Audio: Democratic Legislative Candidate Says She’s Supporting Republican Gov Candidate, Wants Ethics Commission


North Dakota State Board of Higher Education chair Kirsten Diederich and interim chancellor Larry Skogen talk about the results of the Higher Learning Commission Advisory Team Report at North Dakota State University’s Memorial Union on Tuesday, September 2, 2014, in Fargo, N.D. Carrie Snyder / The Forum

Kirsten Diederich is a former president of the State Board of Higher Education and a long time contributor to Republican political campaigns in our state. She’s also running for the state House in District 46 as a Democrat.

The District 46 races seem to be one Democrats are targeting, with Kasper seen as a vulnerable incumbent. Republicans, on the other hand, seem to think that challenger Jim Roers has a good chance to take that district’s Senate seat away from incumbent Democrat George Sinner.

Diederich told me during an interview on my radio show today that she’s never met incumbent Republican Jim Kasper, who has served in the House since 2001.

“If he’s representing me and we’ve never met, I don’t think he’s my voice,” she said.

It’s surprising to me that Diederich, despite her service on the SBHE, has never met Kasper. You’d think a board member, particularly one from Fargo, would have at least met all of the Fargo area lawmakers. When I asked her if she had ever tried contacting him in any way, and she said she had not.

Also surprising was that Diederich said she’s supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Burgum for governor. She said she was on the Burgum bandwagon “early on,” but was quick to add as an afterthought that her party’s candidate Marvin Nelson “would be great as well.”

Asked what her priorities would be if elected to the Legislature, she said she’d like to see an ethics commission created for lawmakers and would also like to see lawmaker emails subject to open records requests.

Ironically enough, during her tenure on the State Board of Higher Education, that organization was found to have violated state open records laws multiple times.

Diederich withdrew her bid to be appointed to the SBHE for a second term during the 2015 legislative session after it became clear that lawmakers weren’t likely to affirm her appointment.

Here’s the full audio: