The North Dakota chapter of the Children’s Defense Fund will be hosting several public forums across the state this month.

Paul Ronningen, state coordinator for the North Dakota chapter, said the forums will cover issues including child care, Head Start, housing, education and the state budgeting process.

The first forum is scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. today at Mandan City Hall, 205 Second Ave. N.W. Ronningen said he will kick off the forum with an overview of the last legislative session. Short informational presentations on housing, child care, the Head Start program and state finances will follow. Ronningen said the presentations will take up about the first 30-40 minutes of the forum, which will be followed by a panel discussion.

He said state legislative candidates in the Bismarck-Mandan area have been invited to participate in the panel discussion. So far, Rep. George Keiser, R-Bismarck, and Rep. RaeAnn Kelsch, R-Mandan, are scheduled to participate. Ronningen said other legislators and candidates have shown interest in participating.

Additional forums are scheduled in Minot, Dickinson, Grand Forks, Fargo and Williston. For a complete schedule and more information, visit

Reach Nick Smith at 250-8255 or 223-8482 or at