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Going for another swing: Local Republican legislators announce bid for reelection

A trio of Republican legislators representing part of Dickinson and surrounding areas have jointly announced their bid for re-election this year. Kelly Armstrong, a state senator and Chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party along with State ...

A trio of Republican legislators representing part of Dickinson and surrounding areas have jointly announced their bid for re-election this year.

Kelly Armstrong, a state senator and Chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party along with State Reps. Alan Fehr of Dickinson, and Mike Schatz of New England, announced Thursday they will bid to continue representing District 36. They will proceed to the party’s local nomination convention Feb. 20 at the Ramada Grand Dakota Hotel.

Fehr, a psychologist, said he has an interest in general health care topics that the state has, and said he has a personal focus on the state’s prison population, many of whom suffer from behavioral health issues.

He said there was both a challenge and an opportunity to change how corrections work and help those in the system.

“I think it’s an example of where we can go save money, as well as do a better job than what we’re doing right now,” Fehr said.

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He also said he was interested in helping the state grow, partially by encouraging diversification of its economy to avoid “wild swings.”

“I think those are some of the things that really challenge me to see what I can do working with my colleagues here to better the state,” he said.

Armstrong brought up the recent order by Gov. Jack Dalrymple for state agencies to cut 4.05 percent from their budgets in the wake of a $1 billion revenue shortfall attributed to slumping commodity prices, saying that some strong guidance would be needed.

“The reality of the new budget situation in North Dakota’s going to require strong, conservative leadership to guide us through the next couple of years,” he said.

Armstrong said it was apparent that the state wasn’t going to keep experiencing high percentages of growth year after year, and that now is a period of “economic correction” that requires conservative principles to navigate.

He said he wants to help face these challenges.

“It is my honor to serve western North Dakota,” he said. “It truly is.”

Schatz said he’s putting his hat in the ring again because he enjoys serving the community. As a retired social studies teacher, he said he has “a feel for how the government works a little bit.”

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“I want to run again, and I think I can do some good things,” he said.

Schatz, a longtime football coach in New England, said he would keep pursuing a general policy of tax relief if re-elected, and that he would see to improving infrastructure in the region.

“I’m a firm believer in getting Highway 200 widened,” he said, adding that the same needed to happen to Highway 22 and Highway 85 between Belfield and Williston.

Schatz also said he wanted to keep promoting a business-friendly atmosphere in the region.

“We need to do that, try to cut through all the red tape of government … and make it friendly for people to come here, live and make some money,” he said.

Fehr said he, Armstrong and Schatz each made their own personal decisions to seek re-election, but each was interested to see what the others decided.

“Our intention is to get nominated and run again as a group as we did last time,” Fehr said.

Related Topics: DICKINSONKELLY ARMSTRONG
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