by Bruce Feustel
Senator Bob Stenehjem, the Senate majority leader in North Dakota, died in a traffic accident while on vacation in Alaska yesterday. The news came as a shock to his colleagues and to me, as Bob has always connected with people with his humor, blunt speech and political insights. Bob had been a member of the North Dakota Legislature since 1992 and the Republican majority leader of the Senate since 2001. He also served several years as an officer of NCSL's Legislative Effectiveness Committee.
As a former NCSL liaison to North Dakota, visits in Bismarck with Bob were a highlight. He was genuine, gracious, wickedly funny and a great judge of character. A true citizen legislator--he was also the director of public works for the city of Bismarck--Bob moved effortlessly between the demands of his jobs. Mostly, though, I think of Bob with pride as an example of the good people who lead and serve state legislatures in this country. He made my life and many others better with his decency, leadership and his love for the Legislature.
Photo credit: Associated Press