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Politics & Government

From lawmaker to lobbyist

For 22 years, Rae Ann Kelsch of Mandan was a member of the North Dakota House of Representatives.

Kelsch spent a number of sessions chairing the House Education Committee. She lost her district Republican party’s nomination for her House seat last year. But she’s back at the Capitol – as a lobbyist.

"I did lobby, not in North Dakota, when I was working for the telecommunications companies," said Kelsch. "I certainly understand what it means to lobby. And this is the first time I'm doing so in North Dakota. And it's been fun."

Kelsch was hired to lobby for Red River upstream interests who oppose the Red River diversion plan. She says she’s been received very well.

"People are willing to talk with me and visit with me," said Kelsch. "But it's different being on this side."

Kelsch says one thing she misses about being a legislator is getting the inside scoop. And she misses the process.

"I miss the relationships and the friendships," said Kelsch. "I miss the process because I loved making policy. It was something I thought I was very good at. There are certain aspects I won't miss, but I do miss my friends. But the good thing is -- I can still see those friends."

Kelsch says she has started a consulting firm – and she has a number of clients in a number of industries.

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