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Bismarck state lawmaker won't seek reelection, cites 'divisive, toxic times'

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After announcing she won't run for reelection, Sen. Nicole Poolman, R-Bismarck, is embraced by Sen. Scott Meyer, R-Grand Forks, as Sen. Kristin Roers, R-Fargo, front, dabs the tears from her eyes on the Senate floor at the state Capitol in Bismarck on Thursday. Poolman was elected to the Senate in 2012.

A longtime North Dakota lawmaker from a Bismarck-area district won't seek reelection next year, citing both personal reasons and a growing erosion of civility in politics.

Sen. Nicole Poolman, R-Bismarck, told the Senate on Thursday she won't run for another term in 2022 so that she can spend more time with her family and her students as an English teacher at Century High School.

She won her District 7 Senate seat in 2012, and won reelection in 2014 and 2018. Most recently, she has served on the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Legislature's Redistricting Committee.

"I decided it's time for me to move on. When I finish out my term next year, I will have served a decade in these hallowed halls, and it is important to me to thank the people of District 7 for instilling their trust in me over the last decade," Poolman said.

But she also cited politically "divisive times, toxic times."

"When I ran 10 years ago, it was because I saw civility diminishing in our national conversations, and I didn't want that to happen here in North Dakota," she said. "I hope I have contributed to the atmosphere of respect and decorum in my time here, but I do feel civility and respect slipping even here in North Dakota, some days even in the Legislature."

Sen. Nicole Poolman, R-Bismarck, says she won't seek reelection in 2022.

The Senate gave Poolman a standing ovation. Sen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, the longest-serving senator, commended her "for gracing this body for a number of years."

Reach Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or jack.dura@bismarcktribune.com.

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