WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp tonight issued the following statement in response to the President’s State of the Union address.

Heitkamp brought Richard and Susan Lunski from Larimore as her guests to the State of the Union address. The Lunskis were the first people at the scene of the bus crash in Larimore on Jan. 5. They helped rescue students as they waited for first responders to get to the scene.


“Tonight the President called for an end to political games. It’s up to all of us – the President and each Senator and Member of Congress to do better. As I have long said, we need to work together so that we can actually pass bills, and support North Dakota and the American people. Compromise and bipartisanship will help us be a stronger nation – and all sides have to give a little.


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“We have seen strong economic growth in the past few months, and by working together we can help that growth continue. The President is rightly focused on supporting middle income and struggling families so that every family in North Dakota and across America has a shot. To truly accomplish that goal, we need real policies that make college more affordable, increase the minimum wage, enable families to afford to buy homes, and help individuals and families save for retirement. These are the core economic principles that will help lift up our country not just right now, but long into the future for our children and grandchildren. We need to look up and think big.


“The President also addressed the unprecedented oil and natural gas development in our country and our ability to successfully harness wind energy which are helping make the U.S. more energy secure and independent. Many of those resources come from North Dakota. But will the Administration approve the Keystone pipeline – an important part of our energy infrastructure – so we can finally move on and talk about the larger energy plan for our country? And will he truly seek a realistic path forward for coal? These questions were left unanswered.


“As a Senator from a rural state, I’m constantly fighting for rural America, and I’d like to hear the President speak more about supporting rural communities and agriculture. Agriculture in North Dakota doesn’t just feed our state, but we feed our country and the world. Supporting our farmers, ranchers, and rural communities is a must to make sure they continue to thrive long into the future. But it was promising to hear the President speak more about expanding high-speed Internet to communities across the country, which is so needed particularly in Indian Country.


“It’s past time for Congress and the Administration to step up to the plate and do their jobs. It shouldn’t be a struggle to work across the aisle to find solutions, and I’ll continue to work on bipartisan policies that support North Dakota first.”