U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp is the first female Senator elected from North Dakota. She took the oath of office on January 3, 2013.
Throughout her life, Senator Heitkamp has stood out as an advocate for North Dakotans – that can be seen from her time in public service in North Dakota, to her work at Dakota Gasification, to her service in the U.S. Senate.
Already in her short time in the Senate, Senator Heitkamp has quickly become a proven Senator who works across the aisle to fight for North Dakotans. Senator Heitkamp has personally shown that if Senators work together, it can lead to real solutions.
As a former director of the one-of-a-kind Dakota Gasification synfuels plant, Senator Heitkamp has a long record of serving as a champion for North Dakota’s energy jobs and industry. She is continuing those efforts in the Senate, working to responsibly harness North Dakota’s energy resources, and promoting the state’s all-of-the-above energy plan which she believes should serve as a model for the entire country.
Senator Heitkamp sits on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, where she’s been fighting since day one to support North Dakota’s farmers and ranchers, and make sure they get the resources and support they need so they can continue to feed North Dakota, our country, and the world.
As a member on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Senator Heitkamp is continuing her pledge -- from her time as North Dakota’s Attorney General -- to stand up for Native American families and make sure the U.S. government lives up to its treaty and trust responsibilities.
Through her leadership on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Senator Heitkamp has quickly shown her strong work to reform the nation’s housing finance system, make housing more affordable, and address North Dakota’s housing shortage.
Senator Heitkamp also serves on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs which has oversight over government operations generally and the Department of Homeland Security. And she sits on the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, where she works on issues critical to small businesses.
Senator Heitkamp previously served as North Dakota’s Attorney General, battling drug dealers, protecting senior citizens from scams, and working to keep sexual predators off streets and away from kids, even after their prison terms were up.
During her time as Attorney General, Senator Heitkamp continued her work as an advocate for the people by helping to broker an agreement between 46 states and the tobacco industry, which forced the tobacco industry to tell the truth about smoking and health. The settlement resulted in the award of about $336 million to North Dakota taxpayers to date. It was one of the largest civil settlements in U.S. history. When very little of this funding was being spent on anti-tobacco programs as intended, Senator Heitkamp led a successful ballot initiative in 2008 that mandated significant increases.
Previously, Senator Heitkamp served as North Dakota’s Tax Commissioner. Under her tenure, the State of North Dakota attempted to make catalog retailers collect the sales tax the state and municipalities were already owed on sales. The debate went all the way to the Supreme Court in the case Quill v. North Dakota, which found that the U.S. Congress had the ultimate power to resolve the issue. Senator Heitkamp has continued to be a leader in bringing this issue forward, including already in the U.S. Senate.
Senator Heitkamp grew up in a large family in the small town of Mantador, North Dakota. Her mother was a school cook and custodian, and her father was a truck driver and seasonal construction worker. Alongside her six brothers and sisters, she learned the values of hard work and responsibility, leading her to choose a life of public service.
Senator Heitkamp received a B.A. from the University of North Dakota and a law degree from Lewis and Clark Law School. She lives in Mandan, North Dakota with her husband, Dr. Darwin Lange, a family practitioner. They have two children, Ali and Nathan.