Kylie Oversen: “North Dakota Republicans kicked the can down the road, making empty promises to ‘do something’ in January.”

 

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Kylie Oversen represents District 42, in Grand Forks, in the North Dakota State House of Representatives. She is also Chairwoman , Democratic-NPL Party.

Kylie has served in the North Dakota House of Representatives since 2012. When elected, she was one of the youngest female legislators in the nation. During the 2015 legislative session, Kylie served on the Human Services and Political Subdivisions committees. During the 2015-16 interim, she is serving on the Higher Education Funding and Human Services Committees.

In 2013, Governor Dalrymple also appointed Kylie to the state’s Olmstead Commission. The Olmstead Commission is tasked with ensuring that adequate home and community based services are available for all individuals in the state with disabilities of any kind.

13615440_1144792118914652_1682798336134178223_nFinally, Kylie is proud proud to have founded the Democratic-NPL Women’s Caucus. The caucus was founded with a mission of recruiting and supporting competent and talented female candidates for the North Dakota legislature.

Kylie was born and raised in Killdeer, North Dakota. She received two bachelor’s degrees, in Social Sciences and Social Work, from the University of North Dakota. She also recently graduated the University of North Dakota School of Law.

Before serving in the legislature, Kylie served as the Student Body President at UND, where she represented more than 14,000 students at the campus, community, and state level. She was an especially strong advocate for underrepresented and disadvantaged student populations.kylie-oversen

Before beginning law school, Kylie interned with the PLUS Program in Grand Forks, serving children and families in Grand Forks County. She also worked with the UND Alumni Association and Foundation as a special projects coordinator, overseeing sustainability projects within the new Gorecki Alumni Center.

Kylie is also involved with Christus Rex Lutheran Campus Center at UND, is a member of the Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals, and is on the Board of Directors for Red River Valley Habitat for Humanity, the Area Health Education Coalition, and the community advisory board of the UND Masters of Public Health Program.

Kylie warmly accepted our invitation to interview and we’re happy to share with you what she had to say in our interview below:

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Iron Eyes:  How did you become involved in the political process in North Dakota?

Kylie:  I decided to run for the State Legislature after being involved in Student Government at UND. I had really grown into an advocacy role on campus, and was approached by a State Senator who asked if I would be interested in running for office. I initially laughed at such a thought, but after some hard thinking and real conversations with friends and family, I decided it was a good move for me. And, I haven’t looked back since!

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Iron Eyes:  How has this journey changed you and what are your plans for the rest of the election?

Kylie:  My entry into politics has really shifted my trajectory. I have always been passionate about social justice causes, but running for office and dedicating time and energy to public service has given me a concrete outlet to make real change for real people. Between now and election day, I will continue to have conversations with voters in my district (and across the state, via social media) about issues that I see as important to ND. I will knock on doors, make phone calls, visit UND’s campus, and do everything I can to make sure the folks of District 42 continue to have a compassionate and pragmatic voice at the table. In my role as chair, I will continue to spread the message of the Dem-NPL and to help as many candidates as I can across the state find ways to reach voters in their region.

Iron Eyes:  What is your take-away from ND’s  special legislative session earlier this month?

Kylie:  I think the special legislative session was a huge disappointment. We had the opportunity to provide serious help for our state’s most vulnerable populations, including children with special needs, young working families, veterans, and seniors. Instead, North Dakota Republicans kicked the can down the road, making empty promises to “do something” in January. Meanwhile, young people are still dying from drug overdoses, our elderly are losing access to needed home and community based services, and rural hospitals are on the brink of closing their doors.

Iron Eyes:  What are your most important issues going into this election cycle, whats most pressing for you as a ND legislator?

Kylie:  For me, one of the most pressing issues in our state is the crisis that our behavioral and mental health systems are in. So many people don’t have access to critical services or don’t have the appropriate insurance coverage. People are kicked out of treatment before they are ready. Kids have to be sent states away when we don’t have the right options here in ND. There is way too much at stake for the state not to deal with this. Our system truly needs an entire overhaul.

11233576_987966894597176_559922557331929170_oI’m also interested in working to find ways to diversify our economy in meaningful ways that help shield us from the terrible revenue shortfall we saw this year. There have been some great things happening across the state and our policies need to reflect a willingness to embrace and support those initiatives.

My district includes the entire campus of UND, and I recently graduated from UND School of Law. So, I am particularly interested in college affordability and ensuring that all North Dakotans can access and afford our public colleges and universities. There are many answers to the challenge of college affordability, but it starts with providing adequate scholarship and grant opportunities, holding the line on tuition increases, ensuring our schools are fully funded . . . and then taking a long, hard look at why costs have increased so significantly.

Finally, I am very passionate about ensuring that women and families in North Dakota are safe and economically secure. I’ve worked on and will continue to work on policies that address equal pay for equal work, better paid family leave, increased protections for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, and more.

Iron Eyes:  Would you mind briefly sharing something about why you support Iron Eyes for Congress?

Kylie:  I am proud to support Chase Iron Eyes. Chase brings a new perspective to our party and to the state, and he has brought real passion to this campaign. His voice, representing many Native voices, is sorely needed in Congress. Congress and all of Government desperately needs change-makers — people who are willing to shake things up. Chase is one of those people.

Iron Eyes:  Thank you!  And thank you for taking time in answering a few questions for our readers on this site.

To follow Kylie, please stop by and “like” Kylie’s FB page here.

 

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If you have not yet done so yet – please “Like” Iron Eyes for Congress Facebook page to follow his regular posts and his community’s “featured people” interviews.

You can also support Iron Eyes for Congress by making a campaign contribution here.

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