With a city the size of Bismarck, home to almost 73,000 people, it’s rare for one of the city’s districts to have territories in multiple cities. This is the case in North Dakota’s District 7.
District 7 wraps around the east side of Bismarck, back down to the river on the west side. But it also includes the majority of Lincoln, a city with under 4,000 people.
There are three candidates asking for your vote in November. They all say they understand the unique challenge of representing District 7.
Jason Dockter was born and raised in Bismarck. He only left to go to college in Grand Forks.
The Republican incumbent says, “I’m a small business owner, I have three children.”
He’s been a Republican Representative since 2012. He wants more incentives for families if they relocate to North Dakota.
Dockter explains, “If someone is an engineer or some profession, they come in to get reciprocity, so if their spouse has a job in North Dakota, we want to make it easy for their family to move here and live.”
Dockter is running alongside Republican incumbent Rick Becker. Becker is a plastic surgeon, originally from Mandan, North Dakota. He tells KX News if elected, his pet project will be civil asset forfeiture reform.
Becker adds, “If you had any of your property taken by law enforcement because you were suspected of a crime, that if you are not convicted of a crime (if you’re innocent), you actually get your property back. Most people in North Dakota think that’s the way it already is, and certainly the way it should be, but in fact it’s not.”
You won’t see signs advertising for Democratic candidate Paul Wilkins. His entire campaign consists of going from door-to-door. He says this is crucial in a district growing so rapidly.
Wilkins says, “I have this calling to be of service to something bigger than myself.”
Wilkins grew up in rural Virginia. He moved here for work 18 years ago. He says he’s whittled his focus down to one major issue.
He explains, “We have a serious issue in North Dakota with the way we’re spending taxpayer money, and the way we’re taking care of our budget and state employees. We went from being one of a handful of states in this country who was working with a surplus budget when everyone else was experiencing an economic downturn; we’re now in a position where we are cutting state agencies drastically.”
To give you a bit more background on the candidates:
Wilkins ran for the House of Representatives once before, in 2006.
Becker took the opportunity to run for office when District 7 was zoned following the 2010 census.
Dockter says he was always destined to be a public servant, as he learned from his parents.