Republicans swept District 3 legislative races to send three new faces to Bismarck.
Republican Leverrett "Oley" Larsen of Surrey, an automotive technology instructor in the Minot Public School system, won the Senate seat on a 2,043 to 1,582 vote over incumbent Democrat Robert Horne.
The House seats went to Andrew Maragos, owner of Travel Connection in Minot, and Roscoe Streyle, director of Information Systems & Security at United Community Bank of North Dakota in Minot and a restaurant owner in Minot and Grand Forks. Maragos polled 2,001 votes and Streyle 1,928 to unseat Reps. Lisa Wolf, 1,577, and Kari Conrad, 1,360. Conrad has served since 2004 and Wolf and Horne rode into office on a Democratic wave in 2006.
Leverrett “Oley” Larsen
Maragos said the mood of the voters toward Washington trickled down to the local races for the first time in 2006, and what is happening on the national level still appears to a factor for voters choosing their legislative candidates.
"I am glad I could ride in on the wave that washed me out four years ago," he said. Maragos, who served District 3 in the House from 1993 to 2006 before losing the election four years ago, said he expects to return to a similar environment of hard work but the same collegiality. He expects infrastructure needs and funding for higher education to be among the tough issues for legislators this time.
"It's going too be a very great honor to support my neighbors, support Third District," Larsen said. "I am more than happy to be able to serve."
He listed issues related to the state's water and road infrastructure that the Legislature will have to address.
"There's a lot of issues. I am ready to tackle them. I have a lot of leadership there to look to and a lot of mentors to help me out," he said. "I have been called to do this so I feel very comfortable and confident in trying to do my best."
Streyle also said he is ready to go to work for District 3.
"I am really excited about it, ready for the challenge and definitely want to represent Minot," he said.
Having stronger Minot representation in the majority Republican Party in the Legislation will give the city and western North Dakota a stronger voice at a time when it is needed, he said.
"We will be able to maybe get more funding for the infrastructure we desperately need up here," he said.
Horne said the trend across the state cost Democrats a number of legislative seats.
"That's unfortunate. We are going to lose a lot of good quality legislators in the House and State. I feel badly about that but people are unhappy and they are punishing us for what's happening in Washington," he said. "We lost a lot of good people. I hope the state does well without us."
Horne added that he is grateful for the opportunity to serve the past four years.
"It's something everybody should be able to do at one time or another. Very few get that opportunity and I am thankful I had the opportunity to serve District 3, Minot and the state of North Dakota," he said. "We did a lot of good things, made a lot of progress for the state."
"I think it was a very thoughtful thing," Conrad said of the voters' decision. "They just decided they really are upset about the way the country is going. Anybody associated with the president is going to be no welcome."
The responsibility now is on the Republicans to effect the positive change that voters want, she said.
Wolf said she was surprised at the strength of the trickle-down effect but noted that voters have spoken and they have spoken for change. She added that it is disappointing to see fewer Democrats headed for Bismarck because she felt the party was able to accomplish some good things last session, particularly in its advocacy for a new grandstand at the State Fair.
Wolf is a computer and business teacher at Minot High-Central Campus. Horne is retired after serving 20 years as manager of Verendrye Electric Cooperative's Minot office. Conrad has worked in various human service and judicial organizations, taught at Minot State University and worked as a consultant and Berthold business owner. She served as Ward County commissioner from 1992 to 2000.
District 3 includes Minot's downtown and east side, the city of Surrey and Nedrose, Sundre, Margaret, Maryland, McKinley and Surrey townships.