This week, Victory’s Nancy Leeds chatted with North Dakota’s Kyle Thorson, who is currently running for State House, as part of our “10 Questions” series.
How did Victory’s Candidate and Campaign Training prepare you to run?
It was huge. When I attended the training I wasn’t sure whether I was going to run yet, but I was sponsored by [former Victory endorsee and State Legislator] Josh Bochee. He said, “Go. Just try it. See what they have to say.” He knew I would wind up convinced. The training is hard work but it does such a good job of helping you understand what it would feel like to run for office, especially the simulations and the homework. I left feeling like I had the tools to run a strong campaign.
How has Victory helped you in your campaign for North Dakota State House?
Victory has helped me raise a good chunk of my budget through their network, which of course is huge, but the biggest thing has been the technical support. It’s very reassuring to know there’s an expert who I can call if I’m feeling frustrated or have a question, who will give me a no bones about it answer, even if it’s not what I want to hear.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Ice cream. Specifically Ben and Jerry’s “Everything But The…”
What’s the most important issue facing North Dakota right now?
Affordable housing. There’s been a big oil boom in the western part of the state that’s caused housing prices to rise to unprecedented levels. Service industry professionals, teachers, and policemen can’t keep up with rent in those communities. Even here in Grand Forks senior citizens and young professionals are having a hard time making ends meet. There are a number of different ways to address this issue, but it should definitely be a priority for the next legislature.
What has surprised you most about running for office?
Learning about the different issues that affect people’s lives. There’s this idea that once you’re running for office you suddenly have to have an opinion on everything and of course nothing happens overnight to make that true. I’ve loved getting to hear so many people who are so passionate on so many different subjects and thinking about ways to work with them to make our state better.
Who do you look up to?
Dr. Laurie Betting is the Associate Vice President for Health and Wellness at UND. I worked with her on their financial wellness program, which teaches students to better manage their money before and after graduating from school. She really believes in developing leaders and investing in people. She gave me so many great opportunities to develop professionally and that’s something I aspire to do with others.
What experiences have you had that have helped you develop your point of view as a leader?
I spent a year in Mexico as part of a partnership between the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the National Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity. I was working with families and victims of the drug war there. It was very humbling to be part of that community and advocate for their needs. It helped me see myself not just as an American but as a global citizen and made me think about the human side of our national policies. It was life changing.
What’s your favorite thing about North Dakota?
We’re a small state but we get things done! UND is on the cutting edge of research from philosophy to space exploration. And because we’re so small, we’re all about relationships. If you have a neighbor from North Dakota, they’re always willing to help!
What advice would you give to someone thinking of running for office?
Make sure you personal financial situation is order. Running for office can be a full-time job so you’ll need a flexible work schedule and/or great support system!
What are you going to do on your first day off after the election?
After calling to thank everyone? Hole up and watch Netflix.
Have a suggestion for who we should chat with next? Email [email protected].