Staff Snapshots | John Bjornson
Feb. 18, 2022 | State Legislatures News | Print
Hometown: I grew up in Edinburg, N.D., a town with about 300 residents about 30 minutes from the Canadian border in the northeast corner of the state.
Role: North Dakota Legislative Council director. Bjornson serves on NCSL’s Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee, and is the staff vice chair of NCSL’s Standing Committees.
Years of legislative service: Almost 34
Best advice he was ever given: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions.”
Why did you choose to work at the legislature?
During law school, I took several courses focusing on state and local government law, including a legislation course. In my final year of law school, I saw a job listing for an attorney at the North Dakota Legislative Council. Being in the dark ages before the internet, I really had no idea what the office did, but I applied for the job and was fortunate to be offered a position. I really expected this would be a short-term job while I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. I quickly learned working in the legislative branch was exactly what I wanted to do.
What skill or talent are you most proud of?
I think I generally am very laid back and able to get along with most people—or maybe I simply lack self-awareness! Although it is not necessarily a skill or talent, I usually find a way to enjoy life and I feel incredibly lucky to be where I am.
Who or what inspires you?
Seeing my children grow and succeed in their endeavors, and being able to help develop the skills of our young staff at the Legislative Council.
What’s one thing you love about your state?
Summer. People believe it always is cold here, but we have beautiful summer weather. I love spending summer evenings relaxing on my patio and occasionally enjoying a refreshing beverage made with North Dakota barley.
What are you currently reading/listening to/watching?
I just caught up on the latest season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and because it is hockey season, watching University of North Dakota hockey occupies my time most Friday and Saturday nights.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
For its “Staff Snapshots” series, State Legislatures News is asking legislative staff about their role in the legislature. If you’d like to suggest a staffer for this series, please email Holly South at NCSL.