Why She Matters
Heidi Heitkamp was born in Mantador, N.D., and now lives in Mandan. She has six brothers and sisters, including Joel Heitkamp, a talk show host on Fargo's KFGO Radio and a former North Dakota Democratic state senator. Heitkamp earned a bachelor's degree from the University of North Dakota in 1977 and a law degree from Lewis & Clark Law School in 1980. While in law school, Heitkamp worked for two affiliated environmental groups, the Northwest Environmental Defense Center and the Natural Resources Law Institute. Heitkamp was an attorney for the Environmental Protection Agency for two years before she was hired as a North Dakota assistant attorney general, working for Republican Robert Wefald. After making an unsuccessful run for state auditor, Heitkamp moved to the state Tax Department as an attorney in 1985. She was appointed as North Dakota's tax commissioner in December 1986 after the man she's seeking to replace in 2012, Kent Conrad, was elected to the U.S. Senate. Heitkamp subsequently served for eight years as attorney general. In 2000, she lost a bid for governor to Republican John Hoeven. She has not held public office since. Heitkamp and her husband, Darwin Lange, a family practice doctor, have two grown children.