A Jamestown member of the North Dakota Legislature is planning on moving out of the community.
Rep. Jim Grueneich, R-Jamestown, was first elected to the North Dakota House of Representatives from District 12 in 2016. He and his wife plan to relocate to Ellendale, North Dakota.
"We're still here, we still have a house here," he said, referring to Jamestown. "But we're in the process of planning to move. Sometime in the next six to eight months, we'll be moving."
Grueneich said he intends to complete any interim legislative activity representing District 12 but will run in the Republican primary for the House of Representatives in District 28. Ellendale is in the very southeast corner of District 28 which stretches to rural Burleigh County outside Bismarck in the northwest.
Even-numbered legislative districts are up for election during the 2020 election cycle in North Dakota. Grueneich's term as a District 12 representative will end on Nov. 30. If elected to a seat in the North Dakota Legislature from District 28, his term would begin on Dec. 1
To be placed on the June 9 primary election ballot, Grueneich is required to file a petition of candidacy containing signatures of 1% of residents of the district by April 6. His name could also be placed on the ballot through an endorsement by a political party. North Dakota law requires candidates to be qualified voters in the district where they are seeking office.
Potential candidates for the seat in District 12 will need to follow the same process and meet the same requirements.
District 28 is currently represented by Rep. Mike Brandenburg, R-Edgeley, Rep. Jeffrey Magrum, R-Hazelton, and Sen. Robert Erbele, R-Lehr. Brandenburg and Magrum have announced they are seeking reelection.
"Jim is a good guy," Brandenburg said. "It is up to the people who will represent them."
Grueneich said he and his family have lived in Jamestown about 12 years. He previously owned bars in Ypsilanti and Marion and is a territory manager for Northland Steel and Trim, a roofing and siding manufacturer based in Fullerton, North Dakota. The move is being prompted by employment opportunities for his wife in Ellendale, he said.
The move is also an opportunity for Grueneich and his wife to return to the area where they grew up.
"You don't get a lot of opportunities to go home," he said. "You think about it, you pray about it and then you have to act."
In the meantime, Grueneich will continue duties in the North Dakota Legislature as a member of District 12. He serves as chairman of the interim Taxation Committee which meets later in January and is a member of the interim Legislative Management Committee.
"I'd like to finish my term in District 12," he said. "I make a full commitment to District 12 and then possibly move on to District 28."
Republican leaders in the Jamestown area spoke highly of Grueneich.
"Obviously, I'm sorry to see him go," said Rep. Bernie Satrom, R-Jamestown, and holder of the other District 12 seat in the North Dakota House of Representatives. "Great teammate, he did a great job for District 12."
Sen. Terry Wanzek, R-Jamestown from District 29, called Grueneich one of the "up and comers" in the North Dakota Legislature.
"I hate to see him go," he said. "He was highly respected."
Neither Wanzek or Satrom would speculate on who would run for the open District 12 House seat.
"No idea who may run," Satrom said. "I have had people asking about the process so that is encouraging."
Grueneich said he and his wife are looking forward to the opportunity to move home.
"For me, I look back at representing District 12 and it has been a great experience and quite an honor," he said. "But I will truly miss Jamestown."