NDSU student lobbyist stays on top of higher education legislation
Published February 20, 2015
Aaron Weber used to do his homework with the U.S. Congress on C-SPAN as background noise. Today he’s getting it done on the 18th floor of the North Dakota Capitol between committee meetings and hearings of the 64th Legislative Assembly.
Weber represents the interests of nearly 15,000 NDSU students, and sometimes the nearly 48,000 enrolled in North Dakota University System institutions, at the legislative session underway in Bismarck. In his spare time. While carrying 15 credits online.
Hectic, yes, but Weber – a former American Legion Boy’s State governor, Boy’s Nation delegate and alumnus of the U.S. Senate Youth Program – is in his element.
People who know and work with the sophomore from Wishek, North Dakota, say Weber has become a trusted resource among legislators and higher education stakeholders.
Aaron Weber is making his mark during the 64th Legislative Assembly at the North Dakota Capitol, where he represents the interests of nearly 15,000 NDSU students.
NDSU Student Body President Sarah Russell: “Aaron has a passion for public policy and politics that really comes through. He can tell you the name, number and exactly where a House or Senate bill is at any given time. He can also to tell you why it’s important, which is exactly what we need in that position.”
Sen. Tim Flakoll, Senate Education Committee chair: “He gets a lot of respect from legislators because they know he has done his homework. It’s a combination of a high level of knowledge, the ability to distill the essence of what he’s looking for in legislation and communicate it in a common, mainstream way.”
Christopher Wilson, general counsel for the North Dakota University System in Fargo: “Aaron’s job is to understand the issues so he can work the chambers and corridors of the Capitol, and he does that very well. He’s very savvy, and he works well with anyone regardless of whether they are advocating for the same position.”
As for Weber, he credits a healthy respect for hard work learned from his parents and the Wishek community – population around 1,000 – for any success. Besides, he said, even on days when he has to cram coursework or legislative prep into a few minutes here and there in the Capitol’s top-floor observatory, it’s just plain fun.
“Having a chance to represent NDSU’s students has been incredible,” Weber said. “This is what I love to do.”