Gov. Doug Burgum today announced he is appointing Wade Boeshans to the unfilled North Dakota House of Representatives seat in District 8 resulting from the passing of candidate David Andahl less than one month before the general election.
“Our hearts continue to go out to David Andahl’s family and friends. There is no doubt he would have served the state well in the Legislature,” Burgum said. “The people of District 8 are entitled to full representation in the next legislative session, and Wade Boeshans is uniquely qualified to serve their needs.”
Boeshans, 49, has been the president and general manager of BNI Energy since 2013 and has worked for the company since 2005. He is currently chairman of the Lignite Energy Council, President of the Bismarck State College Foundation and has been a leader in advancing critical carbon capture solutions for the state of North Dakota and the lignite industry. He graduated from North Dakota State University in 1995 with a degree in civil engineering. He and his wife, Stacy, live in Washburn and have two children.
“I’m honored and humbled to accept the appointment and will work hard every day to serve the citizens of District 8 and honor David Andahl’s legacy,” Boeshans said. “My strong track record of leadership and deep understanding of the energy, environmental and economic challenges and opportunities currently facing District 8 make me well-prepared to serve. I’ll be a thoughtful legislator who will work tirelessly with my colleagues for our businesses, communities and family-supporting jobs to ensure the success of District 8 and the state of North Dakota.”
The decision to appoint was made after careful review of the North Dakota Constitution, North Dakota Century Code, relevant case law, legislative history and attorney general opinions.
“After extensive research, it became clear that the only legal and constitutionally viable way to fill the District 8 seat is through gubernatorial appointment,” Gov. Burgum said.
Given the following legal findings, a gubernatorial appointment to this unfilled legislative seat is necessary because:
- The Governor has a constitutional obligation to fill the seat by appointment under Article V, Section 8 of the North Dakota Constitution, which states: “The governor may fill a vacancy in any office by appointment if no other method is provided by this constitution or by law.”
- Vacancy statutes in North Dakota Century Code do not apply in this case because David Andahl was not a qualified elector on the day of the election and could not be elected to the seat.
- North Dakota law is also clear that the third-place finisher cannot be elected (moved into second place) by default of a first- or second-place finisher being disqualified.
Boeshans will be sworn in during the Legislature’s organizational session in early December.