Representatives of Democratic-NPL arrive in Devils Lake for roundtable discussion

Joe Mellenbruch Journal Reporter

Three men and women from the North Dakota State Legislature visited Devils Lake Tuesday afternoon to sit down with local citizens for an intimate roundtable discussion regarding political topics.

The three legislators all belonged to the North Dakota Democratic-NPL: Assistant Senate Leader Joan Heckaman (New Rockford), Assistant House Leader Corey Mack (Grand Forks) and Representative Jessica Haak (Jamestown).

Men and women gathered at the Pizza Ranch on College Drive, just north of Hwy. 2.

A number of issues were discussed during the meeting, which attracted roughly ten Devils Lake citizens, but there were three that resounded throughout the encounter.

Heckaman began the discussion by introducing the issues of education and childcare, topics on which she placed a great deal of emphasis.

“These are the future minds of our state and our country,” she said. “Investing in educators and education should be a top priority.”

Mack’s primary concern was that of campaign finance reform, which he claims needs to be addressed prompty in the next legislative session. According to him, North Dakota boasts some of the most lax regulations in the country regarding campaign finance methods.

“North Dakota is one of three states that does not have an ethics commission,” he said. “North Dakotans want honesty and transparency, and we aim to deliver.”

Haak stressed the importance of improved the North Dakota infrastructure, particularly in the western part of the state.

“If you've driven around this state you've seen the crumbling roads, and you've heard about overcrowded schools,” she said. “We have to do more.”

A majority of the meeting involved Devils Lake citizens asking questions of their legislators, raising the issues that matter most to them.

Other topics discussed included women’s rights, taxes and infrastructure improvement.

The 64th assembly of the North Dakota State Legislature will convene January 6, 2015.