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  • Writer's pictureRetha Mattern

The Grand things in life

It's been nearly two years since the first time I set eyes on the Grand Canyon. From the moment I saw it, I immediately wanted to come back and hike to the bottom. Last week, after much planning and preparation, I was able to make that dream come true. It's one thing to stand on the edge and look across something so vast and amazing that it's hard to describe. Hiking to the bottom and spending two nights there, looking up at the bright starry sky surrounded by the blackness of the canyon walls, puts everything into a perspective that just can't be put into words.

A friend and I spent three days and two nights hiking a total of about 35 miles below the canyon rim. It was an unreal task, tiring, yet incredible. It also provided a lot of time to think.

Nothing in life that is worth doing, or worth working for, is ever easy. But when you are determined and work hard, you never know the great things that will come.

My entire life has been spent with a mindset of serving others. Any time there is a need or a challenge, my immediate instinct is to find what I can do to help. This is in both the small things - stepping in last minute to fill in as a teacher when my child's Sunday School room doesn't have one - or large, such as agreeing to serve as the Vice Chair of District 7 when there was a vacancy and no one stepping up to fill it.

I first began participating in District 7 events almost 10 years ago, after looking for ways to get involved in the community and making a difference. I served as a delegate to several state conventions, attended annual family picnics and fundraising events, going to numerous lunches and dinners, and volunteering my time to help those events run smoothly. I've volunteered to staff tables at the 2020 North Dakota Republican Caucus, donated items to GOP fundraisers. From spending hours planning events to, bringing food, showing up early to set up chairs and tables and staying late to clean up, I know the work that has to be done that no one else sees. Much like hiking the Grand Canyon took months of physical training and preparing the right equipment, the work of taking part in organizing a district isn't seen by those just looking at the end outcome.

That desire to serve and experience putting in the hard work behind the scenes continues. I believe that the perspective I bring to District 7 and will bring to the North Dakota Legislature is valuable to others in the community, which is why I am committed to continuing a campaign built on servant leadership and neighborhood values. Unlike hiking the Grand Canyon, serving in the Legislature isn't about achieving a personal goal, but rather about doing what I can to improve the lives of others in Bismarck, in District 7, and in North Dakota.

If you live in District 7 (click here to see the boundaries) and would like to sign my petition to put me on the ballot for the primary election, send me a message through this website or email me at and I will get in touch with you. And don't forget to mark your calendar for the primary election on June 14.

(And I already have plans to go back and hike again.)

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