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Area resident will seek seat of U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy

Kenmare area business owner and resident J.D. Donaghe has announced his intention to seek the endorsement of the North Dakota Republican Party to run for North Dakota’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives currently held by Democrat Earl Pomeroy.

2/03/10 (Wed)

J.D. Donaghe, Republican, candidate for
U.S. Representative from North Dakota.

By Caroline Downs
Kenmare area business owner and resident J.D. Donaghe has announced his intention to seek the endorsement of the North Dakota Republican Party to run for North Dakota’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives currently held by Democrat Earl Pomeroy.
Donaghe is a relative newcomer to North Dakota, but not to the rural lifestyle or the Great Plains. Born and raised in Artesia, New Mexico, near the Texas border and raised primarily by an extended family, he grew up with an emphasis on family and community life similar to what he sees in North Dakota.
In fact, he moved his own children to North Dakota because of his rural roots. He was living in Las Vegas, NV, at the time when the housing crisis devastated the economy of that metropolitan area. “I looked around all over the country and researched different areas,” he said. “We moved to North Dakota for the quality of life.”
As a single parent, he arrived in Williston with his two daughters in May 2008 and hired a tutor for the girls to complete their school requirements for the year. He then launched Quality Consulting, International, an oilfield consulting and inspection business that recently added welding services, and started looking for a house.
“It’s about like coming home,” he said of his impressions of North Dakota. “The terrain is similar to southeastern New Mexico, and the people are much the same.”
The Dale Byrd farmstead north of Kenmare appealed to him, and he made arrangements with Byrd to purchase the property. Donaghe’s two daughters, who attend Kenmare High School and participate in FFA and FBLA, have horses there, and the family enjoys rural living. Recently, Donaghe’s 19-year-old son arrived to join the business.
Donaghe realizes that as a transplant from New Mexico via Las Vegas, he may appear to be an outsider. On the other hand, his North Dakota business has cleared just over $3 million, which he invested back into the local economies by paying over $2 million out in wages. He also made improvements to his home, his business and his vehicles through the purchase of local goods and services.
He especially likes what he sees happening for the state’s western counties with oil development these days. “The boom in North Dakota is so prominent, and with the current administration being opposed to drilling and oil and gas production on federal land, oil and gas companies are rushing to North Dakota because almost 100 percent of it is privately owned property,” he said. “The foolishness in Washington will help the local economies in North Dakota to build the oil and gas infrastructure necessary to become a major producer in the U.S.”
Donaghe is the first to acknowledge his status as an inexperienced politician, and he described himself as a reluctant candidate who graduated at the top of his class from the school of hard knocks. His background features a wilderness fishing guide service in Alaska, manufacturing, sales, insurance, an honorary degree in Bible theology, several ventures in the oil and gas business, and even a stint as a professional musician in Texas, where he wrote songs, played guitar and sang with a band known as J.D. and the Conspiracy in the mid-1990s. His past includes an arrest record representative of many young, hard-living oilfield workers and a passionate interest in history, sparked by stories his great-grandmother and her neighbors told him as a child about their local area.
Interest in history leads
to political aspirations
Donaghe left his rowdy ways behind, but his fascination with history became something of an obsession as those first stories led him to study the history of the Southwest, then the whole West and the entire United States.
As he continued his study, he became intrigued by the correlations he noticed between Christianity and the foundations of the United States. “I kept reading and researching, and became aware of how influential Christianity was on the founding of America,” he said. “And I still feel that drive of our founding fathers, that concept of America.”
One aspect of both America’s history and present situation that concerns him is the presence of tyranny. “This is government of the people, by the people, for the people, so it should reflect the people,” he said. “Tyranny should continually be pushed back on a generational basis.”
He cited that concern as motivation for running for national office. “It’s clear if we don’t do something, we’re not going to have an America left to live in,” he said. “This country won’t hold up under the weight of what’s been done to it right now. I can’t look my kids in the eye and leave them in this mess.”
He continued, “I see national anxiety and outright disgust with our incumbents. I see the nation rallying against what’s going on, but I don’t see a plan of action to rally around.”
Donaghe is prepared to offer solutions to some of the biggest issues the nation faces. “Common sense solutions could get us back on track,” he said. “There’s no need for the country to fall apart. It’s incumbent upon every generation to defend our freedom and pass it on to the next generation. We’ve been given a lot, paid for by blood, sweat and tears, but we’ve allowed career politicians in both parties to encroach on our freedoms.”
He would like to see more bold, aggressive leaders at work in Washington. “Earl Pomeroy has been there 20 years, and I can’t point to one significant piece of legislation he’s provided,” said Donaghe, adding that Pomeroy tends to follow the party line on votes. “He’s a sheep when we need leadership.”
Donaghe laughed as he said he hoped to accomplish his work in the U.S. House in two terms at the most, if elected. “Having a plan is crucial,” he said. “If you’re hiring me, you expect to see a plan of what I can do for your company, but we ‘hire’ these politicians with pretty vague intentions. It’s time to show up with a plan, in detail, so you know exactly what I’m going to do when I get there.”
Donaghe’s plan addresses specific elements of energy policy, income tax, Social Security reform and restoration, budget reform, health care, lobby reform, and congressional accountability and term limits. He has legislation already drafted and ready to introduce on his first day in session for each of these issues. Details of his platform will be published in next week’s issue of The Kenmare News.
“I’m a problem solver by nature and by my raising,” he said. “You define the problem and think through all the different options to find the common sense solution. We have to run our daily lives with common sense, and that should apply to the government as well.”
In the weeks leading up the North Dakota Republican Convention, scheduled for March 19-21 in Grand Forks, Donaghe will travel throughout the state to campaign and share his common sense solutions. Information about his candidacy, itinerary and further details about his platform can be found at his website,
Donaghe can also be contacted through his website to schedule speaking engagements or other appearances.