Dear Editor,

Several weeks ago, a sizable add ran in both the Hillsboro Banner and the Traill County Tribune that highlighted the voting records of our District 20 legislators. The ad was funded by “Citizens of District 20.”

We decided to title it in that way simply because there were, and continue to be, concerned citizens who reside in our area, District 20, and we wanted to highlight several of the votes that were important to us and draw attention to a very important and upcoming endorsement convention.

I was asked by several people to assist with the research in putting this together.

As your former legislator, I understand how to navigate and read the bills and the consequences of votes.

Despite having been proofed by multiple people there were two errors that made it to print.

After learning of these errors, I lost sleep trying to trace the mistake knowing that we never intended to misrepresent anyone.

 Both errors were made regarding Rep. Jared Hagert’s voting record. The first error related to HB1498, duty to retreat when protecting yourself.

This error was copied over from a legislative report published by the American Conservative Union. I take personal, full responsibility for not going to the primary source.

The second error was made regarding SB2308, a bill to authorize schools to publish the Ten Commandments and Pledge of Allegiance.

While researching this bill I took note of the vote from the video of the voting board on Legis.Nd.gov.

This is where all of the legislators’ votes are recorded and displayed publicly following floor debate in the House chamber.

Unfortunately, Rep. Hagert’s name appears directly below Rep. Hager, a Democrat from Fargo, who did not support the bill.

With a one-letter difference between the two I made an honest transcription error.

Rep. Jared Hagert did support both of those bills along with Rep. Mike Beltz and Sen. Randy Lemm. All other votes were accurately recorded. 

By the time I learned of the errors both papers had been printed and the event was upon us.

It was a great honor and privilege to serve my community during my time in office and I look forward to doing so again when my daughter is older, and my business ventures have stabilized.

Aaron McWilliams

Hillsboro

(Editor’s note: McWilliams is a former District 20 Republican who served in the state House of Representatives from 2016 to 2020.)