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Sen. Lonnie Laffen to seek re-election

State Sen. Lonnie Laffen has announced he will seek re-election for what would be a third term representing District 43.

Laffen, a Republican from Grand Forks, told the Herald Friday he plans to run again, noting "it's a great experience personally, but primarily, you learn as you're there that it's a complicated job."

"The first term, I'm not sure you accomplish much," he said. "The second term, you know the system enough to be effective. But with more experience, you can do more to help the state and the community."

Laffen is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and also serves on the Finance/Tax Committee. He is president and CEO of JLG Architects, which is headquartered in Grand Forks and with other offices in the Dakotas and Minnesota. Last month, he received the Henry Havig Award for Community Service at the annual dinner of the Chamber of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.

He told the Herald his strength is with finance and numbers.

"It didn't take me long to find that niche in the Legislature," Laffen said, specifically noting his role on the Finance/Tax Committee. "Everybody likes their committee, but I believe Finance/Tax is really the most important in the Legislature. You have to find that balance between what you take from citizens and what they gain. That's not an easy balance to find and that's the struggle we deal with every day."

Laffen said a highlight of his first two terms is oil tax reform, which was "debated pretty heavily but which has worked out like we thought it would. It has been a billion dollars worth of revenue to the state that we would have lost." He also said he is proud to have served during a time when the Legislature increased the state's share of education funding.

District 43 is generally situated in central and southern Grand Forks, from DeMers Avenue to 32nd Avenue.

The general election will be Nov. 6.