Former Dem-NPL Lawmakers pay tribute to late State Senator and UND associate dean Judy DeMers

March 18, 2024

GRAND FORKS, NDFormer Democratic-NPL lawmaker associate dean for student affairs and admissions at the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences Judy DeMers passed away last week. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Representative Earl Pomeroy, Agriculture Commissioner Sarah Vogel, and Representative Lois Delmore expressed their grief and celebrated their memories of DeMers.

Senator Heidi Heitkamp remarked, “Judy was a force. When she sunk her teeth into an issue, there was no stopping her, particularly when it meant protecting her beloved profession, nursing. For decades, she was the voice for so many people who did not have a voice. She was a legislator that the Democratic-NPL will always be proud to say ‘she was one of us.’”

Congressman Earl Pomeroy said, “Judy DeMers was a leader in improving North Dakota health care for more than 40 years. I worked with her as a fellow legislator and later as an Insurance Commissioner and Congressman. I found her knowledge and counsel to be incredibly helpful as she applied her medical background to creating sound health policy. Judy was selfless, funny and hugely talented. Her impact will long be felt in North Dakota health care. We are all better for her life’s work.”

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Sarah Vogel noted, “When Judy was in the legislature, she stayed at my house for several sessions. I saw her work ethic first hand. The minute the day’s session was done, Judy hauled suitcases of reading materials relevant to the next day’s session and committee meetings to her room, and she stayed up until she had mastered the issues. Then she wrote her testimony – for or against – in short, clear, statements. Then she went to sleep for a few hours, to repeat the next day. On the weekends, she went back to Grand Forks to meet with her constituents. Not only the citizens of Grand Forks, but all citizens of North Dakota were well represented by Judy. She was brilliant and she was the hardest working legislator I have ever known.”

Former Representative Lois Delmore remarked, “Senator Judy DeMers was a strong public servant in the legislature. She was an advocate for women and an inspiration for students at the University of North Dakota Medical School. She was a strong voice for Grand Forks and for the state of North Dakota. I was proud to serve with her and to call her my friend.”

DeMers served in the North Dakota House from 1983 to 1991 and the State Senate from 1993 to 2000. For 27 years, she was the associate dean for student affairs and admissions at the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences. After retirement in 2010, she moved to Arizona to be closer to her son Bob, daughter-in-law Dawn, and grandson Tyler. DeMers was a marvelous mentor to her grandson, who found his passion in law and will soon graduate from the University of Arizona Law School.

Laura Dronen
Communications Director
(701) 566-0616
[email protected]