A state lawmaker from Grand Forks has resigned his spot in the Legislature and will be moving to Minnesota.
Jake Blum, a Republican who represents District 42, made the announcement on Friday, Oct. 4.
“It has been my distinct honor to serve the people of District 42 over these past three years,” he said. “I am incredibly grateful to have had the support of so many passionate and civically involved citizens during my tenure. District 42 will always have a special place in my heart as one of the most vibrant and rapidly advancing areas in the entire state.”
Blum’s spot in the House will be filled by Republicans in District 42, led by Sadie Hanson, the district chairwoman. The replacement won’t technically serve in the Legislature without winning a future election, since North Dakota’s biennial format means lawmakers won’t meet in full session again until 2021.
The replacement will, however, fill Blum’s committee assignments in the interim. The next election for District 42 will be November 2020.
"We need someone to step in and make sure District 42 is represented the way Jake represented it the past three years," Hanson said. "We want to do it sooner rather than later."
Blum won election to the seat in 2016, earning the most votes in a four-person race for two spots in the House. Blum received 2,029 votes, edging fellow Republican Emily O’Brien and topping the two Democrats in the race – Kylie Oversen, an incumbent, and Grant Hauschild. Blum participated in two full sessions, in 2017 and 2019.
District 42 encompasses an area within Grand Forks between Gateway Drive on the north, DeMers Avenue on the South, 55th Street on the west and roughly 20th and 16th streets on the east.
Blum attended UND and was an intern for Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., when Cramer was a member of the U.S. House. Blum also worked on Cramer's campaign as deputy communications director. Blum said time spent on workforce development issues and criminal justice reform stand out among his legislative memories. He is a member of the finance/taxation and agriculture committees.
“He’s a young guy with a lot of enthusiasm. He’s very intelligent and he grasps the issues very quickly,” said state Sen. Curt Kreun, who also serves District 42. “I understand why he’s leaving. He’s got a good job and at that age, you have to put your profession ahead of politics and serving the public. I told him he can always come back later, someday.”
Blum’s resignation is effective immediately. He will move to the Twin Cities to work at Synergetic Endeavors, serving as a communications and business development strategist.
Blum, 25, is among a group of young politicians – in their 20s and 30s – from both parties emerging in Grand Forks. Just in District 42, Blum and O’Brien are in their 20s. Hanson, the district party chairwoman, is 18 years old.
Kreun said the combination of young newcomers and experienced veterans makes for a good mix.
“We can relate to just about all the age brackets in our districts,” said Kreun. “They’re good to work with. We’ve done quite well for Grand Forks in the last couple of sessions.”