Senator Heidi Heitkamp United States Senator for North Dakota

Press Releases

Aug 04 2016

Heitkamp Releases Strong & Safe Communities Report

New Report Compiles Innovative Ideas from more than 150 North Dakotans to Address the Emerging Challenges across the State and Help Build a North Dakota for Today and Tomorrow

MANDAN, N.D. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today released her Strong & Safe Communities Report which offers a comprehensive set of proposals to address the emerging challenges facing North Dakota and seek a strong future for the state.

The report, entitled “Building a North Dakota for Today and Tomorrow,” is a key piece of Heitkamp’s Strong & Safe Communities Initiative. It incorporates the many ideas of more than 150 community leaders from across North Dakota who participated in her Strong & Safe Communities Summit in October 2015 as well as feedback from members of her Strong and Safe Communities Task Force. It also includes a summary of the economic and safety challenges North Dakota currently faces, like the increase of oil trains going through communities, crime, human trafficking, economic development issues, and others. Lastly, the report goes over actions Heitkamp has taken over the past three and a half years in the U.S. Senate to support North Dakota’s communities, as well as actions she will take in the future to tackle North Dakota’s growth and safety challenges.

Click here for a copy of Heitkamp’s Strong & Safe Communities Report.

“Building a strong and safe future for North Dakota means not just living in today, but looking ahead to what the state will look like a few decades from now. It means working as a community to solve community problems,” said Heitkamp. “When I first launched my Strong & Safe Communities Initiative in 2014, I pledged to work with North Dakotans to address the emerging challenging in the state. Our kids shouldn’t have to worry about human trafficking, drugs, or gangs, and they should live in a state with a strong, diverse economy that enables them to grow their families here. Our state has seen tremendous growth, but too often we now read about opioid abuse, crime, and other challenges on the front pages of our newspapers. But we can change that by seeking real, workable solutions to build a stronger, safer North Dakota. I’m hopeful this report helps pave the way as we continue this effort.”

Launched in September 2014, Heitkamp’s Strong & Safe Communities Initiative aims  to help address some of the new challenges facing the state by bringing a greater focus to keeping North Dakota’s communities strong and families safe in their homes. Heitkamp had pledged to put together a report with recommendations that incorporate feedback from North Dakotans on how to help communities accomplish that goal. Heitkamp’s Strong & Safe Communities Initiative specifically aims to address the increase of:

  • Transportation of crude oil on the rails
  • Human trafficking and domestic violence
  • Crime and drug crime
  • Indian Country challenges
  • Economic development and community impact issues
  • 21st century security challenges
  • Border security issues

In October 2015, Heitkamp held her Strong & Safe Communities Summit which brought together about 150 community leaders from across North Dakota to discuss solutions to build a strong future for the state. It offered a productive and collaborative way for North Dakotans in various fields – including law enforcement, social workers, advocates, and government officials – to discuss challenges they face, talk about what is and is not working to combat issues in their communities, and brainstorm new ideas to address these challenges. As part of the Initiative, Heitkamp also launched a Task Force in 2014 comprised of North Dakotans who have solid understandings of many of the new challenges the state faces.

Even before the derailment of a train carrying crude oil in Casselton in 2013, Heitkamp has been fighting to increase safety for North Dakota families. Through her efforts in the U.S. Senate, Heitkamp has been working to address the emerging challenges North Dakota faces by introducing and supporting legislation, pressing federal agencies, holding congressional hearings, working with local and national advocates, holding events in North Dakota, and much more.

North Dakota has reaped major rewards from the state’s energy boom. For years, the state had the lowest unemployment rate in the country, thousands of open jobs, and innovation, research, and development taking place. Even as oil and commodity prices have dropped, such rapid growth has impacted North Dakota, bringing with it new law enforcement, infrastructure, and safety challenges – many of which are now clearer as growth has slowed. Heitkamp has already been working to address these issues, and through her Strong & Safe Communities Initiative she is raising more awareness about them and providing a tangible plan to tackle them moving forward to help build a strong future for North Dakota. 

To view more details about Heitkamp’s Strong & Safe Communities Initiative click here, and to learn more about her work and proposals through the Initiative click here.


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