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Candidate Boschee visits Dickinson

Josh Boschee, candidate for North Dakota Secretary of State, a non-partisan position, visited Dickinson Thursday to meet with community members and business leaders. The event was hosted by Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)

Josh Boschee, candidate for North Dakota Secretary of State, visited Dickinson Thursday to meet with community members and business leaders.

The event was sponsored by the Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce.

Boschee, a District 44 representative and Fargo-area realtor, said he is running for the non-partisan position mainly to modernize the Secretary of State's office.

"We need to get that into the 21st century," he said.

An example of where this has been done is with uniform commercial code filing.

"But when it comes to contractors, notaries, businesses, nonprofits, lobbyists, any of that, it can't be done online," he said.

The issue has evolved to encompass state government, as well, Boschee said.

"Small business interacts with the tax department, job service, worker's comp," he said. "If you're a realtor, like me, it's the real estate commission. Each of those have their own logins, their own systems."

Boschee is proposing a central ND Hub online, a "one-stop shop" for business owners.

This is something that could be achieved in a few years, Boschee said.

"There are already some processes in place, or in the works," he said. "There was a system that was supposed to have come live several weeks ago, and that still hasn't been there."

He added, "There's a lot of things happening on the back-end. There just hasn't been the partnership with the business and non-profit communities to make sure it's something that will work for them."

The idea was met with support for Dickinson leaders.

Haylee M. Cripe, a local attorney, said a problem she runs into with clients is, when they try to form a business, it takes as much as six weeks to get back articles from Secretary of State's office, calling it inefficient. Even with a rush fee, this process can take two weeks.

As a result, clients will form in other states where this process can be done in a day.

"We can do our own articles. A lot of times we just use the form off the website," she said. "We can type it in, then we have to print it out and mail it or fax it in, and someone else has to retype it. It just seems like there's such a redundancy, and I feel like that contributes in part to how long that waiting period is."

Not only are changes to technology needed, but to state law, Boschee said.

"Every new business is viewed in terms of their name and making sure that there is not a duplication, which is important," he said, "but I think we can integrate technology so... when that form comes in, the system generates the 10 likely similar entities in the state."

DACC Director Sarah Trustem said, after taking on the role in January, discovered the agency had to be in good standing with the Secretary of State office.

"I didn't even know this existed," she said. "I tried to go online and find out more info, and I couldn't. With similar scenarios, it would be nice to see a 'things to know' ... that says make sure you're doing this, these are the steps you need to stay in good standing."

Boschee said information for businesses and non-profits should be more easily accessible on the state website.

He also suggested there should be specialists who are more proactive.

"The idea is, everyone has to come to the capital. My view is, how do we get out?" he said. "How do we work with groups (through) co-working spaces, with offices hours once a month in these communities."

This could apply to other areas of state government, Boschee said, including the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Being Secretary of State also means serving as an ambassador for the state, Boschee said, and being an advocate for its towns and cities.

"How do you make a 36 hour experience out of Rugby?" he asked. "You're coming, spending a night, enjoying downtown or specific parks or getting up to the peace gardens."

Such city and entrepreneurial efforts can be supported by the state through online resources, Boschee said.

The national general election is on Nov. 6.