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Josh Boschee sought to be North Dakota's new secretary of state, but gained a different role instead.

The Democratic-NPL lawmaker from Fargo is the new minority leader of the state House of Representatives, succeeding Rep. Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks, who held the role since 2016. North Dakota Democratic-NPL lawmakers elected Boschee Sunday at their caucus meeting. 

Boschee, first elected to his seat in 2012, said the leadership is a way to advance solutions for concerns he heard traveling on the campaign trail, particularly in places where his party may not have legislative representation. 

"Building off my campaign statewide, I was able to learn a lot about the state and the needs in different communities in different regions of our state," he said.

"And so I just saw moving into the leader position as an opportunity to continue on, building off the relationships I made with community leaders, business leaders, folks who have concerns in different parts of the state."

Boschee said he anticipates "a great working relationship" with House Majority Leader Chet Pollert, R-Carrington, who House Republicans chose in November to succeed former Fargo Rep. Al Carlson, who lost re-election.

"What I know about Chet is he wants to get things done," said Boschee, adding he hopes to address budget priorities early, such as education funding and rural health care. 

Pollert said he hopes for an "open and friendly" relationship with Boschee as leaders. 

"We will debate the issues briskly, and then when we're done, hopefully we can get along and still talk, which we have to. We're here to get policy together," Pollert said.

In not seeking the minority leadership, Mock said his priorities are to build bipartisan relationships and produce results in the Legislature, which he added is harder as a party leader. Mock was first elected in 2008.

He called fellow Democrat Boschee "a strong and up-and-coming voice in the caucus." 

Boschee said he and Mock discussed the leadership before the nomination and agreed on their paths, given their respective experience. 

"He's really interested and committed in making sure that we build bipartisan solutions going forward," Boschee said.

"At the end of the day, it's not a matter of title, it's a matter of putting the right people in the right position," Mock said.

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Capitol Reporter