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'People made their choices'

Local government and political officials were all surprised by the election of Republican nominee Donald Trump as United States president. Those same officials all expressed a need for the country to come together and move forward from what has b...

Local government and political officials were all surprised by the election of Republican nominee Donald Trump as United States president.

Those same officials all expressed a need for the country to come together and move forward from what has been a divisive election.

"People made their choices and you have to respect the decisions they made," said Scott Sandness, a Jamestown attorney and District 12 chairman for the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party.

The unofficial Electoral College vote total has Trump with 279 votes to 228 for Democrat Hillary Clinton, according to the Associated Press. Clinton won the popular vote with 59.7 million to 59.6 million for Trump.

Sandness said he didn't doubt the validity of the election, but there are concerns from the Democratic Party about a Trump presidency.

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"He says he will work hard to unite the country, but all politicians say that," he said.

Sandness said people should keep in mind there are elections coming up.

"We'll get a chance to vote in two years and have another presidential election in four years," he said.

Delores Rath, the District 12 chair for the North Dakota Republican Party, said she was happy with Trump's win.

"I really wanted him to win," she said. "I think the message is out that people are tired of politicians."

Rath said she thinks Trump's presidency will be successful because he will surround himself with people who are knowledgeable and who get things done.

"I think he will make changes," she said.

Rath said she liked what Clinton said in her concession speech Wednesday morning about encouraging everyone to work together.

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"That is what we have to do," Rath said. "We have got to stick together, we have got to make America America again."

Rath said along with Trump she thinks Doug Burgum, North Dakota's governor-elect, will do a good job and create positive changes in the state. She said a change is needed in North Dakota and across the country, especially the need to involve youth in the political process.

"We have to listen to them (the youth of the country)," she said. "It can't be the way it has been for the last 100 years. We need change."

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said in a statement Wednesday that he hopes "the Trump administration creates an opportunity to achieve the kind of change that will move our country forward."

"That means focusing on fundamentals like building a strong business climate to create jobs and grow our economy, balance our budget and support our nation's military and veterans so that Americans are safe at home and abroad," he said.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said in a statement Wednesday that it is time for the country to move forward.

"We must work to unite a country that has been so divided throughout this long election, and that will be President-elect Trump's primary task," she said. "As I said back in May, if Donald Trump is elected president - as he was - there will be an opportunity to sit down and have a conversation about what that agenda looks like. We're going to have disagreements, but we better all figure out how to come up with an agenda for the American people. To actually show North Dakotans and all Americans that Congress and government can work, we have to do our jobs which means putting politics aside to reach results for our families and communities."

Casey Bradley, Stutsman County auditor/chief operating officer, said he thinks Trump's energy policy, which he laid out in a speech in North Dakota in April, resonated with North Dakotans.

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"I think that is something for North Dakota," he said, referring to Trump's April speech. "That continued focus on domestic energy supply, it's a huge market in North Dakota. I think that was on a lot of voters minds."

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