Democratic legislators select Boschee, Heckaman as floor leaders

Dec 3, 2018

North Dakota House Democrats have elected Fargo Rep. Josh Boschee as Minority Leader.

Boschee replaces Grand Forks Rep. Corey Mock, who did not seek re-election to that post.

House Democrats chose Fargo Rep. Karla Rose Hanson as assistant Minority Leader, and Fargo Rep. Gretchen Dobervich as caucus chair.

Boschee said while the Democratic caucus is small, it hopes to be able to make some progress on its issues, focusing on – as he put it – taking care of the citizens of North Dakota.

"Everything from behavioral mental health to public employee salaries and benefits, as well as workforce development," Boschee said. "How do we implement good policies based on the recommendations of the Governor's Workforce Council."

Boschee said Democrats are ready to dig in to the issues.

"We've got to stop studying things," Boschee said. "We have to start implementing some ideas."

On the Senate side, New Rockford Sen. Joan Heckaman was re-elected as Minority Leader. Jamestown Sen. John Grabinger will be the assistant Minority Leader, and Bismarck Sen. Erin Oban will be caucus chair.

Heckaman said Democrats may be small in number, but they want to have an impact.

"I'm hoping we can step back from the Governor's 10 percent cut, 3 percent contingency and the 5 percent staffing reduction," Heckaman said. "There's been enough programming and staffing that has been cut."

Gov. Doug Burgum submits his executive budget recommendation to the Legislature Wednesday.

With Democrats picking up one seat in the North Dakota Senate, Heckaman said she will not have to serve on a committee, in addition to her floor leader duties. In the 2017 session, Heckaman was a member of the Senate Human Services Committee.

"That's going to make it a lot more smooth for the caucus, when I can do more coordination, rather than it on a committee," Heckaman said. "I did like my time on the committees, because that's where the real work gets done."