Father and daughter say they could be a good one-two punch for District 46, especially since they offer differing generational perspectives. District 46 covers a swath of southeast Fargo, from Interstate 94 along the Red River down to 64th Avenue South.
He’s a longtime business- and family man with contacts around the state and the region. She finished graduate school and law school and is raising three girls.
“We both work well together,” Roers Jones said. “We look at things from a little different lens.”
Roers said that at age 63, working in the Legislature is something that can fit in his life now.
“I thought, at my age, I should do it right now,” he said. “Being in Bismarck every other year for three or four months is very doable for me.”
Roers Jones, 39, who is now the general counsel for Roers Development, got a taste of politics after being involved in her father’s 2012 campaign for the Senate, which he narrowly lost to Democrat George Sinner.
“I really enjoyed the process. I’ve always enjoyed political issues,” she said.
After discussing the run with her husband, and asking other lawmakers how they juggle the responsibilities of the office with family life, Roers Jones said she decided to take the plunge.
“I can be an asset to our district in being a voice for younger families and being more of a voice for the younger generation,” Roers Jones said. “It was something I was looking forward to doing.
That he’s running makes it an even better opportunity.”
There are a couple of families with more than one generation serving in the Legislature.
Senate Minority Leader Mac Schneider, a Democrat representing District 42 in Grand Forks, was joined by his mother Mary Schneider in the House. She is a Democrat representing District 21 in Fargo.
Rep. Kim Koppelman is a Republican serving West Fargo’s District 13. He is the father of Rep. Ben Koppelman, R-District 16, also in West Fargo.
Sinner, the incumbent in the District 46 Senate seat who Roers wants to unseat, is the son of former Gov. George Sinner.
“I think Jim and Shannon will have a lot of fun together,” Sinner said. “I think it will be a really unique experience for them. I wish that I could have that same experience with someone in my family. When I ran four years ago for the state Senate, I had a lot of family members who came and helped me go door to door and participated in my active campaign.
He said when he ran for the U.S. House last year, all of his siblings participated in the campaign.
“I understand the camaraderie of the family and all of that. But I also understand what kind of pressures it puts on a family,” Sinner said. “My dad was active in politics for years and years. When my dad was first elected to the state Senate in 1962, my mother was home with nine children. And we all stayed home. And the oldest of those nine children at that time was 11. So there are unique challenges to having a family member serve.”