DICKINSON — District 39 Conservative Republicans have announced their candidacy; Andrew Kordonowy for State Senate and Thea Lee and Rep. Mike Schatz for State House.
Andrew Kordonowy was raised in rural Billings County, educated in Fryburg, Belfield, Dickinson State University, and the U.S. Army. He served 5 years active duty with 2 wartime tours and is a veteran of both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. After completing his voluntary active military contract, he moved back to Dickinson where he owns and operates Cerberus Security. Kordonowy is active in the community and serves VFW, American Legion, NRA ( Life Member), North Dakota Young Republicans, Belfield Sportsman Club, Watch DOGS (Dads Of Great Students), and LEAS (Law Enforcement Administrative Support).
“We have passed the power of the people onto the government for convenience. It is time to take it back and reinforce the separation of powers,” said Kordonowy. “The federal government needs to stay out of state affairs, and the state needs to stay out of county affairs.” Kordonowy also emphasizes that, "Parents have the right to raise their children how they wish – including the right to make medical, educational and religious decisions. The government does not raise children – families do.”
Thea Lee was born and raised in Nebraska. In 2008, Lee and her family moved to North Dakota when her husband, Mark, accepted a position managing an oil field supply store. Lee has spent the last 19 years managing the family’s ranch and home schooling their children. The Lees were a licensed foster home for nine years and adopted their two youngest children. In addition to foster care, Lee spent time working as a Lay Guardian Ad Litem, a court appointed advocate for children, for the juvenile court system.
“It is time we fight for integrity, truth, and common sense,” said Lee. “Gun rights rest with the citizens. All people should have the ability to protect themselves if they desire. Truth is sacred and common sense is vital. The innocence of our children must be protected. Teaching theories and beliefs that cause our children to be confused about how they view themselves and the world must stop. For District 39’s vibrant communities, I will bring my lifelong experience in agriculture, human services, education, and family to Bismarck.”
Mike Schatz is currently a State Representative from District 36, but after the 2021 legislative redistricting process, he is seeking re-election to the State House in the new District 39. He has served in the House since 2008 and also served one term in 1988. This year, Schatz was awarded a 93% rating for excellence from the American Conservative Union. He serves on the House Appropriations Committee - Education and Environment Division.
Schatz taught social studies for 26 years. He was the head football coach for the New England Tigers, leading them to 4 state championships. He's also worked as both an oilfield trucker and grain hauler. Schatz is retired and lives in New England, where he has raised his family with his wife, Patti. He is also a former farmer and rancher and served as the Executive Director of the North Dakota Republican Party.
“The general fund was overspent by $1.3 billion more than all taxes and fee revenues every biennium during the oil boom, screams that we are spending too much,” said Schatz. “It takes strong leadership done by people who don’t have conflicts of interest or prejudices as to why roll backs are made. Government serving the most people doing the most good is most important.” Asked why the team is running together, Schatz answered, “We are giving conservative Republican primary voters a choice on June 14th. It’s either status quo, or support a ticket with conservative values, and most importantly, a proven track record. We’re giving voters who want to see Republicans govern like Republicans, a real choice.”
“Laws should be simple and specific to our needs, not stacked with pork to hide benefits to special interests,” added Kordonowy. “State agencies have become too powerful because weak legislators prefer to have the “experts” tell us how to run our lives.” Thea Lee agreed, adding, “Agency employees are intended to be public servants, not public masters. We need to rein them in! The executive branch should be prohibited from introducing legislation and taxpayer-funded lobbying should be banned.”
District 39 is the newly-formed district from the legislative redistricting process, which took place after completion of the 2020 U.S. Census. It includes Billings, Golden Valley, Stark, Slope, Bowman, and Adams counties.