North Dakotan Democrats prepare for November

Senator Heitkamp says she will focus on bipartisanship and cooperation

North Dakota’s 2018 Democratic Convention was held in Grand Forks at the Alerus Center over the last weekend of spring break, and the Dems came out in full force. 

Senator Heidi Heitkamp and her staff of campaigners set up camp throughout the Alerus Center, aligning rows and rows of chairs that faced a stage backdropped by an LED screen larger than an IMAX. They propped up platforms and plugins for the press, splattering the main entrance walls with Heitkamp posters and paraphernalia, all heightened by random badge checks and youthful volunteers. 

 There was an exciting buzz that filled the air as delegates, reporters, supporters and security personnel zipped throughout the arena during the four-day convention. Speaking at the event was U.S. Vice President Joe Biden as well as other Democratic heavy-hitters. Those in attendance witnessed Senator Heitkamp win the nomination for her current Senate seat, where she will race against presumptive Republican nominee and current U.S. Representative Kevin Cramer. 

 While in Grand Forks, Heitkamp spoke about her connection to the city and its potential.  

“This is my alma mater,” Heitkamp said. “I think all the time about what we can do to make this institution more recognized nationally and what we can do to honor the students here with jobs and opportunity.” 

 She said this race is different because she’s an incumbent, but feels proud of what she’s done during her term in Washington. With North Dakota being predominantly Republican-controlled in the State Congress, she noted that her goal isn’t to turn the state blue. Instead, her campaign focuses on bipartisanship and cooperation.  

“You may not get everything like, I may not get everything I like, but we’ll have made decisions that make the people believe we’re legislating and that we’re moving the country forward,” Heitkamp said. 

Rather than picking sides, she said voters should pick issues. She specifically spoke about the foster care system and the student debt problem, as well as supporting equal work for equal pay. 

“One of the reasons why we have gender disparity is because women get pregnant, they have babies, they leave the workforce and they sometimes cannot afford to come back, or cannot afford to work because of high daycare cost,” Heitkamp said. “I have introduced something called the Family Act that would provide three months of paid family leave and would guarantee that people could go home and take care of sick moms and dads and also raise a family.” 

Jacob Noterman is a staff writer for Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]

Andre Marquis Washington is a news writer for Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]