Hidden History of North Dakota

Celebrating Women: Susan Wefald

We continue our stories on the leading ladies of North Dakota.
Tonight, we feature Susan Wefald an author, a baker, a girl scout and, the state’s first-ever female public service commissioner.
It was all made possible by answering 4 questions.
Do I believe in what I’m doing? 
Am I doing the best I can?
Am I doing what’s right?
And, am I doing what is fair?

“If I follow those guidelines then I’m doing good for the people of North Dakota,” said Susan Wefald, former Public Service Commissioner.
Susan Wefald isn’t afraid of much.
So, in 1993 when she was approached by then, governor Ed Schaeffer, to be the first woman ever to serve as public service commissioner she said, “Why not”.
“Men for years have had the confidence to jump into those roles and say I can do them. Women need to have that same confidence,” said Wefald
For 16 years, she was the only female voice in the permitting process of the state’s energy industry.
Prior to her PSC years, Wefald had served on boards too numerous to mention. She says that, and her girl scout background is what made her a good fit for the job.
And she says she never looks back.
“I make the very best decision that I can and I move on.   I don’t second guess,” she said.
She retired from the PSC in 2008 and still hasn’t looked back.
She’s authored books from her experience in hiking North Dakota trails.
“I had more fun writing this book,” says Wefald.
And, a book about women in public office, something she’s obviously passionate about.
She says even the ratio of men to women on local boards like school, city, and counties is about 5 to 1.
“Is that the correct proportion of women on our local bodies, I don’t think so. I’d love to see 2, why not all 5 like we’ve seen 5 men on for years,” says Wefald.
And, she said any woman can do it, just ask yourself 4 questions.
“Do you believe in what you’re doing, and I’ doing the best I can, am I doing what’s right and, and I’m doing what’s fair,” said Wefald.
 

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