Newly elected North Dakota Sen. JoNell Bakke, D-Grand Forks, said she got her start in politics as a teacher.

"I think that the experience taught me every decision I make in a classroom is a political one," said the former president of the teachers union.

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Bakke, who first served in the state Senate from 2007 to 2010, said she decided to run again in 2018 because she wasn't happy with the decisions being made in Bismarck, specifically with taxation and spending.

"(The 2015 Legislature) cut the oil extraction tax, which cost the state billions of dollars," Bakke said. She argues legislators should restore the tax.

As some legislators talk about tapping the Legacy Fund, Bakke said she is adamantly opposed to taking any of the fund's core dollars.

"I think we need to leave that there so it does what it was intended to do," she said. "We want it to build interest."

She's also against what she calls unnecessary restructuring of the State Board of Higher Education, regarding a proposal from Gov. Doug Burgum to create four boards to oversee the university system.

"I don't understand what problem we're fixing," she said. "Why would we ever want to put these boards in competition with each other? Why do we want to pay for that many boards?"