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Cara Mund shares political views as independent House campaign kicks off

Mund, a former Miss America titleholder and recent Harvard Law School graduate, spoke to Forum News Service about her views on today's most pressing political issues as she hopes to make the ballot as an independent for U.S. House of Representatives

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Cara Mund, who recently announced her bid for U.S. House of Representatives, speaks to supporter W. Daniel Schreck while gathering signatures in Bismarck on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022.
Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service
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BISMARCK — Cara Mund, who announced her bid for U.S. House of Representatives over the weekend, said she's running for public office to give North Dakotans an independent voice in Washington and to put the public's interests over partisan divisions.

Mund, a former Miss America titleholder and recent Harvard Law School graduate, spoke to Forum News Service about her political views at Jaycee Centennial Park in Bismarck on Monday, Aug. 8, while gathering signatures from supporters.

The 28-year-old needs to turn in 1,000 petitions signed by North Dakota residents to Secretary of State Al Jaeger by Sept. 6 to make the November ballot as an independent candidate.

If Mund passes the signature threshold, she would face incumbent Republican Rep. Kelly Armstrong and Democrat Mark Haugen in the general election. The seat has been held by Republicans since 2011, and Armstrong won reelection by a landslide margin in 2020.

Mund criticized Armstrong's tenure in Washington, saying his voting record, especially on veterans and health care issues, has put "party over people" and failed to adequately represent the needs of North Dakotans.

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Mund on the issues

Partisanship: Mund rejects partisan affiliations, saying representatives in Congress should be concerned with serving the public, not their parties. Elected Republicans and Democrats in Washington have not been able to put their parties aside to act in the public's best interests, she said.

"I'm not a party — I'm a person... While there are stances I agree on with the Republicans, there are stances I agree on with the Democrats, I don't want a party to tell me how I have to vote or what's best for our people," Mund said.

Taxes and federal spending: Mund said she's a proponent of responsibly reducing taxes as much as possible. She added that the federal government needs to cut back on needless spending.

"I want to see the money people are making go home to their paychecks and not go to the federal government," she said.

Health insurance and drug prices: Mund said prescription drugs and health insurance should be more affordable. She opposes pharmaceutical companies that have charged premiums for insulin and EpiPens.

"You shouldn't have to decide between putting food on the table or having your prescription medications," she said.

Veterans: Mund said the U.S. government needs to do a better job of looking after its military veterans.

"I strongly believe that we live in this country of freedom, and freedom is not free. If we're willing to send (soldiers) off to war, we need to take care of them when they come back. We're not seeing that. It's these party games that are going on, and it needs to stop," she said.

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Abortion: Mund said the government shouldn't be telling Americans they cannot abort their pregnancies. Most abortions are slated to become illegal in North Dakota later this month following a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows states to ban the procedure.

"I don't think the government should be in your bedroom. I don't think the government should be in your doctor's appointments. It's your right to privacy, and as the first woman running for this position, I recognize the importance of that and the importance of having a woman's voice heard... It's an individual's choice," Mund said.

Gun rights and restrictions: Mund said the government should strike a balance between allowing responsible citizens to own guns and preventing gun violence.

"In North Dakota, obviously our Second Amendment rights are so huge. Hunting is a major pastime here. I do think we need responsible gun ownership... I don't think parents should be fearful sending their kids to kindergarten whether or not they're going to come home... Responsible gun ownership but also upholding our Second Amendment rights is ideally what I'd be advocating for."

An 'uphill battle'

As an independent candidate entering the race in August, Mund understands she faces an "uphill battle," but she's confident she can get on the ballot and compete in the election.

The former pageant winner rejected the notion that she's too young or green to run for office, saying she hopes voters recognize the amount of leadership experience she has gained in just the last 15 years.

At 14, Mund started a nonprofit fashion show that ran for 10 years and benefited the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She said the experience built up her business skills and public service mentality.

While studying as an undergraduate at Brown University, Mund led several extracurricular groups, which she said honed her leadership qualities.

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As Miss North Dakota, and later Miss America, Mund said she learned how to represent her home state in hundreds of public appearances.

At Harvard Law School, Mund worked more than 1,000 hours pro bono and won an award for "her commitment to justice, her advocacy, compassion for her clients, and stellar representation of each of those clients."

If elected, Mund would be the first woman to occupy the state's lone seat in the U.S. House.

"I want women in our state, especially after the (Supreme Court's) Dobbs decision, to know that they have an avenue to be heard," she said.

Mund said she hopes to start raising campaign funds and traveling around the state to meet voters.

She noted there can be different ways to define a successful campaign. Winning is certainly the goal, but it's also valuable to hold leaders accountable for their voting record, she said.

Jeremy Turley is a Bismarck-based reporter for Forum News Service, which provides news coverage to publications owned by Forum Communications Company.
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