ATTORNEY General Wayne Stenehjem passed away unexpectedly at the age of 68.
The North Dakota lawmaker was found dead on Friday, according to authorities.
The North Dakota lawmaker was found dead on Friday
“We know Wayne was a widely respected and well-known public figure, but we ask that his family be allowed time to grieve in private,” said a release by the state’s Office of Attorney General.
Stenehjem’s brother, Allan, told KYFR-TV that Stenehjem was hospitalized Friday morning after falling in his home around 8:30am.
Allan said that the lawmaker had previously been dealing with an ulcer, which might have caused the fall.
“If it were his heart, that would be one thing,” the brother said.
“An ulcer, you know, you have an ulcer that’s inflamed, it causes problems, that’s different than if you are not in good health – He’s in great health, I just don’t want to send a message that it’s a dire situation, because I don’t think it is.”
Around 2pm, Allan said that the next 12 hours would be “crucial” as the Bismarck hospital treated Stenehjem.
Near 3pm, the brother reported that the attorney general was responsive and awaiting test results.
Stenehjem died around 6:20pm at a Bismarck hospital, according to his spokeswoman Liz Brocker, who could not provide any additional details.
When did Wayne Stenehjem become Attorney General in North Dakota?
He was a member of the Senate for 20 years before being elected to the position of Attorney General.
Throughout his time in the Legislature, Stenehjem was a member of the Judiciary Committee, and from 1995 to 2000, he was the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
For the 1999 Legislative Session, he was chosen President Pro Tempore of the Senate.
Stenehjem was sworn in as the State’s 29th Attorney General in January 2001; he was re-elected in 2004, 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018.
He served as Attorney General of North Dakota for the longest time in the state’s history.
He announced his retirement in December, saying that he intended to spend time with his wife, travel, bicycle, and get involved with charitable organizations.
Many mourn the Attorney General
Governor Doug Burgum said that “North Dakota is a safer place” because of Stenehjem, and directed government agencies to fly the US and state flags at half-staff until further notice, encouraging residents to do the same.
“Like so many North Dakotans who treasured his friendship and admired him for his more than four decades of exceptional service to our state, we are absolutely devastated by the passing of Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem,” Burgum said in a statement.
“Wayne embodied public service, both as a dedicated legislator and the longest-serving attorney general in our state’s 133-year history.”
Political columnist Rob Port remembered Stenehjem as an “American patriot” and a “dedicated public servant” in a mourning tweet.
Private and public funeral arrangements are currently being made at Bismarck Funeral Home.
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