The most rewarding aspect of representing District 44 is getting to know our neighbors throughout north Fargo. During my first term, I’ve heard from so many of our neighbors about the priorities they feel our state needs to address, whether it is through legislation or administrative agencies. It is certainly expected that not all of our neighbors agree on every issue, but there are a few issues that regardless of political leaning, economic background or personal experience, there is overwhelming consensus from the voters of north Fargo. I’m proud to say that I have supported these priorities, not only with my vote, but often times by introducing legislative solutions.
I look forward to my campaign for re-election so that I can talk to our neighbors at their door or by phone. I am proud of the fact that I continue to respond to every e-mail and phone call I receive from District 44 residents. Please continue to reach out to me about these issues and any other issues you think should be addressed during the campaign and the upcoming legislative session.
Campaign Finance Reform, Ethics and Redistricting
- Currently, in North Dakota, candidates for elected office do not have to report how much money they raise, how their campaign funds were spent, or even if they have a specific campaign account. Additionally, special interest groups are able to provide travel, lodging and meals to candidates and elected officials with no disclosure required. I support common sense legislation that requires candidates for public office to disclose how their funds were spent, requires a separate campaign funds account, and requires the reporting of travel, lodging and meals provided by special interest groups.
- Following the Census every 10 years, a committee made up of legislators redraws the boundaries of the legislative districts throughout the state, including their own. There is no independent body in the state of North Dakota responsible for the investigation of elected officials’ potential unethical practices. I strongly support the creation of an independent ethics commission comprised of North Dakotans who do not serve in elected office to review ethical concerns raised and oversee the redistricting process every 10 years.
Putting North Dakotans First
- North Dakotans are hardworking people who are proud of their work ethic. Whether you work in retail, manufacturing, the service industry, or at an office, we know that employee productivity correlates to their physical and mental health. The healthier we are, the more productive we are. I support the study of the feasibility of a paid sick and family leave program for North Dakota workers and employers.
- Every year, I hear from many North Dakotans who leave the state because North Dakota does not have common sense laws to protect LGBT citizens from being discriminated in the workplace, in rental housing or while patronizing restaurants or stores. Additionally, employers have shared they have recruited talented employees from other parts of the country, who have turned down offers to work in North Dakota based on the absence of these protections. I continue to support the passage of fully inclusive nondiscrimination policies for LGBT North Dakotans.
- It is no secret that our state continues to be in crisis mode when it comes to meeting the mental and behavioral health needs of our citizens. We continue to criminalize those with mental illnesses and have not developed sustainable infrastructure to address the root issues when it comes to alcohol and other drug addiction. I support the increase of state resources to meet the growing and dynamic needs of mental and behavioral health throughout the state. Additionally, I support common sense criminal justice reform including expanding restorative justice programs, diversion of juveniles from jails, and reforming mandatory minimum sentences for low risk offenses.
Affordable and Innovative Education
- As our economy continues to diversify throughout the state, we should be enhancing our investment in the next generation of North Dakotans through our colleges and universities. A lot of attention focuses on the exciting new programs, which are important to meeting the needs of employers. However, we cannot forget about the students going into careers that are essential to the sustainability of our communities such as teachers, social workers, law enforcement, healthcare and childcare. I support the creation of student loan forgiveness programs targeted towards essential services employees in all communities within our state.
- The teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators and parents of our K-12 system continue to be the backbone of our communities. Our student’s perform exceptionally well on most standardized tests and graduation rates are above the national average. School personnel are innovative in their delivery and curriculum, with much of this innovation being funded through the personal financial commitment of teachers and paraprofessionals. The passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act will allow North Dakota educators to have more control over the outcomes required of students. I support the implementation of a Centers of Excellence model for K-12 education that promotes and rewards innovative, fact-based curriculum design and delivery methodology in classrooms throughout North Dakota.
- We know that the earlier a child has access to education, the more likely that child will perform better in school and graduate. In Fargo, there are well over 100 children on the waiting list for Head Start. There are even more families waiting for open spots in childcare centers, in-home providers and early childhood education centers. We as a community and a state can do better for our children. I support the increase of funding to support and expand early childhood education programs and access to affordable, quality childcare in Fargo and throughout North Dakota.
Increasing Access and Transparency to Government
- The words and actions of the legislature should be accessible to all North Dakotans so that elected officials can be held accountable for what they say and what they do. I support the audio recording of all legislative committee hearings and floor sessions with the recordings being available for free on the Legislature’s website.
- Most North Dakotans have family, school and work commitments that limit their ability to travel to Bismarck to participate in committee hearings. With readings, live public comment, and committee discussion being scheduled less than a week before a bill is heard in committee, it is challenging for most North Dakotans to arrange to be in Bismarck to speak to the specific issues important to them. The winter weather that occurs throughout the legislative session can be unpredictable and dangerous at times to travel through. I support exploring the use of and expansion of our current technology infrastructure so that North Dakotans can participate in committee hearings remotely, from their community.
What are your thoughts on these issues? Are there additional issues I should take into consideration? Feel free to contact me at joshua(dot)boschee(at)yahoo(dot)com.