Sen. Heitkamp in Farewell Speech “I want you to continue to dream and continue to believe”
WASHINGTON – North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp had an emotional goodbye to Washington after one term in a farewell speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday.
The Democrat told her colleagues “gridlock and partisanship does not have to rule the day.”
The 63-year-old says she fought every day for rural America. That includes what Heitkamp believes are her biggest successes like passing her bill to crack down on websites facilitating human trafficking like Backpage.com and getting Savanna’s Act passed in the Senate. It would address the crisis of missing and murdered Native American women.
“I want you to keep fighting for those shared dreams, those dreams you shared with me, for those ideas that you had that will move this country forward. I want you to continue to dream and continue to believe,” Heitkamp said.
Heitkamp held back tears talking about her bout with breast cancer in 2000. She says she was given a slim chance to live and used the time “God gave me” to pursue a “good and noble” cause in the Senate.
Heitkamp served as North Dakota’s Tax Commissioner from 1986 to 1992 and as the state’s Attorney General from 1992 to 2000.
She lost her race for governor against now Sen. John Hoeven 55% to 45% in 2000 after Ed Schafer announced he would not seek a third term.
After Sen. Kent Conrad decided against seeking a fourth term in 2012, Heitkamp beat one term Congressman Rick Berg by 2,936 votes, a less than 1% victory.
After Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016, Heitkamp met with him at Trump Tower. Reports suggested she was being considered for Secretary of Interior or Secretary of Agriculture.
Congressman Kevin Cramer beat Heitkamp 55% to 44% in November and will be sworn in as senator on January 3rd.