North Dakota’s politicians are offering their condolences to family and friends of Senate Majority Leader Bob Stenehjem, R-Bismarck, after news of his death broke Monday evening.
Stenehjem, 59, who served as majority leader since 2001, was killed Monday afternoon in Alaska when the SUV he was riding in went off the road and overturned. Forum Communications reporter Teri Finneman has an article with more information about his death and legacy in the Capitol.
News of his death prompted an outpouring of statements from North Dakota’s congressional delegation and fellow legislators:
Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D.
“Bob was a good friend and a dear colleague, and I will miss him very much. He was also a respected leader who loved North Dakota and serving the people of our state and he was greatly valued by those who were able to work alongside him. Tracy and I are deeply saddened to hear of Bob’s death, and we will keep Bob’s wife Kathy and the entire Stenehjem family in our thoughts and prayers.”
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D.
“Lucy and I are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Bob Stenehjem. He was a dedicated public servant and fought tirelessly for the people of North Dakota. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bob’s wife Kathy, their children, and the entire Stenehjem family during this difficult time.”
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.
“During the 10 years he served as Majority Leader of the North Dakota Senate, and the nearly 20 years he served as a state senator, I counted Bob as a friend, a colleague and a partner in the important work we were doing to build a stronger, more dynamic North Dakota. As a public servant, as a citizen, I know Bob’s deep love of North Dakota informed every decision he made in the Legislature, and his legacy today is a more vibrant and secure state than it was when he was first elected to represent his district in 1993.
“Mikey and I extend our deepest sympathy to Bob’s wife Kathy and the entire Stenehjem family on this tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them, and we pray that they will take comfort in knowing that he served his state and his fellow North Dakotans well.”
State Senate Minority Leader Ryan Taylor, D-Towner
“I was shocked and saddened when I received the call last night from Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem informing me of the tragic car accident in Alaska that took the life of his brother, Majority Leader Sen. Bob Stenehjem, my counterpart and colleague in the North Dakota Senate.
“I extend my deepest condolences to the entire Stenehjem family, especially Bob’s wife, Kathy, and pray for healing in their time of loss.
“I appreciated Bob’s service to the state of North Dakota and enjoyed the working relationship we had as Senate leaders. He was a man of his word and he worked very hard for his caucus and the entire Legislature in his job as majority leader. His passing will leave a great void in the halls of the Capitol.
“We could put our differences aside and find the common threads that hold us together as North Dakotans working towards a better future. We could visit about making hay, or hunting and fishing, or he could laugh and tease my kids when they’d visit me in the Senate. Because of the kind of person he was, we could cultivate a relationship that reached beyond the aisle separating our two parties in the Senate chamber.
“He’ll be missed by the many of us who knew him and had the pleasure of working with him in Bismarck.”