The Cass County (ND) Democratic Women Plus organization held its 42nd Annual Holiday Party on Dec. 10, at the Howard Johnson Hotel in downtown Fargo. Jocelyn Birch Burdick received the Lifetime Award for Outstanding Service to the ND Democratic-NPL Party for her many years of public service and leadership.
Jocelyn Burdick was appointed in September of 1992, by then-Governor George Sinner, to fill the United States Senate seat left vacant by the death of her husband, U.S. Senator Quentin Burdick. She served in the U.S. Senate for three months, after which Kent Conrad won the seat in a special election. Mrs. Burdick was the first woman to represent North Dakota in the U.S. Senate and only 1 of 3 women in the U.S. Senate when appointed that year.
(In November of 2012, Heidi Heitkamp became the first woman elected to the US Senate from North Dakota.)
Receiving the 2012 Outstanding Democratic Person of the Year Award was Rick Olek of Fargo. Olek ran for the ND Senate in District 44 north Fargo earlier this year. He is a Vietnam Veteran, Purple Heart recipient and retired United States Postal Service letter carrier. The award is presented each year at the holiday event and is voted on by the organization's members.
Cass County Democratic Women Plus is an organization whose membership is comprised of local Democratic women and men who meet to discuss social and political issues.