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Democratic challenger says he would modernize, streamline ND Secretary of State’s Office if elected

Rep. Josh Boschee, D-Fargo, announces his candidacy for North Dakota secretary of state at a news conference Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, at Abovo Events, 218 Broadway, Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor1 / 3
Al Jaeger2 / 3
Will Gardner3 / 3

FARGO – After a quarter century of the same Republican serving as North Dakota’s secretary of state, Democratic state Rep. Josh Boschee says it's time for a change.

“Our current secretary of state and GOP Legislature have had two decades to bring this office up to current technology standards – something they have failed to do effectively while wasting taxpayer dollars in their failed attempts,” Boschee said.

Boschee, 35, held a news conference Tuesday, Jan. 30, to announce that he’s running against incumbent Al Jaeger, 74, who was first elected to the office in 1992.

As sales manager for Fargo’s Hatch Realty, Boschee said he’s experienced the shortfalls of the secretary of state’s current system for registering a business, which requires applicants to download, print and mail in forms and wait seven to 10 business days.

He said there are ways to make such processes less cumbersome, and upgrading the state’s business registration system would be one of his first initiatives.

Boschee also said with voter turnout stagnant in North Dakota, more should be done to increase participation and voter education.

Jaeger said his office is transitioning to providing online services this summer for businesses to register online and file reports. The software has been in development stages the past three years and he said he wants to see it implemented.

“I want to be part of that, and I think I can help with that,” Jaeger said. “There are so many exciting things happening in our office now.”

Boschee, who grew up in Minot, was first elected in 2012 to a District 44 seat. He’s in the middle of his second four-year term as a representative. If his secretary of state bid is successful, his district would select a Democratic replacement for the remainder of his term. If unsuccessful, he said he would continue representing north Fargo.

Will Gardner, former chairman of the District 34 Republicans, has also announced he is running for secretary of state.

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