Senator Cramer pays tribute to Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem on What’s On Your Mind

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) joined Scott Hennen on What’s On Your Mind today to honor the life and service of North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. Excerpts from the conversation can be found below.

“He was the same guy last week that he was then, which is the biggest testament to public service. When you accomplish as much as Wayne did, and you reach the pinnacle of your service and you’re still that same guy who represented the University of North Dakota district in Grand Forks, that says a lot about Wayne Stenehjem. He is one of the country’s elite attorneys general.

“What a punch it’s been. As I woke up this morning and prayed about it, there’s just this massive void. That hole is going to be very difficult to fill on a very personal level for his family and his closest friends and on a much larger level because thousands of people knew Wayne.Thousands more, millions really, were touched by Wayne’s good work, especially in the Attorney General’s office.

“We have an incredible legacy in Wayne Stenehjem that we can celebrate. In the context of eternity, our life is a snap, but in the context of history, Wayne’s contributions are going to be massive and long-standing.

“His work on the Clean Water Act and the waters of the United States is monumental. His work was so impressive. What’s so unique about Wayne is that he’s not one of those big characters. He’s not one of those state attorneys general looking to get into Fox News on bluster. He always worked quietly, he always worked cheerfully, but he always worked diligently and intellectually with great respect for the law and the Constitution and far more respect for good results than for personal gain. Because of this, Wayne had an amazing and successful career which he earned.

“He smiled all the time. If he didn’t, you knew you were in trouble (and you deserved it). But it was very rare. He was truly a fun-loving person.

“He knew what to take seriously and what to appreciate. His life balance is the reason he endeared himself to so many people. I’ve often thought that if Wayne had chosen a career practicing law outside of government, he would have been an extremely wealthy lawyer because he’s so disarming with his personality, zest for life, and humor.

“My grief and sympathy for Beth, Andrew and the whole family, who kept growing because everyone wanted to be part of the Stenehjem clan, and rightly so.

“God bless his memory.


On Friday, January 28, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem died. Stenehjem was the longest-serving attorney general in North Dakota history, serving in that role for 21 years. He also served in the North Dakota Legislature for 24 years.

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