- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 22, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A longtime North Dakota lawmaker who missed two days of the session after suffering what was believed to be a mild stroke returned to a rousing reception in the House on Wednesday and joked about getting sick again to get such a response.

Democratic Rep. Eliot Glassheim, of Grand Forks, was welcomed with a standing ovation from all 92 representatives in attendance while he walked to his desk on the House floor before roll call. Glassheim, 77, was hospitalized in Bismarck on Sunday after he complained he wasn’t feeling well and was having trouble talking.

He called the response overwhelming.

“I walked in and (Rep.) Jon Nelson saw me and he just started clapping,” Glassheim said. “It was very sweet, very nice. People have been very good to me.”

Glassheim, in his 13th term in the Legislature, said he feels better but still gets tired when he walks. While he walked to his desk, he was using a wheelchair outside the chambers. Fellow Democratic Rep. Corey Mock, also of Grand Forks, pushed Glassheim’s wheelchair around the halls of the Capitol, where several well-wishers stopped them to chat.

“This is wonderful,” Glassheim said. “I have to get sick more often.”

Glassheim has been a fixture in the House since 1993. He also served one term in the mid-1970s, but lost his bid for re-election after re-districting. He got back to Bismarck after further re-districting following the 1990 census. Glassheim, who has a doctorate in literature, also served as a Grand Forks city commissioner for 30 years.

Mock, who has been in the House since 2008, called Glassheim a close friend and mentor.

“My wife and I bought his bookstore,” Mock said. “We really wanted to carry on the legacy of the honorable Dr. Eliot Glassheim.”

Said Mock of the House ovation, “Some of us would be gone for a month and people would hardly notice we were gone. Eliot was gone for two days resting and he gets a standing ovation when he gets back. It really says a lot about how this chamber respects him.”

Glassheim said he had planned to give his opinion Wednesday morning on a resolution that would require lawmakers to live in their districts, “but I figured I wouldn’t get a standing ovation for what I was going to say so I just shut up,” he said.

A Grand Forks legislator on the other side of the aisle, Republican Rep. Mark Sanford, said Glassheim is a “thoughtful, bright” lawmaker and excellent presenter who deserves the recognition.

“Eliot Glassheim is a one-of-a-kind, really high-quality legislator,” Sanford said. “The essence of this is you have a big-hearted academic who loves dealing with big issues. I was very, very happy we did that and continue to be very proud of Eliot Glassheim.”

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