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Profile of Sen Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota

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Profile of Sen Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota Courtesy of the Heitkamp for Senate Campaign

Sen Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota:

Democrat Heidi Heitkamp was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012 in a surprise victory over her Republican opponent in red-state North Dakota. Heitkamp served as Attorney General for the state of North Dakota from 1993 to 2000, and as state Tax Commissioner from 1986 to 1992.

From 2001 until her election in 2012 as U.S. senator, Heidi Heitkamp as a director of a synthetic natural gas producing company based in North Dakota. in the early 1980s, Heitkamp worked briefly as an attorney for the Environmental Pollution Agency (EPA).

Heidi Heitkamp's Political Stances:

When running for office, Heitkamp criticized her Republican opponent for wanting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. However, the new, moderate senator has commented that she found Obamacare to be both "good and bad," adding that "it needs to be fixed."

Although Heitkamp opposes privatization of Social Security and conversion of Medicare to a voucher system, she also believes that the U.S. federal government should aim to balance its budget by cutting deficit spending, with exceptions. Specified exceptions include wartime spending and both Social Security and Medicare. (See quote below.)

Personal Data:

  • Birth - October 30, 1955 in Mantador, North Dakota, a rural farming town, one of seven children born to her working class family.
  • B.A. in political science in 1977, University of North Dakota. J.D. in 1980, Lewis and Clark Law School.
  • Family - Married to Dr. Darwin Lange, a general practioner physician. Two adult children: Nathan and Alethea, a graduate of University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins University. Daughter Alethea has worked since 2009 as legislative correspondent for the U.S. Senate.
  • Faith - Catholic
Sen. Heitkamp's brother, Joel, was a North Dakota state senator from 1994 to 2008, and is a talk show host on North Dakota radio.

Sen Heidi Heitkamp on the Issues:

On Bipartisan Cooperation and U.S. Energy Policy

"Republicans want to increase drilling and domestic energy production. and Democrats want to increase sources of alternative energy to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. They’re both right. But we won’t get anywhere if both sides aren’t willing to give a little to get a little...

"The simple fact is that coal and oil will be part of our energy mix for years to come. But alternative energy sources like wind and solar can also play a role in creating a reliable, balanced energy mix that reduces our dependence on foreign energy sources."

On Honoring Promises Made to Seniors

"I believe in respecting and honoring the promises we made to our seniors. As Senator, I will work to protect and preserve not only programs like Medicare and Social Security, which are the bedrock programs that allow our seniors to remain independent and secure, but I will also fight for important programs like Meals on Wheels, which help our seniors remain active in their homes.

"Our seniors have paid into Medicare for years. And now more than ever, we should honor the promises that we made to them. I won’t vote to take away care from seniors who depend on Medicare, and I won’t vote to privatize it either...

"More than 100,000 North Dakotans rely on Social Security today. Unlike my opponent, who once voted to privatize Social Security, I oppose those efforts, which would be nothing more than a massive giveaway to many of the very same Wall Street banks that crashed our economy."

On Fixing the Federal Fiscal Mess

"Yes, we can get the nation’s fiscal house back in order, but only if we send people to Washington willing to put our country ahead of partisan politics and focus on creating jobs and cutting spending....

"There is nothing stopping politicians in Washington, D.C. from balancing the budget, but recent history suggests that they just won’t get it done. These days, too many politicians in Washington prefer to wage partisan fights instead of coming together to solve problems.

"Instead of actually making the tough decisions, Congress simply kicks the can down the road with gimmicks that fail to produce meaningful solutions. The bipartisan 'Super Committee' had more power to begin to fix the budget mess than dozens of blue-ribbon committees that went before. And still they failed. "Fiscal discipline won’t come by itself. That’s why I am committed to supporting a balanced budget amendment that doesn’t put Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block."

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