NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — A high-profile North Dakota State Legislature race this cycle is District 35 Senate, formerly occupied by Bismarck democrat Senator Erin Oban.

As of October 2022, there are 40 republicans and seven democrats in the North Dakota State Legislature.

Josh Meny sat down with a candidate who might flip one of the few remaining democratic-held senate seats to republican, Sean Cleary.

Sean, you bring quite the pedigree into this race. The University of Mary and UND alumnus. You worked for Senator Hoeven, his staff, and Governor Doug Burgum. You’re endorsed by both of those leaders, plus Congressman Armstrong and Insurance Commissioner John Godfread. With that said, the main issue that put your opponent, Senator Tracy Potter into this race, what drives him, is property tax relief. He’s put a plan forward. However, the Governor and the Tax Commissioner, Brian Kroshus, put forward income tax relief. Where do you stand on tax relief?

“Thanks for the question, Josh, you know, I really like to see property tax happen as an initial effort during the legislative session, I think there’s room for income tax relief to especially when you think of the benefits for folks who might not be property owners, but, you know, going door to door talking to thousands of people throughout this year, you know, property tax relief is definitely top of mind for voters. And I think something we have to get done next legislative session,” explained Republican candidate for District 35 Senate Sean Cleary

Now you say you’re going to fight for quality education? What does that look like?

“Yeah, you know, for me, education is foundational to the future success of our community. You can’t outrun having bad schools. And so for me, that means having schools where we can get quality teachers to come where parents feel empowered to send their kids there and where they have options. You know, it’s great to have a strong public school system and, and great to have options for folks who think private schools or homeschooling might be the best opportunity for their families,” said Cleary.

You say you’re guided by family, faith, hard work. You and your wife, Amy just had your firstborn this year. Congratulations. How do you plan to bring those values into the Capitol?

“Yeah, I appreciate that question. You know, my faith is a big part of my life, and I think drives a lot of the values that I hold and hope to bring to public office. And when I look to what inspires me to want to get involved in our community, you know, I’ve been really blessed to have a strong family life growing up and it’s something I try to be a model for, for my daughter and for my wife, and I’m incredibly blessed in that way too. And, you know, when you mentioned hard work for me, it’s, it’s all about being able to provide folks the opportunity to have a good paying job and be able to provide for their families and grow as a community here in Bismarck and in North Dakota,” explained Cleary.

Congressman Kelly Armstrong stumping for Sean Cleary at a campaign stop.
Cleary with wife Amy and their daughter at his undergrad alma mater, the University of Mary.