Senate Sergeant at Arms
BISMARCK – The Dakotan interviewed a sergeant at arms for the North Dakota State House. Now it’s time to take a look at what it’s like on the Senate side.
Wayne Rogstad of Bismarck, Senate sergeant at arms, said his main job is similar to those on the House side by helping people who want to sit with senators find their seats.
“We set up the chairs for them, make sure anybody who’s there is not wearing jeans on the floor,” said Rogstad. “Other than that we try to keep the peace. When bills get passed we don’t want anybody jumping up and clapping or getting out of line.”
A lobbyist who wants to talk to a senator must ask the sergeant at arms first.
“It applies to everybody that comes in here,” Rogstad added. “Up to an hour until the session starts they’re allowed on the floor.”
Rogstad said the House has a few different rules.
“A lot of people think, oh well it’s all the Capitol,” said Rogstad. “They make up their own rules, and senators make up these rules.”
Rogstad said most of the rules are probably made by the House and Senate leaders who decide amongst themselves.
Rogstad has been working in the Capitol as a sergeant at arms for two years, ever since retirement. Before that he owned a construction business doing directional drilling in the oil patch.
“I was asked if I needed a job,” said Rogstad. “I thought, not really but I can do it. It’s laid back, I like it. It’s inside where it’s heated.”
Rogstad has lived in Chicago and Memphis but moved back to Bismarck where his family lives. He says in his free time he helps his brother farm south of Bismarck and works on cars.
“I’ve got a couple grandkids,” said Rogstad. “I do what I can.”