Sen. Heidi Heitkamp: Profile in Courage


Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) is on Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) and the NRA’s hit lists. They want her gone.  North Dakota is a red state, and it would have politically prudent for Sen. Heitkamp to vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to SCOTUS.  She will vote “no” this afternoon.  Bravo!

I have spent much of my time in public service – including as North Dakota’s Attorney General – focused on combating domestic violence and protecting women and children from abuse. Our actions right now are a poignant signal to young girls and women across our country. I will continue to stand up for them. . .

My lifetime of work, advocacy, and commitment to these issues, and to these women and girls, helped inform my decision today. . .

Dr. Ford gave heartfelt, credible, and persuasive testimony. It took great courage and also came at great personal cost. She had nothing to gain and everything to lose by coming forward with her deeply personal story. . .When I listened to Dr. Ford testify, I heard the voices of women I have known throughout my life who have similar stories of sexual assault and abuse. . .Survivors should be respected for having the strength to share what happened to them—even if a generation has since passed. They still feel the scars and suffer the trauma of abuse.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp at Mary’s Place transitional shelter while on a statewide tour to promote the VAWA.

If you feel diminished,
that was probably the intent.
– Sen. Heidi Heitkamp

Sen. Heitkamp made a commitment to prevent violence against women early in her career when she was a state attorney general.  A member of law enforcement got in her face and told her that men would always beat their wives, and she couldn’t stop them.  She persevered.  Her first act as senator was to vote for reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

In a humorous campaign ad, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp arm wrestles to show voters that the guy tough enough to do the job is…the woman already doing it.

She more recently reached across the aisle to work with Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) to enact the The POWER Act which makes sure information on free legal services is readily available to victims of domestic, dating, or sexual violence, especially for those in Indian Country who face staggering rates of sexual and domestic violence:  84% of Native American women experience some kind of violence in their lifetime.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp

Sen. Heitkamp has also introduced Savanna’s Act to help combat the epidemic of missing and murdered Native American women:

It’s time to give a voice to these voiceless women.  It’s time to bring their perpetrators to justice and give a voice to the families who are struggling even today, sometimes decades later, to understand how this can happen in America.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp

A year ago, she was one of four #MeToo female senators who appeared on Meet the Press.  She believes we all need to be part of a “cultural movement” which starts at home:  We should be raising sons who will say “I won’t do this.”  Amen.

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, a trail-blazer in the field of addressing childhood trauma, in conversation with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.

Sen. Heitkamp is a profile in courage because she has risked her political future to protest violence against women:

This isn’t a political decision. If this were a political decision for me, I certainly would be deciding this the other way. But there’s an old saying, history will judge you, but most importantly you’ll judge yourself. And that’s really what I’m saying. I can’t get up in the morning and look at the life experience that I’ve had and say yes to Judge Kavanaugh.

Please dig deeply to support Sen. Heitkamp’s re-election campaign.

 

 

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