Ray Holmberg resignation spares his fellow lawmakers the pain of expelling him

MINOT, N.D. — In the first 131 years, four months, and two days of its history, North Dakota’s lawmakers had never exercised their constitutional authority to expel an elected member of the state Legislature.

Then on March 4, 2021, a supermajority of House members voted to expel Rep. Luke Simons , a Republican from Dickinson, after my reporting revealed a long history of accusations of sexual harassment.

Just 434 days later, the question of expelling another member of the state Legislature loomed before lawmakers, but they were spared having to make that decision by a timely announcement of resignation.

Sen. Ray Holmberg, a political force as the longest-serving lawmaker in state history, announced that he is retiring from the Legislature effective June 1, 2022.

“Recent news stories have become a distraction for the important work of the legislative assembly during its interim meetings. I want to do what I can, within my power, to lessen such distractions,” he wrote in April 25 announcement distributed via email. “Consequently, in respect for the institution and its other 140 members, I shall resign my Senate seat effective June 1, 2022. This date will give District #17 leaders enough time to go through the process and select a replacement.”

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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