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Published February 20, 2012, 04:00 PM

GOP's Schmidt Wants 3rd Term as ND Treasurer

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota state Treasurer Kelly Schmidt said Monday she will run for a third term as head of the smallest state agency that is headed by an elected official.

By: Dale Wetzel, Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota state Treasurer Kelly Schmidt said Monday she will run for a third term as head of the smallest state agency that is headed by an elected official.

The state treasurer manages cash for North Dakota agencies and distributes some tax collections to local governments. She also oversees the investment of a $4 million trust fund that benefits veterans.

Schmidt said Monday that surging oil and gas tax collections have increased the office's cash management responsibilities.

Since Schmidt was elected in 2004, the number of certificates of deposit her office oversees has increased from 54 to more than 300, and their value has risen from $750 million to $2 billion.

She said if she is re-elected, she will ask the Legislature for additional money for technology upgrades, including improving the office's website to make it easier for people to track how the treasurer operates.

"The people's treasury is the people's business, and with that in mind, we will expand our website to provide transparency and education relating to our distributed funds," Schmidt said.

North Dakota Democrats have one declared candidate for the treasurer's job, Mandan businessman Ross Mushik, who is a former state agency budget analyst and auditor.

The treasurer's office has seven employees and a two-year operating budget of $1.4 million. The treasurer is paid $85,330 annually. Of the 11 North Dakota state agencies that are headed by elected officials, the treasurer's office is the smallest.

The treasurer ensures the proper share of several North Dakota taxes, including levies on coal mining and oil and gas production, are funneled to the state and local governments that get a share of the revenues.

The treasurer also serves on boards that oversee state land management, pension funds for state workers and public school teachers, and the granting of property tax exemptions for new or expanding businesses.

The office has survived attempts to abolish it and distribute its duties among other agencies.

In 2000, North Dakota voters rejected a constitutional amendment to eliminate the job; four years earlier, voters abolished a two-term limit on the treasurer's service. Until then, the treasurer had been the only statewide elected job with a term limit.


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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