Christine is a staff attorney for the North Dakota Protection and Advocacy Project (P & A). She is the former Executive Director of the State Bar Association of North Dakota and a Committee Chair of the North Dakota Judicial system. She practiced law in Bismarck for over 25 years, specializing in litigation. She is also a spokesperson for the legal community, and for disability rights.
Steven J. Andrist, a third-generation North Dakota weekly newspaper publisher, was named Executive Director of the North Dakota Newspaper Association in 2013 and was described as “a perfect fit” for the NDNA by then President Kathleen Leinen.
Andrist is the grandson of the late Calvin Andrist and son of the late State Senator John Andrist, both long-time publishers of The Journal at Crosby and both inductees into the NDNA Hall of Fame. Steve Andrist published The Journal for 21 years until selling the newspaper in 2012, completing 91 years of family ownership of the newspaper. Steve Andrist also published the Tioga Tribune which he also sold in 2012.
Andrist is a 1972 graduate of Divide County High School, Crosby, and a 1976 journalism graduate of the University of North Dakota. He began his career as a reporter at the Bismarck Tribune and later held reporting and editing positions at the Winona (Minn.) Daily News and Rochester (Minn.) Post-Bulletin. He took over ownership of the Crosby newspaper in 1991 and served as NDNA President in 2001. He has also served on the National Newspaper Association Board of Directors. While in Crosby, he was active in many community organizations including the Divide County Job Development Authority and Crosby Area Chamber of Commerce.
Steve and his wife, Barbara, former grants manager for the North Dakota Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control Agency, are the parents of three adult sons and have three grandchildren.
Jon O. Nelson is a third-generation farmer who has served in the North Dakota House of Representatives for 24 years. He grew up near Wolford, ND, graduating from Wolford High School. He attended Dakota College at Bottineau and Minot State University and started farming in 1978. He and his wife, Shirley “Sid,” raised their three children near Wolford. He spent 12 years on the Wolford School Board and served 30 years as Rush Lake Township supervisor.
First elected to the ND Legislature in 1996, Nelson has held numerous leadership positions. He currently chairs the Human Resources Section of the House Appropriations Committee and is interim chair of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Review Committee. In 2019, the ND Department of Human Services awarded him the Behavioral Health Champion Award, and he was named a Friend of Anne Carlsen Center for his work with Annie’s House Adaptive Program at Bottineau Winter Park.
A state leader in natural resources management and water issues, Nelson has served on the House Water-Related Topics Interim Committee since 2011 and previously chaired the House Natural Resources Committee. He’s served on the All Seasons Rural Water District board of directors since 2005 and is a former member of the North Dakota Rural Water Association executive board.
For Nelson’s legislative leadership, the American Heart Association awarded him the Saving One Life at a Time Award in 2011 and the American Cancer Society honored him with its Moving the Marble Award in 2009.
Lori Capouch is a development professional who leads rural people through the grassroots development process, empowering them to create the businesses they desire in their communities. She is the rural development director for the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC) where she oversees the Rural Electric and Telecommunications Development Center located in Mandan, North Dakota.
To complement her development work with NDAREC, Lori provides administrative services to the Rural Development Finance Corporation, a nonprofit development corporation with assets of $7.2 million, and the State Board of Agricultural Research and Education. She serves as vice chair on the CooperationWorks board of directors and secretary/treasurer for Dakotas America, LLC’s governing board.
Some of Lori’s recent work include the development of rural childcare cooperatives; building awareness and developing solutions related to rural food access; and the development of small, locally owned rural meat plants.
Lori holds a bachelor of science degree in business management from the University of Mary, Bismarck. She is a certified economic development finance professional by the National Development Council. She was a 2018 Fellow for the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), now known as Common Future.
Joan Heckaman is a ND State Senator (D-District 23) from New Rockford, ND, where she resides with her husband, Dewey. She is a retired teacher and was first elected to the State Senate in 2006 where she currently serves as the Senate Minority Leader.
Joan received a Bachelors degree in education from Valley City State University and a Masters degree in Special Education from Minot State University. She serves on numerous task forces and Interim Committees and is involved in community service organizations and church.
Joan and Dewey have 4 married children and 10 grandchildren. When not busy attending grandchildren’s school and community activities, Joan enjoys quilting and reading.
Her motto is “go forth and do good things!”
Stacey (Tiger) LaCompte is Executive Director of the North Dakota Indian Business Alliance, a joint venture of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission and the North Dakota Department of Commerce, located in Bismarck, ND, commissioned to grow and strengthen Native American entrepreneurship statewide. Stacey also currently serves as Project Manager for the Native American Development Corporation PTAC, and as Project Manager on Native Initiatives for Agency MABU.
Previously, Stacey served as Executive Director of the Wakpa Sica Historical Society, Inc.; Executive Director of the Great Sioux Nations; Acting Director of the He Sapa Repatriations Alliance; Project Coordinator for the Great Plains Economic and Commerce Association; and Co-Founder of the South Dakota Indian Business Alliance, among other positions.
Stacey is a first cohort member of Native Nation Rebuilders selected by the Bush Foundation in 2010. For many years, Stacey has advanced the training and education of emergency medical professionals and has been recognized for her contributions. Stacey is the recipient of several professional and civic awards, including recognitions from the National Indian School Board Association and for work supporting crime victims. Stacey has served on numerous civic boards and committees, including City of Fort Pierre, SD, Board of adjustments and Appeals; Fort Pierre, SD, Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary; Law Enforcement Auxiliary; Fort Pierre American Legion Auxiliary, among others.
Stacey is married to Brian LaCompte, BIA Supervisory Special Agent, Internal Affairs, and is a proud mother of five children and grandmother of four grandsons and one granddaughter.
JR LaPlante is the Director of Tribal Relations for Avera Health where he serves as contact for area tribal government and Indian Health Services and works with tribes and the IHS to improve the health and wellness of tribal members.
He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and is a 2009 graduate of the University of South Dakota School of Law, with an undergraduate degree in Sociology from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn.
He served as an Equal Justice Works, AmeriCorps Legal Fellow with South Dakota Access to Justice in 2009 and is a member of the first cohort of Native Nation Rebuilders selected by the Bush Foundation in 2010. JR served as the first Secretary of Tribal Relations for the State of South Dakota from 2011-2014.
He also served as an Assistant United States Attorney and Tribal Liaison for the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of South Dakota in 2014-2015. He previously practiced Indian law and was the chief judge and court administrator for the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, and is a former administrative officer for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.
JR is married to Kathy and they have one daughter. His Lakota name is Tasunke Waste (His Horse is Beautiful).
Andrew is a businessman and Vietnam veteran, who is involved in family business pursuits. He is also a former Republican State Legislator, having served in the ND House of Representatives from 1993-2005, and 2010-2018.