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Griffin to run for District 19 re-election

Rep. Chris Griffin, D-Larimore, announced Thursday he will run for re-election to represent District 19 in the North Dakota House of Representatives.

Rep. Chris Griffin, D-Larimore, announced Thursday he will run for re-election to represent District 19 in the North Dakota House of Representatives.

He's in his first term and served in the 2007 and 2009 Legislative sessions.

During his term, Griffin worked to help Northwood recover from a 2007 tornado. That included reaching a compromise between an insurance company and the city's school on how much it should be reimbursed and also securing more state funding for the city.

"It wasn't as much as we hoped, but it was help nonetheless," he said.

Griffin graduated from the UND Law School in 2006 and is now an assistant state's attorney for Grand Forks County. He serves as a board member for Valley Community Health Centers and the Grand Forks Rotary Club.


North Dakota Democratic-NPL members of District 19 will endorse candidates at their convention Saturday.

Oil boom

Griffin said reducing property taxes was a major issue for the Legislature over the past four years. Lawmakers had a plan to decrease taxes in 2007 but came up with "more of a permanent plan" in 2009.

The latest effort was connected with the state's commitment to fund 70 percent of public education costs, an important factor in how much residents pay in property taxes.

"We had reached the 70 percent funding level I believe back in the '80s during the first oil boom," he said. "We slowly dropped down quite a bit, but finally this last session, we were able to reach that goal again."

The extra funding meant big savings for local residents -- as much as $500 for a house valued at $150,000, Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown said Wednesday. But Griffin said the Legislature is staying cautious and doesn't want to cause budget problems.

Oil production has "picked up a lot" over the past year as developers have drilled more efficiently and effectively in the Bakken oil formation, Griffin said, which will help lawmakers continue to fund the property tax reduction.

Still, he said the state needs to "invest wisely" in areas that will help future growth but not overextend the budget. Griffin said there should be investments in energy infrastructure in the near future.


"The state's currently losing quite a bit of revenue because we're having trouble getting oil of out of the state," he said. "We need to focus on getting more pipelines built."

North Dakota also needs more power transmission lines, Griffin said, because the state is reaching the "max" of wind energy development unless more lines are built.

More locally, Griffin wants to promote the Grand Forks area as an unmanned aerial systems center. "I think that's something that could be very positive for our local economy in the long term."

Johnson reports on local politics. Reach him at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 105; or send e-mail to rjohnson@gfherald.com .

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