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Longtime Republican Dies ‘Unexpectedly’

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Longtime North Dakota Attorney General Dies ‘Unexpectedly’

North Dakota’s longest serving Attorney General died Friday unexpectedly, a month after announcing his imminent retirement.

The Bismarck Tribune reported family members are unsure of his cause of death but it was not related to COVID-19. He was reportedly transported to the hospital Friday morning after being found unresponsive in his home.

“It is with the utmost sadness that the Office of Attorney General announces that Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem passed away unexpectedly on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022. He was 68,” said a statement issued by spokeswoman Liz Brocker. “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.”

Gov. Doug Burgum ordered government agencies to fly the U.S. and North Dakota flags at half-staff until further notice in honor of the former attorney general’s longtime service to the state. Stenehjem, a Republican, had served 24 years in state legislature before becoming the state’s top law enforcement officer. Gov. Burgum reportedly encouraged residents to also lower flags at their homes and businesses to half mast.

“As the top law enforcement officer in North Dakota for over two decades, Attorney General Stenehjem always put the safety and well-being of our citizens first,” the governor said. “North Dakota is a safer place because of his unwavering commitment to law and order, his loyalty to his team members and his utmost respect for our men and women in uniform.”

“State and local governments also are more transparent thanks to his strong enforcement of North Dakota’s sunshine laws.”

North Dakota’s governor called Stenehjem a friend whom he admired, in a post to his Twitter account.

“Like so many North Dakotans who treasured his friendship and admired him for his more than four decades of exceptional service to our state, Kathryn and I are absolutely devastated by the passing of Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem,” Burgum said.

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