Winter 2019 Gavel Gavel Winter 2019 - Page 5

How does your law degree help you in your legislative work? As a lawyer, due to my education and experience, I have more general knowledge of the law and the statutes. Many of my colleagues in the legislature seek out my advice on bills they are planning to introduce or on bills currently under consideration in the committees. Since 1999, I have personally been primary sponsor or cosponsor of over 300 bills, not including ULC bills. What do you think are the most important issues facing North Dakota today? I think the most important issues facing the legislature include the budget; behavioral health issues; justice reinvestment, criminal justice, and public safety; bills relating to natural resources and environment; workforce development; and human services. Issues of interest will also likely include the Ethics Commission and marijuana issues. REP. SHANNON ROERS JONES District 46 Majority Caucus Leader Serving since 2017 University of North Dakota School of Law – 2011 Why did you decide to run for the State Legislature? I have always had an interest in politics and government, but I didn’t think about running for office until someone asked me to run for the city commission. It took several months of research, and a retirement in my legislative district, but I determined running for the legislature was a position that was more interesting to me. How does your law degree help you in your legislative work? My law degree helps me understand the language of the code, as well as how the code has been applied to cases throughout history. My legal training has helped me look at proposed legislation from both sides to consider the unintended consequences of a change and seek out the best solution. What do you think are the most important issues facing North Dakota today? There are many important issues facing North Dakota, but I have really enjoyed working on criminal justice reform. The current climate in North Dakota has legislators looking at the “lock them up longer” mindset of the past with a fresh perspective. I have enjoyed the opportunity to utilize my legal hat, as well as my nonprofit hat, to search for ways for the state and nonprofits to collaborate to reduce the prison populations and recidivism. REP. TOM KADING District 45 Serving since 2015 University of North Dakota School of Law – 2013 Why did you decide to run for the State Legislature? What prompted me to run for the state legislature was the strong convictions I had regarding how government should be run and the kind of government I wish to leave for future generations. When I first ran in 2014, I did not like the direction the country was headed and decided if I wanted to see change, I should really become involved. How does your law degree help you in your legislative work? A legal background gives me a unique perspective when looking at potential laws. When I consider a prospective law, I think about the different ways an attorney can twist the words to reach a result. More importantly, when I consider which way to vote on a certain bill, I try to use rules, precedent, and elements in a similar manner in which courts decide cases. What do you think are the most important issues facing North Dakota today? In my opinion, the most important issue facing North Dakota is ensuring we, as a state, are able to act and regulate as we in North Dakota see fit rather than bureaucrats in D.C. Each state is unique and a one-size-fits-all approach from a bloated D.C. is not good for North Dakota. REP. MARY JOHNSON District 45 Serving since 2015 University of North Dakota School of Law – 1994 How does your law degree help you in your legislative work? As lawyers, we know when proposed legislation is too vague and ambiguous or when it is too specific. We can visualize having to defend it in court. We are often very influential in changing proposed legislation so it serves the general public. *Rep. Mary Schneider was unavailable for comment. WINTER 2019 5