JoNell Bakke To Receive “Spirit Of The NPL” Award

Fargo, ND – Former State Senator JoNell Bakke, of Grand Forks, will receive the Spirit of the NPL Award at the 13th Annual Democratic-NPL Burdick Dinner. The dinner will feature keynote speaker, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz on Saturday, November 4, 2023, at the Four & Four in Fargo.

Bakke was elected to the North Dakota Senate and served for 8 years. During that time, she served on the Education, Judiciary, Transportation, and Political Subdivisions Committees. During the interim, she served on Human Services, Higher Education, Long Term Care, Education, Judiciary, and WSI. She served on the Juvenile Justice Reform Committee, Governors Youth Council, K-12 Commission, DPI Truancy Committee, Teacher/Administrators Evaluation Committee, and the State High Education Accreditation Review Committee. She is currently serving as a Governor appointee to the Brain Injury Advisory Committee as Vice Chair.

North Dakota Senate Minority Leader Kathy Hogan said, “My friend JoNell has such a strong passion for children and families. As a lifelong educator, she’s been a fierce advocate for children in her classroom and in the legislature. She was often the voice for those who couldn’t speak for themselves. She helped colleagues in the Senate to consider other viewpoints on complex issues.”

North Dakota House Minority Leader Zac Ista remarked, “JoNell Bakke has made our party and our state better in countless ways, and I could not be more grateful for her friendship and mentorship. From the classroom to the Senate floor, JoNell has shown us all how to put our values into action. For all she’s done–and all she continues to do–I congratulate Senator Bakke on this achievement.”

In addition to her service in the North Dakota Senate, Bakke has been active in union work since the 1980s serving as the president of the Grand Forks Education Association for six years, on the negotiation team for 14 years, and on the NDEA Board of Directors. She is currently serving on the ND United Retirement Advisory Board. Bakke has been and continues to be deeply involved in the District 43 Democratic-NPL, the Northern Valley Democrat-NPL, and the North Dakota Democratic-NPL.

JoNell and her husband, Greg, were foster parents for eleven years and parented 37 children during that time. She has four children, one son-in-law, one daughter-in-law, three grandsons, and three granddaughters.

Tickets to the 13th Annual Democratic-NPL Burdick are available at

October 26, 2023

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