McCain Institute Board of Trustees
U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp served as the first female senator elected from North Dakota from 2013-2019.
Senator Heitkamp grew up in a large family in the small town of Mantador, North Dakota. Alongside her six brothers and sisters, she learned the value of hard work and responsibility, leading her to choose a life of public service.
During her six years in the U.S. Senate, Senator Heitkamp quickly became a proven senator who worked across the aisle to fight for North Dakotans. Senator Heitkamp personally showed that if senators work together, it can lead to real solutions.
Throughout her time in public service, Senator Heitkamp has stood up for tribal communities and worked to improve outcomes for Native American children, women, and families. The first bill she introduced in the Senate, which became law in 2016, created a Commission on Native Children. Her bill with former Senator John McCain became law to create Amber Alerts in Indian Country. She introduced Savanna’s Act to help address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women. And she worked to help address the detrimental impact exposure to trauma can have on children and families — particularly those in Native communities.
On the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Senator Heitkamp pushed to provide training and resources for first responders and also worked to combat human trafficking in North Dakota, across the country, and around the world. She helped write legislation, which was signed into law, to crack down on trafficking online, which led to the closure of Backpage.com.
Senator Heitkamp has a long record with energy development in North Dakota. She continued those efforts in the Senate, working to responsibly harness North Dakota’s energy resources, and successfully pushed to lift the 40-year old ban on exporting U.S. crude oil while expanding support for renewable energies, like wind and solar energy development.
Senator Heitkamp sat on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, where she helped write, negotiate, and pass two long-term, comprehensive Farm Bills, which Congress passed.
Through her leadership on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Senator Heitkamp pushed to reform the nation’s housing finance system, make housing more affordable, and provide relief to small financial institutions.
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. She helped broker an agreement between 46 states and the tobacco industry, which forced the tobacco industry to tell the truth about smoking and health. It was one of the largest civil settlements in U.S. history.
Prior to her time as Attorney General, Senator Heitkamp served as North Dakota’s Tax Commissioner. Senator Heitkamp received a B.A. from the University of North Dakota and a law degree from Lewis and Clark Law School. She currently serves as a contributor to CNBC. She lives in Mandan, North Dakota with her husband, Dr. Darwin Lange, a family practitioner. They have two children, Ali and Nathan.