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North Dakota lawmaker Shannon Roers Jones running for Fargo mayor

The Republican has been elected to the state Legislature twice from a south Fargo district along with her father, Jim Roers, who serves in the state Senate. Roers Jones said her priorities are supporting law enforcement, holding the line on taxes and treating taxpayers like customers.

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Rep. Shannon Roers Jones, R-Fargo, presents a bill to the House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 16, 2021.
Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service
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FARGO — North Dakota Rep. Shannon Roers Jones announced Tuesday, Jan. 11, she will run for mayor of Fargo this spring.

The Republican has twice been elected to the state Legislature from a south Fargo district along with her father, Jim Roers, who serves in the state Senate.

Roers Jones, 45, works as an attorney and a real estate agent at her father's company .

In a news release announcing her candidacy, Roers Jones said Fargo needs "fresh leadership" to unlock the city's "unlimited potential."

Roers Jones told Forum News Service her business experience would prove valuable in promoting Fargo as a place where entrepreneurs can thrive and workers can find good jobs.

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The lawmaker will face at least one competitor in the June 14 election.

Mayor Tim Mahoney, who assumed office in late 2014, said he will seek reelection after a judge ruled last year that he can pursue another term.

Fargo City Commissioner Arlette Preston said Tuesday she's considering a bid for mayor and will soon make an announcement one way or the other.

An internet search of Preston's name returns a result that reads "Arlette Preston for Fargo Mayor," which feeds into a password-locked website called "arletteforfargo.org." Preston declined to comment on the existence of the website suggesting her candidacy for mayor.

According to the Fargo city auditor's office, no one has officially filed papers to run for the nonpartisan position.

Roers Jones laid out her priorities in the news release, saying she wants to support law enforcement, "hold the line on taxes" and treat taxpayers like customers.

An online "push poll" that circulated last month suggested Roers Jones would run for mayor and promoted her candidacy while disparaging Mahoney. Roers Jones previously declined to comment on the poll when contacted by Forum News Service.

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A question that appeared on a December push poll supporting Shannon Roers Jones' candidacy for mayor of Fargo refers to current Mayor Tim Mahoney as "a reckless spender." A link to the online poll stopped working shortly after a Forum News Service reporter asked Roers Jones for comment. Screenshot

If elected as mayor, Roers Jones could legally continue serving in the Legislature if she so chooses, said Legislative Council Director John Bjornson. Last elected to the House in 2020, she has nearly three years left on her current term.

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In a phone interview Tuesday, Roers Jones said the mayoral race is her primary focus, and she will make decisions about whether to keep her legislative seat at a later date.

Roers Jones has been an active lawmaker, sponsoring 14 bills in the last legislative session — more than the vast majority of her colleagues.

Most of her proposals focused on reforming the criminal justice system, including failed bills that would have made mugshots confidential and decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The Legislature passed several bills Roers Jones sponsored, including those that expanded the state's needle exchange program and set civil penalties on extorting money through the publication of criminal records.

Two years prior, Roers Jones sponsored successful legislation to end the state's shopping blue laws that required businesses to stay closed on Sunday mornings.

Though she has served as a Republican in Bismarck, Roers Jones said she thinks voters will recognize that she's willing to work with people across the political spectrum.

Forum reporter Dave Olson contributed to this report.

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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