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District 8 should decide successor

Rose Christensen, Barnes County

Governor Burgum’s recent attempt to install his hand-picked successor to a “vacancy” in District 8 was a brazen attempt to usurp the power of the people of District 8 to choose their own Representative to the legislature. He has no authority to make such an appointment.

The Constitution states: “The Governor may fill a vacancy in any office by appointment if no other method is provided by this Constitution or by law.”

Fortunately, the law provides a method in NDCC 16.1-13-10 which states: “if a vacancy in the office of a member of the legislative assembly occurs…. the legislative management shall notify the district committee of the political party that the former member represented …. The district committee shall hold a meeting within twenty-one days after receiving the notification and select an individual to fill the vacancy.” The key word in all of this is “member”. What is a “member”? A North Dakota legislative Representative-elect is NOT a member of the legislature until he takes the oath of office and is installed on the first of December, as prescribed by law.

Dave Ahndal “won” the election, but would NOT have become a “member” of the legislature until December, so presently THERE IS NO VACANCY. Representative Jeff Delzer, the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, is the incumbent Representative member in Dist 8, until December lst, when his four year term of office expires.

On that day, with Representative-elect Ahndal unable to assume office, a vacancy will finally occur. The provisions of 16.1-13-10 will kick in. Because Delzer is the “member” whose position becomes vacant on that day, the responsibility to select HIS successor will devolve on the district committee of HIS party in HIS district , the Republican Party organization of District 8.

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