Gov. Jack Dalrymple announced the appointment of Julie Fedorchak, a long-time communications and policy official, to the North Dakota Public Service Commission.

Dalrymple made the announcement Friday afternoon inside the governor’s conference room at the state Capitol.

“Julie has 20 years of experience in the public and private sector,” Dalrymple said. “I think she has the character and the qualities that are needed ... (she’s) a person we know is going to be a very effective Public Service Commissioner.”

Fedorchak will serve the remaining two years of current PSC member Kevin Cramer’s term. Cramer was elected to the U.S. House and is stepping down at the end of December.

Fedorchak has served as state director for Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., since December 2011. She was his deputy state director prior to that.

Dalrymple said Fedorchak stood out among several candidates that stepped forward to express interest in the PSC vacancy. He said there were a number of state legislators among those interested. He declined to name who had put their names in for the appointment.

Dalrymple said being on the PSC isn’t just about the large utilities it regulates, but “it’s about the public and it’s about the consumer who has to pay the bills every month.”

Fedorchak, with her family and a number of relatives filling the room, said she was pleased to receive Dalrymple’s vote of confidence with the appointment.

“It’s a big honor to be chosen from a field of really strong candidates,” Fedorchak said. “This is an exciting time to be involved in just about anything in this state right now. I’m really honored to be part of this.”

She said she’d briefly considered the position when commissioner Tony Clark left earlier this year for an appointment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Fedorchak said she first put her name into Dalrymple for the appointment in late October.

Fedorchak said she believes her past experience in media and in helping craft energy policy has prepared her for the PSC role. She spent 10 years as president of Liffrig Communications. One of the largest projects she was involved in was helping write the first two comprehensive energy plans as part of the Empower North Dakota initiative. She also served as communications director and senior policy adviser for former Republican Gov. Ed Schafer.

“I have a pretty solid understanding of the energy sector, which is a pretty big part of the Public Service Commission,” Fedorchak said.

She acknowledged that she has a good deal of work to do getting up to speed on the PSC’s duties. Fedorchak noted that the board not only regulates utilities, pipelines and transmission lines, but it also addresses grain elevators and auctioneers.

“I will work diligently to be a fair, thoughtful, well-informed Public Service Commissioner,” Fedorchak said.

Fedorchak said she intends on running for election in 2014 for a full six-year term.

Reach Nick Smith at 250-8255 or 223-8482 or at nick.smith@bismarcktribune.com.