In North Dakota, agriculture isn’t just an industry, it’s a way of life for so many families. Agriculture makes up 25 percent of North Dakota’s economic base, and nearly 24 percent of the workforce is engaged in production agriculture. At the same time, risks in agriculture have never been higher. It can cost over a million dollars to simply put a crop in the ground. Factors beyond a farmer’s control – such as disastrous weather events, drought, infestations or price collapse – can put an entire family farm at risk. That is why we need a safety net to cushion the downside losses inherent to agriculture.
As a member of both the U.S. Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Senator Heitkamp is focused on reducing federal spending and the deficit, while supporting small businesses and promoting economic development in our communities.
Senator Heitkamp believes we need to give our kids the opportunities to succeed starting at a young age and continue those opportunities and resources as they get older. That means boosting early childhood education and investing in Head Start programs for families struggling to get by. It means helping students do their best in school all the way through high school and college. And it means enabling students to afford to go college and not get bogged down in loans they won’t ever be able to pay off.
North Dakota has become the epicenter for energy development and production in the U.S. Our state has been blessed with abundant natural resources and is situated geographically to also be a leader in renewable forms of energy and fuels. This diverse energy mix has allowed the energy industry to match-up favorably with agriculture in our state to form a solid backbone for a thriving economy in North Dakota. Energy in North Dakota means more than just providing electricity to keep the lights on, in our state it means good paying jobs, a growing population, low unemployment, increased revenue for infrastructure and other critical needs, development of new and innovate technologies and methods, and industries that have brought small communities across this state back to life.
Senator Heitkamp believes everyone has a right to affordable, quality health care. In 2000, Senator Heitkamp was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a terrifying experience, but she was fortunate because she had good health insurance so she could afford the care she needed. But too many families aren’t so lucky. That’s why Senator Heitkamp is fighting to make sure families get the care they deserve. She’s also working to reduce the cost of health care throughout the country, which puts a strain on the national budget as well as families’ pocketbooks.
One of Senator Heitkamp’s top priorities is addressing North Dakota’s housing shortage. Our state is in a very different situation than most other states -- rather than facing a housing crisis because of the recent recession, North Dakota faces one because of our state’s economic boom. It’s estimated that by 2025, North Dakota will need 30 percent more housing units. As a key member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs – which oversees housing policy – Senator Heitkamp is uniquely positioned to tackle this complicated issue, and she is working tirelessly to make sure the state has quality, affordable housing options.
Senator Heitkamp is dedicated to making sure our Native American brothers and sisters are not forgotten. For far too long, the extreme poverty on reservations has been ignored, and Senator Heitkamp – a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee – has made a commitment to play a major role in educating her colleagues and the public of the need to work together with Native Americans to improve conditions in Indian Country.
In North Dakota, we understand the importance of military service. We see the proud sense of service throughout the state in our Air Force Bases, National Guard units, veterans clinics, and VA medical centers. North Dakotans serve in the National Guard at a rate that is more than four times the national average. It’s a telling statistic, showing our state’s dedication to serving both in the National Guard and beyond. Senator Heitkamp believes we need to support our servicemembers, and make sure they have the support they deserve on and off the battlefield.
No state in the country faces a greater need for transportation infrastructure investment than North Dakota. With the explosive growth that has occurred in the oil patch region, great stress has been placed on our transportation infrastructure.
In North Dakota, we have a deep sense of patriotism and that can be seen in the strong military service throughout the state – including at our Air Force Bases. Our veterans put their lives on the line to protect our country. And Senator Heitkamp believes we need to make sure they get the support and services they deserve when they return home. Senator Heitkamp will continue to fight for our veterans, just as they fought for us.
Nothing is more important to North Dakota than water. Whether it’s flood control or water supply projects, North Dakotans have a lot at stake. In every corner of our state, we face challenges -- from providing a stable supply of safe drinking water for our growing communities and rural water systems, to advancing permanent flood protection, aiding communities recovering from disaster, and making sure flood insurance remains affordable.