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Remarkable Women: Meet the ladies of the legislature

Local News

Marsha Lembke is queen of the supply room.

“We have an array of folders and filing and calendars,” Lembke said, pointing to shelves of office supplies.

She gets lawmakers the highlighters, binders, pens and pencils needed to write the laws of land.

“This year we try to make deliveries, so I take about an hour in the morning and make a round,” Lembke said.

Marsha Lembke points to the shelves of binders in the supply room at the Capitol.

She’s worn many hats at the Capitol since starting in 1987. From lobbyist to assembly employee, sergeant at arms, information kiosk assistant and now supply room coordinator, Marsha has seen a lot over the years but keeps coming back.

“It’s the people. It’s so exciting to have been a part of North Dakota’s history, the Capitol building itself, but in particular to the lifelong friends that both me and my husband Klaus have made over the last 40 years,” Lembke said.

One of those people is Renae Doan — who has close to four decades under her belt at the Capitol.

“I started in the legislature in 1977. In the house I was a page, I’ve done almost every position, except committee clerk. So I guess I’m the longest — not the oldest– longest running employee up here,” Doan said.

Renae Doan has worked at the Capitol since 1977.

She says she likes her current position as administrative assistant to the Senate Majority leader, best. She’s been doing that since 1993.

“I just enjoy all the different personalities in the legislators on both sides that we work with,” Doan said.

Just down the hall from Doan is where Shanda Morgan works as Secretary of the Senate. She remembers working in the phone room, when they still had it, back in the 90s.

“That was a long time ago, I was in college, and I kind of helped out wherever they needed me and that was running messages to the Senators,” Morgan said.

Morgan took a break at the Capitol for college, but came back not long after, with a new title and eventually a new job.

Shanda Morgan works as the Secretary of the Senate.

“I spoke to both houses as Miss Rodeo North Dakota and then we moved back and I started as the journal reporter for two sessions and then I’ve been the secretary of the senate for three sessions,” Morgan said.

But some at the legislature are just starting their careers, like Sydney Arends, who’s the House Majority Leader assistant.

The recent NDSU grad started in January for her first session.

“Just got to meet a lot of people and have a lot of really cool opportunities that kind of led me to think this is something that would be a good next step,” Arends said.

She’s not sure what’s next, but sees a future in politics.

Sydney Arends works in the House Majority Leader’s office.

“I think my next move might be working on a campaign or something like that for the 2022 campaign cycle and see where we’ll go from there,” Arends said.

While the ladies of the legislature keep business running smoothly day to day, Marsha did point out that the work they do wouldn’t be possible without help of their male colleagues, too.

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