Elsie Magnus for

ND House of Representatives


Raised in a farm family in North Dakota, I was witness to hardship and hard work

in that harsh rural environment. When our family home burned to the ground,

we lost everything and moved to town where my sister would soon leave

the country school we attended and begin high school. I completed about

two-thirds of third grade, entered fourth grade a month after

term started, and never looked back. We lived on donated venison

and whatever my dad could send from his job living in a truck

service station as night watchman and daytime tire man during

the winter. Summer meant a lot of gardening for the winter’s coffers

and learning young how to do fieldwork. The summer after

11th grade I enrolled at the University of North Dakota in a

special program for high school juniors, nicknamed Nifty Gifties.

I tossed my bedding and a suitcase in the car of a returning

college sophomore and headed to college with her,

sans melancholy parents. No help registering, I stood in line

with college students of all ages to sign up for classes at the

old fieldhouse: six semester hours of German and three of College Algebra.

I was too young to receive Water Safety Instructor certification, so

I only audited that class, for a total of 10 semester hours.

Four days later, my college friend treated me to a hamburger and fries to celebrate my 16th birthday.  Returning to high school, I graduated the following spring and immediately returned to UND to complete my bachelor’s degree in composite music. My first teaching contract was signed two months before my 20th birthday and I graduated in August. 

Why do I share my young life with you?  I want you to know I will never demand anything less of myself than excellence.

 I want you to know I have experienced how a poor family lives in North Dakota.  My parents lost two children, one born with a physical disability who died at three weeks, one during Mom’s second trimester.  A younger sibling was diagnosed with Down Syndrome about a year after she was born. Not much was known about DS at the time, and there was no appropriate education available in local schools.  Lois was not able to reach her learning and social potential at home; at the age of five she became a resident of Grafton State School until she could live in a group home or apartment.  My parents were humiliated at having to “turn her over to the state” but had it not been for Social Security Disability, Lois would not have had the opportunity to progress. It is absolutely vital that Social Security remain solvent. Not only does it support the disabled, but it is also the safety net for the elderly, many of whom would be destitute and perhaps homeless if unable to care for themselves and had no family support. It was not unusual at the time for prenatal care to be lacking or nonexistent, but medical research has proven that healthy babies can be born to poor women if they have appropriate prenatal care. House Bill 1515 from the 2018-2019 Legislature, which I helped write and promote, has improved support for poor women, but we need to keep our state tax dollars home and support poor women and their unborn babies even more.

I want you to know, that not only must our educational services prepare the youth of North Dakota to become the decision makers of the future, but it must also provide for the full developmental potential for the challenged children in our society.  Democrats are committed to serving the educational needs of our state, not because a lawsuit forced them to support education but because supporting education it is the right thing to do.

I want you to know that Property Tax is a regressive tax against anyone who has acquired property.  As a young farm family, my husband and I struggled with one of our biggest financial obligations, Property Tax.  Because of penny-pinching, refusal to take on any more debt and nose-to-the grindstone perseverance, we climbed out of that hole and as of January 2020 we own our tiny farm.  However, we are on a fixed income and our property taxes are rising every year with the state falsely telling us their takeover of county programs will ease the burden. The state must take stock of its spending patterns and meet its responsibility in supporting issues important to North Dakota and District 10: State Aid for Students K-12,  State Highway Distribution Fund which goes into county highway and bridge funds as well as for the townships, State Aid Distribution Fund which goes into the county general fund, Social Services including all the unfunded mandates..  Increasing funding to local needs would decrease our Property Tax responsibilities. With the drop in revenues due partially to coronavirus, the lack of forward thinking has resulted in devastating cuts to local community amenities across the state.

I want you to know that nearly half of our constituents are either at the age of Medicare eligibility, or will be within the next decade. I am concerned that local medical and care facilities will no longer remain solvent and our seniors will be forced to leave the district for medical or long-term care.  The state sets the amount of reimbursement for Medicare and Medicaid to meet the difference between actual costs and what insurance and federal government allows. As the federal government reduces revenues going into Medicare and payments going out to rural healthcare, the state needs to be prepared to pick up the slack to keep rural healthcare facilities open.

I want you to know that if elected

  • I will go to meetings and the floor informed and ready to make wise decisions.

  • I have sound thinking and reasoning skills and although willing to listen, will never be told HOW TO VOTE.

  • I will support state-funded preschool so that it is indeed available to all children, not just those who can afford it.

  • I will strive for the best for my constituents every day with the same zeal I have exhibited in the public service positions I have held and the life I have led.