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AP Photo Kelly Schmidt holds a news conference on Monday in Bismarck.

ND Treasurer Kelly Schmidt seeks third term

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BISMARCK -- North Dakota State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt will seek a third term in office and will likely face a fellow Mandan resident in the November election.

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Schmidt, a Republican, had a news conference Monday in Bismarck to announce she would seek re-election.

"In 2004, I made a promise. My promise still stands," she said. "I will continue to apply my principles of hard work and integrity to best serve the people of North Dakota."

Cash management responsibilities in the treasurer's office have increased 550 percent, she said. In 2004, the office managed 54 general fund CDs at a record $750 million, she said. Today, that number has increased to 326 CDs at more than $2 billion.

In January 2005, the office distributed nearly $23 million in tax distributions. That number rose to $65 million this January.

Schmidt said she's been committed to running an administration focused on modernizing the office and making it more transparent. She said she plans to continue that if elected to another term.

The treasurer's office has seen a significant increase in website activity and plans to expand the website to provide more transparency and education relating to the distribution of state funds, Schmidt said.

North Dakotans want to know where their money is being used, she said. "The people's treasury is the people's business," she said.

Schmidt was elected treasurer in 2004 and re-elected in 2008. As treasurer, she is a member of the State Investment Board, Teachers Fund for Retirement, University and School Lands Board, Tax Equalization and the State Historical Board.

Meanwhile, Ross Mushik is seeking the Democratic-NPL Party endorsement for the state treasurer's race.

In a letter to party district chairmen, Mushik outlined his 22 years of state government service in the areas of accounting, auditing, budgeting and management. He worked in the offices of the State Tax Commissioner, Office of Intergovernmental Assistance and Division of Emergency Management.

Mushik also worked for American Express as a financial planner. He now is a small business owner/operator of a lawn service business.

On Monday, Mushik said he worked with the state treasurer's office while he was in state government, which sparked his interest in the office.

He is particularly interested in the Veterans Post War Trust Fund and working to develop a long-range financial plan for the state. He pointed to errors discovered by a recent audit report of the treasurer's office and said office staff need proper training.

The state treasurer's salary is $85,330.

Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.

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