Zachary Tomczik is a first-year law student at UND Law School and a UND alumnus, holding a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Honors. Tomczik was raised in Saint Cloud, Minnesota and his community involvement includes the earning of the Eagle Scout designation. He participated in leadership programs at UND including holding offices in the Association of Residence Halls and advising a hall government, earning an appointment as a Resident Assistant, and helping to start the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity and serving as its Sergeant at Arms. He was a student member on the UND Student Relations Committee, the highest disciplinary body on campus dealing with campus policy violations. He currently works for the Grand Forks Parks District, at the Grand Forks Withdrawal Management Center as a Detox Advocate, and at the Grand Forks County Courthouse as a Juvenile Drug Court Case Aide. These experiences provide Tomczik with a firsthand knowledge of challenges Grand Forks community members face and the need for resources to address these challenges.
District 42 is a unique district encompassing both short-and-long term home owners, renters, and students and employees of the University of North Dakota campus. The legislature needs representation reflecting the state constituents, and as a student he provides a voice hear too seldom in the legislature.
Tomczik sees the following issues as critical to the next legislative session:
Education is a critical government obligation. Tomczik supports the Dem-NPL Party platform that allows local school districts to offer approved Pre-K programs and allocates state assistance to these programs, supports universal early childhood education and the expansion of Head Start, supports before- and after-school programs and special-needs programs, and vocational and non-traditional student programs. Teacher pay has impacted the ability to schools to attract highly qualified teachers; pay, retirement and health benefits; and CTE requirements are issues Tomczik intends to address.
No one needs to explain to Tomczik the impact of budget cuts and program degradation have had on the University of North Dakota. As a student, alumnus, and soon-to-again graduate of UND, he is both attached to and want to champion the success of UND. Study after study within education demonstrate that a quality institution attracts students, and their dollars, from out-of-state and that attracting out-of-state students reliably are a net positive economic driver for the community in which a college is housed. Reversing the cuts in appropriated dollars, or at least mitigating the damage of the cuts, to the university is a priority for Tomczik. Restoring funding will impact student tuition fees and attract more student and enable more students to complete their degrees.
Tomczik’s experience as a Detox Advocate and a Juvenile Drug Court Case Aide has heightened his awareness of individuals “the system” is leaving or has left behind. Children in juvenile drug court (JDC), the homeless in our community, people who have tenuous or no remaining family structures deserve and will find success if properly supported. Many chronic and tragic circumstances could have been averted if someone had intervened early in the cycle, and advocating for such aversion experiences is both human and fiscally responsible.
Infrastructure affects everyone in our community. It is how we get to work and school, how we get our food and medicine, and the means to us living our lives. Ensuring the continued funding of the waterplant project is critical. Grand Forks was gifted with a tremendous pump and dyke system, and this infrastructure program helps our community regularly and reliably. Good infrastructure is vital to a healthy community and economy, yet our frugality hastens much of this to crumble. The decay of infrastructure often has a disproportionate effect on the poor, and ensuring our community has the resources to maintain our infrastructure is a key priority.
A healthy community is a happy community, and Tomczik believes health care is a right and not a privilege. North Dakota should be a pioneer in ensuring that our residents can have quality services at low costs. We can hold pharmaceutical companies accountable and lower the ever-climbing prescription drug costs. Our neighbors should not have to ration their insulin or decide whether to go and see a doctor when they notice something is not right with their bodies. While the United States lags behind the world in addressing public university health, North Dakota can lean on its historical precedence, hold our representatives accountable, and become healthcare leaders.