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Student challenges incumbents

The race is on to see who will be the next District 39 state representative. The candidates are incumbents David "Skip" Drovdal and Keith Kempenich. They are challenged by Aaron Judkins, a 23-year-old college student from Watford City. Judkins fe...

The race is on to see who will be the next District 39 state representative.

The candidates are incumbents David "Skip" Drovdal and Keith Kempenich. They are challenged by Aaron Judkins, a 23-year-old college student from Watford City.

Judkins feels the incumbents only represent part of the population.

Judkins says everyone in District 39 deserves to have their voices heard.

"I feel the main issues for our district are infrastructure needs, safe roads, water supplies for people and energy development and housing," he said.

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Other issues Judkins is concerned with are improving the relationship between landowners and energy developers, clean energy development and strengthening the education system.

Kempenich agrees with some of Judkins concerns with a few minor tweaks.

"I feel the big issues our district is facing are how to handle the (oil) boom (number of people, infrastructure, roads, road traffic and housing), fresh water and how to transport it around for energy development, and how to appropriate money in a wise way while keeping the state growing," Kempenich said.

Kempenich has been representing District 39 since 1993.

"I think what's going on now in North Dakota was helped by what we did in the 90s. People think what's going on in energy, agriculture, employment... happened overnight, but I feel the initiatives and legislation that took place in the 90s and having (former governor) Ed Schafer's help is what moved us ahead," Kempenich said.

"I am running because I still enjoy what I do, and it spooks me when I start seeing people taking the boom for granted," Kempenich said.

"I want North Dakota to keep growing but I feel we must also stay sane, I don't want things to go to our heads and start spending more than we are taking in, we should treat energy money as something for the future not just now," Kempenich said.

Kempenich is a farmer/rancher and crop adjuster from Bowman.

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He has a wife, Melinda, and three children: Haley, Mark and Natalie Kempenich.

Kempenich first ran in 1992 to bring attention to the struggles North Dakota farmers were having coming out of the drought of the 80s. He also wanted to work on retention of young people in the state and bringing jobs to western North Dakota.

Drovdal is another incumbent from Arnegard. Drovdal is running again because he is still excited about what he does.

"I like being involved in decisions about my life, our state and our grandchildren's future," Drovdal said.

Drovdal was first elected in 1992.

"I was encouraged to run because of my involvement in the community, my background and my experience," he said.

Drovdal is a retired farmer, businessman and custodian. He enjoys fishing and golf when he has the time.

Drovdal feels that the big issues facing District 39 are distribution of money coming from oil and gas and county and school infrastructure.

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Drovdal says he looks forward to serving again.

"District 39 is the largest district, and working as a team has helped," Drovdal said of his team, which includes state Sen. Bill Bowman, R-Bowman and Kempenich.

Kempenich said the team has the experience to represent the district.

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