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Published December 02, 2010, 07:47 PM

Mayville State Sen. Elroy Lindaas Resigns

Mayville state Sen. Elroy Lindaas has resigned his Senate seat a month before the 2011 Legislature is to begin, saying he must stay home to care for his wife, Janice, who is suffering from dementia.

By: Dale Wetzel, Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Mayville state Sen. Elroy Lindaas has resigned his Senate seat a month before the 2011 Legislature is to begin, saying he must stay home to care for his wife, Janice, who is suffering from dementia.

"I'm needed here," the 73-year-old Democrat said Thursday in a telephone interview from his Mayville home. "I can't so much as spend a night away from home anymore, because she needs constant attention."

Lindaas, a retired farmer, served in the Senate for 20 years. His predecessor, Sen. Clark Ewen, D-Mayville, died in office, and Lindaas won a December 1990 special election to succeed him.

Lindaas was immediately assigned to take Ewen's spot on the Senate Appropriations Committee, which shapes the two-year budget for North Dakota state government. It was a rare assignment for a freshman senator, and Lindaas held his Appropriations spot for most of his career, using it in part to look after Mayville State University and education interests in general.

"My view is that education brings the biggest return on the money we invest," Lindaas said. "It's nice to have money in the bank, but at the same time, you get a bigger return by investing it . There is a return on the (education) investment, even if it is far out."

Lindaas represents District 20 in east-central North Dakota, a region that includes Traill County and parts of Cass, Barnes and Steele counties. It includes the communities of Mayville and Hillsboro.

North Dakota law allows the district's Democratic executive committee to pick someone to serve out the two years left on Lindaas' term. The committee's chairwoman, Carol Siegert, said the panel should meet within a few days after it gets a formal notice of Lindaas' resignation.

The Legislature's three-day organizational session begins Monday, and its regular 2011 session convenes Jan. 4. Siegert said it would be difficult to choose Lindaas' successor in time for the start of the organizational session, but said someone should be in place before the 2011 Legislature begins.

"We'll get it done as soon as we can," Siegert said. "We certainly want (Senate) representation out there."

The district has two Democratic House members, Lee Kaldor and Richard Holman, both of Mayville.

North Dakota's legislative Democrats took a pummeling in last month's elections, losing nine Senate seats and 11 House seats. Republicans now have 35 Senate seats to Democrats' 12, and hold a 69-25 advantage in the House.

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