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Jim Jonas to run for North Dakota House seat, second term on West Fargo School Board

Rep. Kim Koppleman has served District 13 for more than 20 years

Jonas Jim
Jim Jonas, is seen Monday, March 14, 2022, at a West Fargo School Board meeting in the Leidal Education Center.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

WEST FARGO — Not long after retiring as a West Fargo High School teacher and coach, Jim Jonas took up a seat on the West Fargo School Board. This year, he hopes to add a second elected position to his resume, as a Republican representative of District 13 in the North Dakota House.

District 13, within West Fargo north of Interstate 94, has been represented at the state level for more than 20 years by Rep. Kim Koppelman and Sen. Judy Lee. Rep. Austen Schauer was elected to the all-Republican team in 2018.

Schauer and Koppelman, who recently served as Speaker of the House, have announced they will seek re-election. Jonas is hoping to win the Republican nomination for Koppelman's seat during the Tuesday, April 5, caucus.

If Jonas does not win the nomination at the caucus, he can still place his name on the June 14 primary ballot by gathering at least 167 signatures, a number Jonas said "would be no problem to get."

Jonas said he decided to seek election to the North Dakota House of Representatives after encouragement from many prominent members in the West Fargo community.

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"They want a change. They want a strong voice for the people of West Fargo," Jonas said. "My love for West Fargo and my passion for the schools and community and the state of North Dakota, I have a deep commitment to the people of North Dakota and the strength of our state."

Jonas currently serves as president of the West Fargo School Board. Although his first term on the board will end in June, Jonas said he plans to seek re-election to the school board as well, with hopes of serving both the school board and the state at the same time.

"As an educator, I reached thousands of kids. Now with being on the board, I reach tens of thousands," Jonas said. "I really enjoy the other board members, the administrative team and the respect we have for each other. I think that goes way back to Patti [Stedman]. Give her credit because she set the foundation for me to take over as president. I'd like to lead for one more term."

Jonas equated the possibility of serving in two elected roles to having two jobs, which he held for many years as a teacher and football and basketball coach at West Fargo High School. He also said having a West Fargo School Board member serving in the Legislature could be beneficial for the West Fargo School District. He plans to advocate for educational issues that effect the district, including additional funding for salaries.

In 2018, Jonas was elected to the school board as the top vote-getter in a field of 14 candidates vying for four open seats. He joined the board after accepting an early retirement package from the district at the end of the 2015-16 school year.

Above all, Jonas said he hopes to represent West Fargo values.

"The divisiveness going on in our politics — not only in North Dakota but in the U.S. —it's tough, but I hope to be a voice of common sense," Jonas said. "What wins at the ballot is pragmatic, thoughtful decisions and I think that is where the majority of North Dakotans are, whether you're a Democrat or Republican. I think most of us just want what is best for the community. I think I can be a very strong advocate for West Fargo."

As the West Fargo editor, Wendy Reuer covers all things West Fargo for The Forum and oversees the production of the weekly Pioneer.
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