North Dakota Democratic-NPL chair Kylie Oversen has announced her campaign for state tax commissioner.
The Killdeer native and former legislator from Grand Forks declared her candidacy Wednesday morning, noting what she said is "fiscal mismanagement" leading to budget cuts in recent years.
"After all, those in power in the state Legislature and the executive branch had been cutting our revenue sources for years while simultaneously increasing our spending," Oversen said. "It's basic math, and it just didn't add up."
She said "it is time for change," while the state's tax commissioner should "be leading the conversation alongside our legislators and governor on meaningful tax relief and lasting property tax reform."
Oversen also pledged, as tax commissioner, to involve tribal leaders in work regarding tax policy.
When asked about Republican incumbent Ryan Rauschenberger's DUI last fall, Oversen said she wants to discuss their "different visions" for office rather than his personal history of addiction.
"He's dealing with challenges, and that's on him to be able to address those things personally, and I hope that he does," she said. "I think it's more important that we talk about what our vision is for the office of tax commissioner, and mine is vastly different than that of Ryan Rauschenberger's."
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If endorsed at next month's Democratic-NPL convention in Grand Forks, Oversen said she would discuss her role of chair with the Dem-NPL committee and would resign if elected in November.
"I don't think I can effectively serve both roles," she said of her intent to "transition the party to someone else," if elected.
Oversen lost re-election in 2016 to a second four-year term for her legislative district serving the Grand Forks area. The attorney and University of North Dakota alumna said she views tax commissioner as an opportunity to play a larger role, from considering tax breaks for new businesses to planning long-term.
Last month, Rauschenberger announced his intent to seek another term. Then-Gov. Jack Dalrymple appointed him in 2013, and Rauschenberger won election in 2014 by 20 points over his Democratic challenger.
North Dakota's last Democratic tax commissioner was Bob Hanson, who served from 1993-96.
Reach Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or email@example.com.