Candidate, ND House • District 20
Because We Can Do Better!
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235 2nd Ave NW
Mayville ND 58257
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John grew up in neighboring Steele County, in Hope, where his father was a pastor for 16 years and his mother taught kindergarten. His upbringing emphasized education and service. He became an educator and married a pastor, earning a B.A. from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, a M.A. from the University of North Dakota, and a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. After finishing his doctorate, he returned to North Dakota, accepting a joint appointment in history and economics at Mayville State University in 1998.
Through the North Dakota University System, John has demonstrated leadership in multiple state level roles. He represented Mayville State University for seven years on the Council of College Faculties (CCF), becoming its secretary, vice president and president. His last two years on the CCF, he was the Faculty Advisor to the State Board of Higher Education. Most recently he was president of the North Dakota General Education Council. For four years he represented all the Mayville State University faculty as president of its Faculty Association.
John also has local, regional, and national service leadership experiences. He served on the national Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) from 2011 to 2017, after serving on the Eastern North Dakota Synod Council of the ELCA from 2005 to 2011. For six years he was on the Mayville Lutheran Church Foundation and he served on the Mayville Lutheran Church Council, including as vice president, and president.
John and his wife, Julie Tillberg, live in Mayville with their two children, John Luke, age 12, and Lilie, age 8. Julie grew up on a central Kansas wheat and cattle farm in a Swedish Lutheran community. Out of the witness of family members, she learned the value of helping neighbors in need, whether the neighbor lived across the mile section or across the ocean. This value led her to volunteer teach for ten months in South Africa, attend seminary, serve as an ELCA pastor in Nebraska and North Dakota, and be involved in community-based and faith-based organizing.
John Luke enters 6th grade this fall. He has a heart for people being treated fairly and enjoys Pokémon and Nerf blasters. Lilie will start third grade. She is always thinking, seeks adventure and enjoys climbing on monkey bars. They named the family’s pet guinea pig Bob Theodore Tillberg Pederson.
- Affordable access and coverage:
- Defend and refine the Affordable Care Act, especially its provisions guaranteeing those with pre-existing conditions access to health care.
- Invest in treatment for mental health.
- State funding for special education, so that children with special needs, including those with dyslexia receive the education they need for the 21st century.
- Universal free hot lunch for all students to remove financial barriers of access to food.
- Maintain health insurance benefits for all state employees
- Maintain state share of tuition to avoid passing on a higher burden to ND families
- Maintain and strengthen our food security network so that no child or family goes hungry.