Joshua Boschee, MSUM’s assistant director of leadership and organizations, is running for North Dakota House as of Friday, and may be the first openly gay candidate to do so.
“I’ve been pretty active in Fargo-Moorhead and statewide on a lot of issues,” Boschee said, listing his two most important issues as higher education and GLBT rights.
Boschee, 29, was encouraged to run by friends, but also factored his role at MSUM into the decision.
“I teach leadership, so it just seems natural,” Boschee said. He encourages students to be leaders on campus, so he sees running for state legislature as a way to “practice what I preach.”
In the Office of Student Activities, Boschee’s job is to provide support and resources to student organizations and to organize leadership programs such as the recent Emerging Leaders program for incoming freshman.
As supporter of higher education, Boschee plans on particularly advocating for NDSU, his alma mater. He graduated with an undergraduate degree in 2003 and a master’s degree in 2008.
“While they’ve been successful,” Boschee said, “funding levels have been inadequate.” He said NDSU receives significantly less funding than University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, N.D.
For GLBT rights, Boschee strongly wants to amend the North Dakota Fair Housing and North Dakota Human Rights acts, which do not oppose landlords evicting Joshua Boschee is running to represent his north Fargo district in the North Dakota House. The 29-year MSUM staff member has pledged to make higher education a top priority.
residents and employers firing employees based on sexual orientation.
North Dakota is one of 29 states in which this is OK, Boschee said, because there is no federal protection on the issue.
Other GLBT issues Boschee is looking to improve include bullying of gay individuals and adoption rights for gay couples.
Boschee has received a lot of support already, from F-M community members, students and co-workers on campus.
He also said he is “not naive” to the fact that there probably will be some negative responses, particularly because he’s openly gay.
He’s not scared though, he said, “and maybe I should be.” But he’s been out for six years and has already been very active in publicly advocating gay rights.
“I think of it as an opportunity,” Boschee said. He remembers growing up in Minot, N.D., and being afraid to come out as gay; he hadn’t met another gay individual until he started college at NDSU.
“I think of people who are afraid or can’t be honest with it,” he said, and he knows running for state legislature is an opportunity to help those people.