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State Rep. Kreun opts for higher ed board over Legislature

Curt Kreun

A Grand Forks state legislator won’t seek re-election this fall after moving out of his district.

Instead, Curt Kreun is seeking a post on the State Board of Higher Education.

Kreun, a Republican who represents District 43 in the state House, saidMonday he has applied for a spot on the eight-member body that oversees the state’s public universities.

He said he wasn’t sure if he would be allowed to hold both positions at the same time, but would abide by whatever state law requires.

If he had to step down from his seat in the Legislature, his term is nearly over, he said. “We aren’t going to leave District 43 in a lurch other than a few months, if that’s in fact what happens.”

That district, which includes a large portion of southwest Grand Forks, is also represented by Rep. Lois Delmore, a Democrat who has already announced that she’s seeking re-election. Republican Sen. Lonnie Laffen hasn’t formally announced his plans.

More to give

Kreun had moved out of his district sometime after first winning election to the Legislature in 2010. Legislators must live in the district they represent when elected, but are allowed to serve from outside of the district afterward.

“Moving three-quarters of a mile can make a big difference,” Kreun said.

He cited his 16 years on the East Grand Forks School Board as one reason he decided to seek the post. He also served for 12 years on the Grand Forks City Council, and has a Bachelor of Science degree in education, according to his biography on the Legislature’s website. 

“I feel I’ve had pretty good background all the way around,” he said.

Kreun sits on the Government Services, Water Topics and Workers Compensation Review committees during the interim legislative session. During the regular session, he was a member of the Industry, Business and Labor Committee, as well as the Transportation Committee.

 “I feel I have something to give yet for another few years, and I’d like to do that,” Kreun said.

He said he also wasn’t overly concerned about a potential change in higher education governance structure. Voters will decide this year whether to replace the State Board of Higher Education with a three-person commission.

“We’ll deal with whatever the state, the voters want to do,” Kreun said.


On June 30, the terms for two higher education board members, President Kirsten Diederich and Grand Forks resident Duaine Espegard, will end.

By the Monday application deadline, six people had applied for seats, including Diederich.

The other applicants were Ben Vig, a former Democratic state representative from Sharon and the only other applicant from northeast North Dakota; Kevin Melicher, a Fargo optometrist; Michael Ness, the Hazen school superintendent; and Rod St. Aubyn, a former Grand Forks Republican senator and former Blue Cross Blue Shield lobbyist now living in West Fargo, according to the Department of Public Instruction.

A committee will submit a list of nominees to Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who will appoint members to the State Board of Higher Education.

Their terms will begin July 1, said North Dakota Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle, who is a member of the nominating committee. That will be half a year before Kreun’s term in the Legislature is scheduled to end.

The Senate will confirm members in January when the Legislature reconvenes for the regular session, VandeWelle said.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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