Why are you running for this office?

Running for the legislature allows me do more for the people of my district and my state. In ND, politics is not so much political as personal, and my background as a young professional, a Native American and long-time public servant will bring a much needed perspective to the decision making table of our state government.  I want to work to pass legislation that will further the major agenda of the constituents in my district and of most North Dakotans; how we can earn a decent living and how we can raise our children successfully.

How does your background make you the best choice?

My work involves bringing people together, appreciating differing perspectives, understanding the legislative process, researching the nuances of hot-button issues, and communicating the concerns of ordinary citizens to elected officials.
I’ve found that government works best when stakeholders sit down to discuss our shared challenges – like how can we earn a decent living? And how can we help our children be successful? – fairly and thoughtfully.
I’ve built lasting relationships with members of the ND House and Senate in both political parties. I’m a better choice for working people, the underemployed, families and the environment. Professionally I’m a community organizer and have been non-profit administrator for much of my adult life. I’ve served in public office for more than ten year’s.
My professional and community experience helps me facilitate that discussion and by working together, we can pass meaningful legislation that addresses the needs of all North Dakotans.

What issues are most important in this election?

The same issue every election – how can we better people’s lives?  Specifically, in north Fargo’s District 45, high priorities include long-term flood control as well as ensuring that NDSU and the Research and Technology Park remain beacons of quality education and innovation.  There is the ever-rising concern of local property taxes rates and inadequately funded K-12 schools.

North Fargo has a diverse population, and serving District 45 effectively presents unique opportunities and challenges.  As a state we need to ensure to the people of North Dakota that we can make decisions that will build economy, create and maintain good jobs and have support children and families.

What should be the priorities for the state Legislature in the 2011 session?

Infrastructure projects.  If our state does not provide quality roads, safe water systems, permanent flood-protection, and expanded internet and broadband services, we falter and fall behind.  By strengthening our state’s overall infrastructure with sound projects and investments, we attract new development and maintain our position as a successful state in this time of economic uncertainty.

How would you balance urban needs with rural needs?

Rural and urban needs need to be synergistic, partnering with one another and sharing in success, not taking each other for granted.  ND has seen success with urban economic development groups partnering with rural development groups, and we are a regional leader in urban-rural partnerships.  Much of the hard work of community development is done at the local level, with private partnerships, but that work is enhanced by funding and support from the legislature, reaching over district boundaries for state-wide initiatives.  If elected, I will work towards strengthening our economy, to ensure that it works for farmers, working people, families, and the environment.  Some of my family farms in western ND and some of my family lives in “urban” eastern ND.  Our needs and priorities are no different than that of our ancestors who settled North Dakota – we want to ensure a bright and better future for our families.

What should be done to sustain North Dakota’s economic prosperity into the future?

The real potential is for Democrats and Republicans to be accountable to the people of North Dakota and provide a secure foundation for the future. Our duty as elected officials is to improve the quality of life for all of our citizens, with an economy that works for everybody.
Our current economy is short-changing our youth.  There are too many people with minimum wage jobs, two jobs, no health insurance, expensive child care, and huge student loan debts.  When we talk about young people who want to stay here and chart their own economic course, we need to make sure there are good paying jobs here to fit their talents.  That means diversifying our industries, investing in technology, and attracting businesses with a proven track-record of commitment to the communities in which they operate.



CHANGE THAT WORKS ND February – April 2010

Region 1 Lead Organizer May 2009 – Present

·      Responsible for managing, training and empowering field staff in organizing and execution of campaign strategy

·      Works closely with Field and State Director to coordinate organization building, mobilization activities, timeline for implementation and measurable outcomes with field staff

·      Responsible for day to day region activities dedicated to building political will, support, and leadership for the enactment of progressive legislation in Congress

·      Consistently trains and empowers volunteer leadership to develop neighborhood, city, and regional leadership structure

·      Consistently leads leadership trainings in letter to the editor writing, earned media activities, and campaign strategy

·      Works with volunteers and field staff on maintenance of current information in Votebuilder the AV VAN regarding leadership, volunteer and action capacity

Fargo, Region 1 Field Organizer February 2009 – May 2009

·      Recruited and trained volunteers, activists and leaders to build capacity for CTW Leadership structure to expand public participation and execute federal officials and constituents policy initiatives

·      Managed volunteer leadership in activities such as house meetings, earned media events and other mobilizations

·      Assisted in building databases for ND SEIU Change that Works through mPower and the AV VAN and Votebuilder

·      Consistently met goals within the accountability structure of 1:1’s, House meetings and letters to the editor


North Dakota State University, Minnesota State University Moorhead and Concordia College

Faculty in Resident 2005 – 2008, Staff 2009

NEW Leadership is a five-day residential program aimed at promoting public and community leadership among women of diverse backgrounds

·      Recruited women from groups that have typically been underrepresented voices in the political process, such as women of color, low income women and women with disabilities.

·      Lead workshops on running for office, public speaking, community organizing, public policy advocacy, working with the media, grassroots activism and fundraising

·      Facilitate activities and exercises on empowerment, and skill development

·      Faculty in Residents and staff are placed with groups to nurture their progress over the 5 days and be a mentor for their groups final project which was presented to local media experts

WELLSTONE ACTION! November 2009 – Present

Native American Leadership Program Trainer

Designed to strengthen Native American Leadership and civic engagement

·      Working the great team at Wellstone Action! to provide intensive trainings on civic engagement and leadership development with culturally sensitive curricula

FARGO THEATRE Fargo, July 2006 – August 2008

Operations Manager/Executive Assistant

·      Manage and coordinate the daily operations and staff of the historic Fargo Theatre in downtown Fargo which includes but is not limited to: advertising, accounts payable, contract enforcement, policies and procedures, front of house regulations and procedures, security, maintenance and other related duties

·      Supervise theatre staff and technicians; train and supervise theatre staff – manage various personnel functions including, but not limited to: hiring, firing, scheduling, performance appraisals, promotions, transfers and vacation schedules.

·      Assist with Coordinating and managing operations for the Annual Fargo film festival including, but not limited to: managing database, correspondence between filmmakers, working with staff and interns to delegate tasks related to festival and theatre needs, manage all film juries as well as all correspondence between film festival committee and Fargo Theatre staff, and festival programming

·      Act as house manager for all live events supervising technical and concession staff assuring a safe and professional environment for clients and patrons to enjoy their experience at the theatre

·      Assist with fundraising activities including writing grants totaling $350,000 in 2008


Writer/Program Coordinator

·      Developed and provided a North American – wide, creative outlet for expression for First Nation/Alaska Native/Native American youth

ALL NATIONS YOUTH PROGRAM Fargo January 2003 – March 2005

Program Director

·      Managed and helped to coordinate the daily operations and volunteers at the Wesley Center under the auspices of Native American Christian Ministries (NACM) which included but was not limited to: policies and procedures, pickup and delivery of food baskets, coordinated services of outreach for homeless population, security, maintenance and other related duties

·      Supervision of NACM staff

·      Coordinated disbursement of goods received to needy families and the homeless.

·      Increased student participation in the youth program by 350% in 4 months

·      Implemented the Dakota Language and Culture series that includes weekly lessons and at least one monthly field trip or cultural excursion.  Most of our Students are of Dakota heritage.

AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION St. Paul MN, July 10, 2000 – July 31, 2002

Target Market (TM) Field Organizer

Key Organizer launching a new Anti-Tobacco Marketing Campaign in 20 counties in NW Minnesota and Greater MN Populations “at-Risk,” including 11 American Indian Reservations, Hispanic, and Refugee Communities.

·      Assisted Field and Marketing Team with developing counter-marketing campaign that attracted over 20,000 youth participants in first 12 months, and nearly 45,000 in first 24 months, resulting in a 25% reduction of Teen Tobacco use in first 18 months.

·      Organized and trained youth in grassroots counter-marketing campaign.

·      Facilitated trainings, in Media Advocacy, Street Marketing, and Leadership

·      Design and implement Culturally sensitive Material

·      Organize grassroots events implementing Youth-Led Adult Guided tactics

·      Managed ACCESS regional database of 3,000+ youth, and 450+ adults

Community Leadership

Fargo Human Relations Commission, July 2002 – present, Commissioner, 3rd year elected Chair 2008 – present

Fargo Film Festival, Chair Indigenous Voices Committee 2003- present

Woodlands and High Plains Powwow Committee/Volunteer 2003 – present

Center for Inter Faith Projects, Board Member 2009 – present


North Dakota State University, Fargo ND

Pre-Law, Political Science with a minor in Community Development

Anticipated graduation: Fall Session 2011 Bachelor’s of Science degree in Political Science

University of Mary, Fargo Campus 2002 – 2004

Business Administration (No degree sought)

Other Political Experience

·     District 45 delegate to the North Dakota Democratic Convention 2008

·     Cass County Democrats Phone Banker 2006

·     Volunteer 2006 District 45 Campaign Barry Nelson for State Representative

·     District 45 Poll worker; primary and general elections: 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004