TRIBUTE TO HEIDI HEITKAMP; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 195
(Senate - December 11, 2018)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Pages S7400-S7405]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                       TRIBUTE TO HEIDI HEITKAMP

  Mr. HOEVEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to be recognized 
for comments on behalf of my friend from North Dakota.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection.
  Mr. HOEVEN. Mr. President, I rise today to speak on behalf of Senator 
Heitkamp and to thank her for her service on behalf of the people of 
North Dakota, as well as the people of this great Nation.
  We have served together for the past 6 years, not only in the Senate 
but also on the Agriculture Committee, the Indian Affairs Committee, 
and the Homeland Security Committee.
  We have been able to work together on a variety of issues important 
to our home State, and we have been able to make progress on behalf of 
the people of North Dakota, as well as the country.
  Ag is still North Dakota's top industry. As members of the Ag 
Committee, we have had the opportunity to craft good, long-term foreign 
policy that will make a difference not only for hard-working farmers 
and ranchers in North Dakota but across the Nation. In fact, we have 
just released the conference report with our Ag Committee leadership, 
Senator Roberts and Senator Stabenow. I commend them for their hard 
work as well.
  Good farm policy benefits every American, every day with the highest 
quality, lowest cost food supply in the world. Certainly, as a fellow 
``aggie,'' Senator Heitkamp understands that.
  I think it is really important that we continue to point out that a 
good farm bill isn't just about farmers and ranchers. As I said, the 
highest quality, lowest cost food supply in the world, thanks to our 
farmers and ranchers, benefits every single American every single day.
  I know Senator Heitkamp will continue to work, along with our entire 
delegation, to get the farm bill approved by the end of this year so we 
can provide certainty and security for our great producers.
  As chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, I have appreciated 
Senator Heitkamp's commitment to help empower our Tribal communities 
and to improve the quality of life in Indian Country. Senator Heitkamp 
has been an advocate for Native communities. She was able to pass 
bipartisan legislation to establish a commission on Native children. 
Additionally, the Senate recently approved Senator Heitkamp's Savanna's 
Act, which is legislation to bring greater awareness regarding tragic 
cases of missing and murdered Native American women.
  She has helped to bring awareness to these issues. We will have a 
hearing on the issue this week as well. We appreciate her insight and 
work as a member of our committee.
  These are just a few examples of the issues that we have worked on 
together to advance. While we may be on opposite sides of the political 
aisle, there is one thing we have always agreed on--that it is an 
honor--an incredible honor--to serve the great State of North Dakota.
  In closing, I want to wish Senator Heitkamp the best going forward 
and to thank her again for her service on behalf of North Dakota--a 
place that we are both blessed to call home.
  Thank you.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I also rise to honor my Senator next 
door and my great colleague Senator Heitkamp.
  As you could see from her beautiful remarks, she is a person of true 
courage and strength and a friend to so many. We saw this strength when 
she was running for Governor while battling breast cancer. We saw it 
when she stood up for the people of North Dakota as their attorney 
general, and we see that courage every single day in the U.S. Senate, 
as she fights for the people of her State and the values that have 
defined her as a public servant.
  She is simply one of the best and one of a kind. Going forward, I 
hope that people will listen to the speech that she just gave about 
those seven generations, because that is service.
  Heidi has always been true to herself and as mavericky as her red 
hair. When I walk into a room filled with dark suits and I see that red 
hair in the middle of it, I know where to go and exactly what I will 
find. There is her joy and her optimism, so much of it coming from 
growing up in a family of seven kids. There is her sense of humor, 
which I love, even when it is mixed with some serious trash talk, even 
when it is directed at my State next door. There is that friendship, 
which I treasure above all else. There is the example she sets of what 
one person can accomplish when you combine so much heart and fierce 
  We saw it with the human trafficking legislation that she talked 
about today. We saw it with her work on energy. We saw it with her work 
for her farmers. Thanks to leaders like Heidi, we are making progress 
on so many issues.
  I will never forget the trip that I got to take to Mexico with 
Senator Heitkamp and Cindy McCain on human trafficking. One of the most 
memorable moments was when we visited a shelter of girls who had seen 
unspeakable tragedy. We met a little girl named Paloma. That means 
``dove'' in Spanish. That girl, unlike the other

[[Page S7401]]

ones, didn't say a word. All she did was cry. That is all she did. It 
made me think of what a refugee once said. She said that what she had 
seen in her life would make ``stones cry.''
  I saw the tears going down Heidi's face as that girl was just sitting 
there crying. Heidi just doesn't watch that happen. She comes back, and 
she takes those tears and puts them into action. That girl had no 
voice. Heidi was her voice. She has done that time and again.
  As she mentioned, everywhere you go in North Dakota, you practically 
meet a member of her family, and somehow they all look the same.
  There is also her wonderful husband Darwin, whom I adore. One of my 
favorite Darwin stories was the time when we took the first all-women 
Senators trip to Africa, and Heidi and I were sitting next to each 
other with some people out in the countryside, with the elders. On one 
side were all the women, with the women Senators, and on the other side 
were all the men. I turned to Heidi--because all of the elders were 
wearing these incredible hats and outfits--and I said: Who is the guy 
at the end with the baseball cap?
  She said: That is Darwin.
  There he was. He was always there, always there for her.
  So that is Heidi.
  I will end with one story from that trip; that is, when we were in a 
hut in the middle of nowhere, and there was a woman who lived there, a 
widow, with her kids. We went into that hut, these women Senators, and 
started asking that woman who was so proud of everything she had done--
all that was in this hut was one solar panel that she got for her work 
and one thing on the wall, which was a chart that showed all of the 
huts. It showed her with a star in the middle, and it showed how she 
had helped to make sure they had good hygiene and if they got baby 
care, as she was in charge of that.
  One of us asked this woman, who we had learned had walked every day, 
an hour and a half each day, to get water: What is your biggest 
  This woman looked at these Senators and looked at this Senator with 
red hair from America and said: I have no challenges. I am a leader.
  That is Heidi Heitkamp. She is a leader. Whatever challenges she has 
overcome in her life--health, representing a State that isn't always 
easy when you look at it politically for a Democrat, the challenges she 
had bucking our own party, taking things on--every single moment, she 
overcame those challenges because Heidi Heitkamp is a leader.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, as I listened to Senator Heitkamp's 
farewell remarks to us today, I could not help but think of the fact 
that she used her final speech on the Senate floor not just to talk 
about her accomplishments, of which there are many, but to inspire us. 
It was a call to action. It was a call to the better angels of 
ourselves to work together in the interests of our country.
  Maine and North Dakota are separated by a great distance, but the 
people of our two States have in common the qualities of hard work, of 
respect for tradition, balanced by a spirit of innovation and a belief 
in personal responsibility, always tempered by compassion.
  During her years in the Senate, Heidi Heitkamp has demonstrated those 
qualities time and again. She is passionate, as we heard today; she is 
energetic, as we have seen in her work; and she is a committed public 
servant who has worked so diligently for her State and for our country.
  Senator Heitkamp has a remarkable record of public service. As her 
State's attorney general, she fought to protect the people of North 
Dakota against drug dealers, to defend seniors against abusive scams, 
and to keep sexual predators off the streets.
  Senator Heitkamp has continued those causes, that fight as a Member 
of the U.S. Senate. Among the many issues on which we have worked 
together, Senator Heitkamp's determined leadership on efforts to 
support victims of human trafficking and to prevent youth homelessness 
stand out. She and I led the charge to increase Federal funding for the 
Runaway and Homeless Youth Act and the McKinney-Vento Education for 
Homeless Children and Youth Program.
  She has also been such a strong advocate for children, as you all 
heard today. She has worked to help teenagers who find themselves 
without a permanent home or on the street.
  I was proud to stand with her in helping to forge the bipartisan path 
forward on the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, which became law 
and includes Senator Heitkamp's provision to give safe harbor to 
victims of human trafficking. She has also shed light on the role 
healthcare providers can play in identifying and protecting the victims 
of human trafficking by authoring the Stop, Observe, Ask, and Respond 
to Health and Wellness Act--the SOAR Act--on which I was proud to be 
her lead Republican.
  Senator Heitkamp has been such a valued leader in strengthening our 
agriculture. In fact, the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee 
was just talking about the absolutely vital role she has played working 
with both the chairman and the ranking member. She knows that when we 
strengthen agriculture, we sustain our rural communities.
  The Next Generation in Agriculture Act that she authored and I 
cosponsored will ensure that new farmers and ranchers have the support 
and guidance they need.
  It has been so rewarding to work with Senator Heitkamp on so many 
bipartisan issues, such as improving school nutrition, increasing 
access to healthcare in underserved areas, and expanding mental health 
services for our rural vets. She was also instrumental in the success 
of the Common Sense Coalition in preventing a lengthy government 
shutdown earlier this year.
  Senator Heitkamp has been an effective and courageous colleague, but 
most of all, she has been a dear friend. Our friendship transcends 
party lines and is rooted in mutual respect and trust.
  To my friend, I say thank you for your service to our country and 
thank you so much for your friendship. I am so grateful that we served 
together, and I wish you all the best.
  Thank you.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. TESTER. Mr. President, I want to talk for just a few minutes 
about Senator Heidi Heitkamp, but first I want to start by talking a 
little bit about why North Dakota is so important to me.
  My grandfather and grandmother lived in Argusville, in West Fargo, 
and moved to the place where I farm in about 1910, so I have always had 
a kinship with North Dakota.
  Before I came to this body--even before I got into the State 
legislature--I always looked at North Dakota with envy because they had 
two U.S. Senators by the names of Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad. I 
thought they were incredibly effective people, and when I got to this 
body, I found out that in fact they were. Byron used to talk about 
Rosie the Riveter and trade and Kent used to talk about the budget.
  Then there was this lady by the name of Heidi Heitkamp, who decided 
to run when Kent hung up his cleats. I remember sitting in caucus as 
the campaign unfolded in 2012. As a candidate, especially in a tough 
State like North Dakota is or a tough State like Montana is, you always 
worry about different issues as they are coming down the pike and how 
you were going to deal with them and how you were going to message 
them. Healthcare was a big deal in the 2012 election. I saw one of the 
ads Heidi had offered up. She didn't step away from the issue. She laid 
into the issue. That was a sign of what was to come when she got into 
this body.
  I remember the night she got elected and, as she pointed out, she 
wasn't supposed to get elected, but she did because she is a special 
person and a special candidate. I remember driving home the next 
morning, and I called Kent Conrad. I said: Congratulations. He said: 
You are going to love Heidi Heitkamp. She is an incredible person. I 
remember he also said: What you are going to love about her the most is 
that she is normal. In this body, that says a lot--because Heidi 
Heitkamp is normal. She is somebody who sees the world as it is. She 
sees rural America as it is. She has leaned into every issue. They have 
been well documented

[[Page S7402]]

here today. She has been incredibly effective in this body, but most 
importantly--and most of what this body is going to have to compensate 
for when she goes--every issue she brought up today revolves around 
rural America.
  Not many people live in rural America anymore. We have all moved to 
the coast or we have moved to the bigger cities. She is right; Fargo is 
the big city. In Montana, people have moved from the rural areas to the 
big cities like Great Falls and Billings and Missoula. Those people and 
their challenges in those rural areas are real. Heidi Heitkamp brought 
those challenges to the floor, brought them to committee every single 
day. I can't tell you how much I appreciate that, being a child of 
rural America.
  So as we move forward, as Heidi has given her last speech on the 
Senate floor and laid out the challenges we need to take up in this 
Senate--and the challenges she laid out are real and they will not get 
solved by one party or the other, they will only get solved, as she 
knows, by working together. I will say this. You have been an 
incredible friend, an incredible ally, somebody who is normal, and I 
wish you Godspeed moving ahead. I am sure we haven't heard the last of 
Heidi Heitkamp.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.
  Mr. ROBERTS. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Montana for his 
comments and those of Senator Klobuchar, as well as my distinguished 
colleague and friend from Maine.
  Normal; maybe ``supernormal'' would be a better term. Every time 
Heidi Heitkamp came into our committee room--I had the privilege and 
the honor of being the chairman of the sometimes powerful Senate 
Agriculture Committee, along with my distinguished ranking member, 
Senator Stabenow, whom I will yield to in just a moment. Every time she 
came into the committee room, it might be a little bit late, but it was 
like a ray of sunshine came in and a ray of commitment.
  Heidi, thank you for that speech. Thank you for those marching 
orders, if you will. This marine will cease parade rest and come to 
attention and do the best I can following your example.
  I want to say something to Heidi's staff. I don't know if the Senate 
cameras will do this--they obviously have me on there--but it would be 
a good idea to pan these young people over there.
  Senator Frank Carlson, a long time ago--one of my mentors, my first 
boss from Kansas--said there are no self-made men or women in public 
office. It is your friends who make you what you are. I relate to that, 
saying friends, people, staff. We all think we have the best staff on 
the Hill, and if we don't think that, something is wrong. You have had 
the privilege of working for a lady who has great admiration from both 
sides of the aisle, who has accomplished so much. This time is so 
special for you, and thank you for what you have done for Heidi. Thank 
you for getting her prepared, ready. You didn't have to do too much 
because she does that on her own, but during this special time, see if 
you can take this step and then the next step in your life--and it 
prepares you for that next step--and shine. Represent Heidi well. 
Represent yourself well.
  I think you have had a rare privilege to work for somebody like Heidi 
Heitkamp. She has been a good friend to me and a good friend to so many 
  We aren't going to miss you because you are going to be back in some 
capacity--maybe taking time off from what you are doing in your home 
State of North Dakota. Everybody who knows you knows you are going to 
be back in public service in some capacity.
  I think I will stop right there and yield to my distinguished 
colleague, the ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, 
Senator Stabenow.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, today I rise to pay tribute to someone 
who has made a really big impression from the day she set foot in the 
  It might be her infectious laugh; I dare you not to smile when you 
hear it. It might be her hugs, which I know many of my colleagues on 
both sides of the aisle will miss. Or it might be her ever-present iced 
coffee, no matter how cold it is outside. I might be biased, but I 
think it is the hair.
  Saying goodbye to Senator Heidi Heitkamp is hard for many of us, 
especially the members of the Senate Redhead Caucus. After all, we are 
losing a third of our membership.
  In all seriousness, I will miss Heidi, and I know I am not alone. I 
have had the chance to get to know her from the very beginning, back 
when she was first running for the Senate. I campaigned with her in 
North Dakota, and the thing that really struck me was her passion for 
the people of her State and for agriculture.
  We have had the opportunity to work closely together during our time 
on the Agriculture Committee and especially as members of the farm bill 
conference committee. I can tell you that Heidi has been instrumental 
in getting this deal done and in making sure that North Dakota's 
farmers and ranchers are well-represented.
  Thanks to Heidi, we have taken huge steps forward in trade with Cuba; 
it is her language in the farm bill.
  She wasn't afraid to go her own way in order to stand up for North 
Dakota. Even when we didn't agree on issues like conservation 
easements, Heidi fought for her farmers and got it done.
  I would like to think her passion comes from her red hair, but in 
reality, I think it is her oversized heart. Whether she was listening 
to the struggles of women farmers during our women's agriculture CODEL 
in Africa, or shining a light on the epidemic of missing and murdered 
Native American women, or sharing her own story of surviving breast 
cancer and the need to protect people with preexisting conditions, in a 
city where spreadsheets rule, Heidi threw her heart into this job, and 
her State and our Nation are better for it.
  Heidi, thank you for your friendship, your leadership, and for 
putting your whole heart into fighting for North Dakota.
  I join my great friend Senator Roberts, first of all, in indicating 
what a huge difference you have made on the Agriculture Committee. From 
the day you walked in, you hit the ground running and have made an 
incredible difference.
  As you were talking today about some parts--and we could go through 
every single chapter--you made a difference. The Tribal provisions are 
in there. But you mentioned Cuba, and this is very historic. It took 
work on the Senate floor to be able to move it through. It took work 
for us in the conference committee. It is because of you that it is in 
there and opportunities for farmers are in there.
  I also greatly appreciate that when we had differences--like 
conservation and easements--you pushed hard and were successful in 
getting changes for North Dakota that needed to happen. It was you who 
did that. Others took credit, but you did that.
  When I think about our traveling together to Africa and think about 
the impact you have had on women and children--whether it is Native 
women and children, whether it was what we were doing overseas, whether 
it was what you have done every day for all of our children--I am so 
  Most importantly, I am grateful for your friendship. I am going to 
miss you greatly. I wish you Godspeed while you determine the future. I 
know it will be bright, and hopefully in some way we will all be 
benefiting from it.
  God bless you.
  Mr. ROBERTS. I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.
  Ms. HASSAN. Mr. President, I rise to join my colleagues in honoring 
and paying tribute to my friend and mentor, Senator Heidi Heitkamp.
  I am particularly and profoundly grateful for both her trailblazing 
work mentoring women who want to run for public office and her 
remarkable ability to get things done across party lines in the Senate.
  For years, Senator Heitkamp has been at the forefront of mentoring 
other women and encouraging them to enter public service, recognizing 
that balanced representation is vital to our country's success. In 
fact, Heidi Heitkamp and I first met through a program that she helped 
start to encourage and prepare women to run for

[[Page S7403]]

office--to do more than just tell us it was possible but to help us 
understand that there were ways to prepare for it, to run in our own 
way, to be our own people. She helped demonstrate that even though you 
may experience setbacks--including her own setback battling breast 
cancer--you still have what it takes to serve your communities and to 
make a difference. I am incredibly grateful for those lessons, I am 
incredibly grateful for her efforts because they have helped inspire 
women all across the country.
  All the issues that Heidi just talked about in her farewell speech--
there are now armies of current and future public servants who will 
take those issues and challenges as their own because she has helped 
prepare them to do that.
  Then there is Senator Heitkamp's work in the Senate. During the time 
we served together in the Senate, I have been so impressed by Senator 
Heitkamp's ability to stand up for her priorities and her values, while 
also working with anybody else here willing to step up to get results, 
particularly on issues such as fighting for rural communities, standing 
up for our country's veterans, strengthening our Nation's healthcare 
system, and, yes, reminding our colleagues that there is a northern 
border that needs to be secured and attended to.
  Serving together on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs 
Committee, I saw firsthand her capacity to be constructive and to find 
compromise. In doing so, she earned the respect and trust of her 
colleagues, while also building a record of bipartisan 
accomplishments--accomplishments we all know last because of their very 
  Above all, Senator Heitkamp was relentless in fighting for what she 
believed. Just ask any of the witnesses who testified before her on the 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
  It has been truly an honor to serve with Senator Heitkamp, and all of 
us need to continue to work to emulate her example--the example that 
she has set of listening to others and being productive, her commitment 
and her recognition of the importance of getting things done while 
always doing the right thing for the people we serve.
  Senator Heidi Heitkamp's voice in this Chamber will be sorely missed, 
but I also know that she will keep fighting to make a difference and 
that she will continue to do just that.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico.
  Mr. UDALL. Mr. President, I think all of us here watching Senator 
Heitkamp today give her farewell address were tremendously moved. I 
come away, first of all, with, this is a person of character, a person 
we have served with who cares about doing the right thing, a person who 
cares deeply about the issues that are before this august body and 
someone we will miss very much.
  By the evidence of the Republicans who turned out to listen here on 
the floor--and I am sure many others were listening in their offices--I 
think they may miss her more than Democrats because she worked with 
them so much. She cared about reaching across the aisle. She wasn't 
worried that it was going to hurt her back home because she was going 
to be solving problems.
  One of the things I think of when I think of Heidi Heitkamp is that I 
have known Heidi--she is my friend. She reminds me: Don't call me your 
oldest friend in the Senate. But she is my longest standing friend. I 
go back to the early 1990s with Heidi, when we were attorneys general 
together from two small States--New Mexico and North Dakota--and we 
have been very, very good friends since then.
  Heidi is a leader of principle. She wants to do the right thing, no 
matter what. That is pretty special in this institution we are in. She 
wants to do what is right by North Dakota and do what is right by our 
country. She always follows her conscience, and she gives the citizens 
of her State and this great country her very best judgment. That is 
really the spirit of a true public servant--to do what is right and let 
the chips fall where they may. A couple issues we have had recently are 
good examples, and I will talk about one back when we were attorneys 
general together.
  The Kavanaugh vote was a big vote for the Senate. I think it was 
probably a tough vote for Heidi, but I think she came to it with the 
idea that she was going to do the right thing. She had the courage to 
stand up for victims--victims of sexual assault, victims of sexual 
harassment, all of the permutations of that. I know that for the better 
part of her career--whether she was an attorney general, whether she 
was a U.S. Senator, or whether she was working in other capacities both 
in and out of government--she was always working for victims. I think 
one of the things that helped Heidi understand that so well was that 
her mother was sexually assaulted as a teenager. Knowing that--Heidi 
learned from that. She learned about the prevalence of it, that it was 
out there and it was deep and it was hidden in a lot of ways. So I saw 
early on, as a State attorney general, that she was a champion--a real 
champion--for victims.
  Shifting from the example I just gave with the vote on the Supreme 
Court, another example of her persistence to do what is right--nobody 
had ever taken on the tobacco industry, this huge industry. People 
talked a little bit and would say: It is so bad that people are 
addicted to smoking. But the attorneys general of our country in the 
1990s filed a lawsuit against the tobacco companies because they were 
targeting our children. We found research that showed tobacco companies 
knew that if you get young people addicted at a very young age, they 
are going to smoke for life. For them, it was all a profit motive. If 
you get a young person addicted, you know you are going to have a 
smoker for life; you know you will have somebody who is going to buy 
cigarettes for life. We knew that.
  She was one of the leaders in the attorneys general's effort to bring 
this horrible, horrible scourge under control. We filed our lawsuit. 
The tobacco companies saw what was coming. We did our discovery. They 
didn't want this case in court--there was no way. They were going to 
lose big. So we had what was the biggest civil settlement in the 
history of the country. After we knew we were going to have a 
settlement, the smaller States knew we had to have a tough negotiator 
to represent us because we were afraid that larger States--California, 
New York, and others--would get more of the money than we would. We all 
felt we had participated equally. So whom did we select? We selected 
Heidi Heitkamp to be our negotiator, and, boy, did she do a good job 
for the smaller States.
  Just to remind everybody, this year, $34 million from that settlement 
flows to the State of North Dakota. It was settled several decades ago, 
but the money is still coming in to do prevention, to help out with 
tobacco addiction, and to do what is really important there.
  The other quality I want to mention--and I know we are going over in 
terms of where we are supposed to be in our caucuses--there is a 
remarkable trait--and we saw this today, with everyone who turned out, 
and our staff knows this--Heidi Heitkamp is one of the most well-liked 
U.S. Senators by both sides of the aisle. She was so well-liked that 
President Trump--convinced he needed somebody in his Cabinet who was 
well-liked and respected--recruited Heidi Heitkamp to be his Secretary 
of Agriculture. I really think what the President was doing cozying up 
to her was trying to make friends in the Senate. He figured that if he 
got her, she was going to make a real difference, and he was hoping 
that her popularity would rub off on him.
  I will never forget when President Trump invited her up on the stage 
at one of his political rallies in September of 2017. He invited her up 
to the stage and said:

       Everybody's saying, ``What's she doing up here?'' But I'll 
     tell you what: Good woman.

  ``Good woman.'' Do you know what I say? No, Mr. President. She is a 
great woman. She is a great woman.
  I could go on forever, but I just want to comment--and Heidi 
commented about her commitment to Native communities, to Native women 
and to Native children. She worked as a State attorney general, she 
worked in the Senate, and she worked in other elected offices on this. 
She didn't give up. She is working in the Senate until the very end to 
make sure we get Savanna's Act passed, which is going to protect 
missing and indigenous women.
  We have already passed it through the Senate Indian Affairs 

[[Page S7404]]

and she is intent on making sure it gets passed this session, and I am 
going to work with her on that. She has worked on VAWA reauthorization. 
Heidi has always broadcast the core principles in our relations with 
Native communities--Tribal sovereignty, Tribal consultation, strong 
government-to-government relations--and she has always tried to make 
sure Senators who don't have Native communities understand the 
situation we are facing.
  My friendship with Heidi has made me a better public servant and a 
better person. Before we came here to serve, we had already known each 
other for many years--since the 1990's when we both served as State 
attorneys general. At that time, there was only a handful of women 
serving as their State's attorney general. Heidi herself was a 
trailblazer, serving as North Dakota's first female Attorney General.
  It was then I saw the first of the innumerable examples of her 
commitment to serving the people of North Dakota and the public 
  A number of attorneys general, including Heidi and I, initiated 
groundbreaking lawsuits against big tobacco. Those lawsuits were met 
with skepticism. The disease and terrible health impacts caused by 
tobacco products had cost States precious resources. The tobacco 
companies were working to lure underage youth to buy their harmful 
products through targeted advertising. Like so many other times in her 
life, Heidi's work helped us beat some long odds.
  Our lawsuits proved highly successful. North Dakota is still reaping 
the benefits, having received a $34 million tobacco settlement from 
those efforts just this year.
  In the years since, I have seen Heidi continue her dedication to 
public service and achieve great things, not least of which was 6 years 
ago when she became North Dakota's first woman elected to the U.S. 
  Although she has come far from her humble beginnings, she has never 
forgotten her roots. She fights for the working people of North Dakota 
and across the Nation.
  While Heidi is highly accomplished, she remains plain spoken, 
straight shooting, and down to earth.
  I have been privileged to serve with Heidi on the Senate Committee on 
Indian Affairs--a committee she knew from the get-go that she wanted to 
be on. She came to Washington ready to fight for Native communities in 
North Dakota, to make sure they weren't being left behind.
  She is a fierce defender of tribal sovereignty and demands that the 
federal government meet its treaty and trust responsibilities and 
engage in meaningful consultation with tribes when Federal action 
impacts tribal interests.
  Heidi has worked tirelessly on behalf of North Dakota's five tribes 
and all of Indian country.
  Just like when she was attorney general, I have seen her laser-
focused on protecting and empowering those most in need of a champion--
like children and domestic violence survivors.
  The very first bill Heidi introduced was to tackle the systemic 
problems facing Native children by establishing a National Commission.
  With more than one in three Native American children living in 
poverty, suicide rates 2.5 times higher than the national average, and 
one of the lowest high school graduation rates in the country, she knew 
we must do more--much more--for our Native youth. It was no surprise to 
me that she got that bill passed in short order before the end of her 
first Congress.
  For decades, Heidi has been on the frontlines of protecting victims 
of domestic violence. As attorneys general, we worked to implement the 
Violence Against Women Act after it first got passed in 1994.
  We continued the fight together here in the Senate. In fact, one of 
the first things we worked on was to help pass the 2013 VAWA 
reauthorization. That reauthorization was hard fought. We wanted to 
protect key provisions that restored tribal jurisdiction to domestic 
violence crimes committed by non-Indians on reservations. Those cases 
were falling through the cracks.
  At the time, opponents claimed that tribes didn't have the resources 
or expertise to enforce the Act. Thanks to the tireless work of Heidi 
and many of my colleagues on the Indian Affairs Committee, the 
provisions remained in the bill, and President Obama signed it into law 
in March 2013.
  Five years later, we know for a fact that those opponents were wrong. 
According to a report this year from the National Congress of American 
Indians, since VAWA of 2013 was enacted, 18 tribes have once again 
begun exercising jurisdiction over domestic violence crimes. NCAI is 
collaborating with 50 other tribes to develop best practices. There 
have been 143 arrests of 128 non-Indian abusers, with 74 convictions.
  Heidi has always prided herself on working across the aisle to get 
things done--whether she is tackling domestic violence or working to 
improve public safety.
  She partnered with my good friend John McCain to make sure that 
Indian Country is part of the AMBER Alert child abduction warning 
system. That bill was signed into law last April.
  Just last week, the full Senate unanimously passed one of Heidi's 
bills--Savanna's Act. Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind--a member of the 
Spirit Lake tribe, 22 years old, and 8 months pregnant--was brutally 
murdered in Fargo last year. The sad truth is, reportedly more than 80 
percent of Native women will experience violence in their lifetime. 
Heidi is determined to do something about that.
  Her bill would improve law enforcement tracking of and response to 
the growing crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women. Heidi has 
been an incredible voice combatting this crisis--working to make sure 
these women are not invisible. I have been touched by her commitment to 
this fight.
  I am inspired by Heidi's work for Indian Country and am committed to 
carrying on her work so that tribes in North Dakota and across Indian 
Country know that. Even if one of their strongest defenders is moving 
on to the next chapter, her mission will not be lost.
  The list of all Heidi's accomplishments is as long as her heart is 
big. She has worked for the people of North Dakota for decades. She has 
been an independent voice in the Senate, not tied to party or ideology 
but committed to doing what is right for the people of her State. She 
will always roll up her sleeves and work with all sides to solve 
problems. She will always fight for the little guy.
  On a personal note, she is one of the most loyal friends anyone could 
ask for.
  She never shied away from the hard votes--approaching every single 
one with conscience and courage. I admire Heidi for her conviction.
  All of us here will miss Heidi tremendously. I know that her work is 
not done--not even close. Like so many here, I look forward to her next 
challenge and to seeing what more she accomplishes for her State and 
the Nation and the countless lives she is sure to touch.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alaska.
  Mr. SULLIVAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to complete my 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. SULLIVAN. Mr. President, I want to echo what my colleague from 
New Mexico said about our friend and colleague Senator Heitkamp. I can 
say that everything he just said--there is strong bipartisan agreement 
on that front. I want to emphasize a couple of points he mentioned 
about Senator Heitkamp. Certainly, she is one of the most well-liked 
Senators, optimistic and upbeat.
  As Senator Udall just mentioned, I think there is a certain element 
in the Senate--whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, if you are a 
former attorney general, you come to this job with a little bit of the 
same viewpoint, the same experiences.
  I want to emphasize what Senator Heitkamp mentioned in her remarks 
and Senator Udall mentioned in his remarks, which is her strong 
dedication to two issues that I think really matter--certainly, they 
matter to my constituents, and they matter to most Americans--and that 
is her relentless advocacy and fight with regard to combating the big 
problem we have in America with sexual assault and domestic violence--
it is a very big, difficult problem in my State, and I know it is a 
problem in many other States--

[[Page S7405]]

and her commitment to the Native peoples of our country.
  One example is a bill that Senator Heitkamp and I worked on together 
called the POWER Act. The whole focus is to get more legal 
representation for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. 
When we were working on this bill together, she was obviously a huge 
advocate, but she came back to me and said: We need to make this 
especially focused on the Native communities. That was her idea. That 
was in the bill. The bill was passed in the Congress and signed into 
law 2 months ago. I have no doubt that bill, for which she was the 
strongest advocate, is going to make lives better for women throughout 
our country who have gone through horrible experiences, particularly in 
the Native communities, whether in North Dakota or Alaska or New 
Mexico, and that was because of her hard work.
  So I want to echo what so many others have said. In those areas and 
so many others, it has been my honor to serve with Senator Heitkamp. I 
know she is going to continue to serve her community, State, and 
country in important ways. My best to her.
  I yield the floor.