Senators

Sen. Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, left, Sen. Gary Lee, R-Casselton, center, and Sen. Joan Heckaman, D-New Rockford, listen in 2015 to information regarding a compromise on the Retirement and Investment Office and Public Employees Retirement System budget at the state Capitol.

The Democratic-NPL Party’s second-ranking member in the North Dakota Senate on Wednesday will be announcing her candidacy for the party’s endorsement for lieutenant governor.

New Rockford state Sen. Joan Heckaman will announce her candidacy at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday at the Grand Forks Public Library.

“I’m pleased to be seeking the endorsement at the convention next week in Bismarck,” Heckaman said in a phone interview.

Heckaman was first elected in District 23 in 2006, winning re-election in 2010 and 2014. District 23 is located in Eddy, Benson, Nelson, Griggs and Steele counties.

She served on the Senate Appropriations Committee during the 2015 session.

During the current interim, she’s also a member of five committees: Budget Section, the Education Committee, Health Services Committee, Legislative Procedure and Arrangements Committee and the Tribal and State Relations Committee.

Heckaman is a retired teacher, having earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Valley City State University and a master’s degree in special education from Minot State University. She’s married and has four children and 10 grandchildren.

She’s the second statewide candidate for the Democrats to announce. Rolla state Rep. Marvin Nelson announced last week he’s running for governor.

Heckaman said she agreed with the priorities Nelson outlined in his announcements last week in Bismarck and Fargo. Those priorities include managing the state through its current budget shortfall and working to ensure all residents’ needs are met by the state.

“Bring North Dakota back to all North Dakotans,” Heckaman said of Nelson’s message.

North Dakota has its first open governor’s race in 16 years after Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple announced last summer he wouldn’t be running for another term.

The Republicans have held the governor’s office since 1992.

The Dem-NPL is holding its state party convention March 31 through April 2 in the exhibition hall area of the Bismarck Event Center.

(Reach Nick Smith at 701-250-8255 or 701-223-8482 or at

nick.smith@bismarcktribune.com.)

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