JAMESTOWN, N.D.-Tiffany Abentroth of Cummings, N.D., has never been elected to a local or state government office.
Now she wants to be the North Dakota Republican Party's nominee for the state's lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Abentroth said Monday, Feb. 19, her experience in the U.S. Marine Corps and working as an intelligence analyst for a government contracting firm will give her an advantage on bridging divergent sides together. She is currently working as a government contractor and is in the Marine Corps Reserve.
Abentroth, who was in Jamestown for the District 29 Republican Convention, said she just finished a 20-month tour in Afghanistan as the in-country manager for a biometric intelligence program. She managed all the contractors in Afghanistan that were in the country for the program.
Abentroth said as a Marine veteran and government contractor, she has experience dealing with different political situations and working with different government organizations. She said she decided to run for Congress, as opposed to a local or state government office, because she thinks both Republicans and Democrats have become too entrenched in just looking at their way as the only way.
"I truly believe in having a bipartisan democracy," she said. "If you can't have a sound voice of reason, we are never going to pass anymore legislation."
Abentroth also said she hopes by taking this big step, running for Congress with no prior experience, she may inspire other people like herself to seek office, people who might be more open to taking a bipartisan approach to government.
Abentroth said she thought the Republicans pushed through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act too quickly in November and December. She said of course everyone likes tax cuts, but at the end of the day the deficit needs to be addressed and there must be a balanced budget put in place.
"It is Congress' job to pass a budget and stick to it," she said. "It frustrates everyone when that doesn't happen."
As to the tax cuts possibly adding $1.15 trillion to the country's deficit within 10 years of passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Abentroth said assuming she gets elected she will follow the budget and any deficit closely.
Abentroth said her three main issues are supporting agriculture in North Dakota, education and veterans' issues.
Abentroth said she is a moderate Republican and she is pro-choice on abortion.
"When government steps in and decides what a woman can or can't do to her body," she said, "you're setting a dangerous precedent for other big issues down the line."
Abentroth said while her stance on abortion may impact people voting for her in the primary election, she thinks most people will appreciate her honesty.
Abentroth said she won't change her campaign strategy with incumbent Congressman Kevin Cramer out of the race. Kramer is seeking the Republican nomination to run against incumbent U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat. She said by traveling to the rural areas of North Dakota and talking with local government officials and resident, she is getting to know the issues that are affecting everyone in the state.
"When you think of voter turnout, you can't just hit the major cities in North Dakota and think you will have it," she said. "I believe people will vote for me because I've been out meeting them. They are happy I'm there, sitting down with them and talking with them."