News (USA)

North Dakota voters elect first openly gay state legislator

FARGO, N.D. — In a historic first for the Peace Garden State, voters have elected the first openly gay state representative to the North Dakota Legislative Assembly.

Joshua Boschee

The race, which attracted national media scrutiny, saw first-time candidate Democrat Joshua Boschee winning the highest percentage of votes among four candidates vying for two seats in the legislature.

Once the final results were tallied, Boschee had secured his seat with 26.1 percent of the vote; incumbent Blair Thoreson got the other open seat with 25.8 percent of the vote.

Boschee credits his victory to the “hundreds” of volunteers who turned out to help him knock on doors as early as last June to start campaigning. He told local media that he had help from college students, retirees, union members — a broad base of support. But he agrees it also sends a message to young people in North Dakota.

“I think it shows LGBT kids in the state that if you work hard, and you’re true to yourself, anything is possible. And I had this opportunity — and with a lot of help, it paid off,” Boschee said.

Boschee noted that his top priorities will be tackling higher education issues and property taxes once he takes his seat in the capitol in Bismark.

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