Senator Heidi Heitkamp
Senator Heidi Heitkamp

 MANDAN, N.D. – The North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC) presented Sen. Heidi Heitkamp with the 2017 Helping Hand Award at its annual meeting in January. The award recognizes faithful friends and strong supporters of North Dakota’s electric cooperatives.

“Sen. Heitkamp’s personal commitment and dedication to electric cooperatives; her understanding of rural America; and her approach to balanced energy strategy makes her most deserving of this award,” said NDAREC General Manager and Vice President Josh Kramer. “A tireless advocate for electric cooperatives, the electric industry and the citizens of this state, Sen. Heitkamp’s common-sense moderate approach and her ability to work across party lines is truly admirable.”

“Every day, I come to work fighting for rural America, and it’s an honor to be recognized by NDAREC for working toward our common goal of supporting North Dakota’s communities by ensuring access to affordable, reliable electricity,” said Sen. Heitkamp. “The needs of rural America are too often forgotten in Washington, but my priorities have always been focused on the unique challenges our communities face. I’ll continue to fight to boost economic security and opportunity for all North Dakotans.”

Sen. Heitkamp has worked hard to advocate for realistic energy policies highlighting the vital role coal plays in providing affordable and reliable baseload generation. She sponsored key legislation intended to spur the development of carbon capture and storage technology while reducing emissions, and she has been outspoken on the potential consequences the Clean Power Plan imposed on existing coal-fired power plants.

Sen. Heitkamp understands the importance of a strong, reliable electric infrastructure, and she has demonstrated this throughout her time in office. In 2016, she initiated an effort to support full funding of the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Electric Loan Program, which provides capital and leadership to maintain, expand, upgrade and modernize America’s vast rural electric infrastructure.

Sen. Heitkamp understands rural America, rural communities and electric cooperatives and advocates on their behalf in Washington, D.C. North Dakota’s electric cooperatives thank Sen. Heitkamp for her years of support.

NDAREC is the statewide trade association for 16 electric distribution cooperatives and five generation and transmission cooperatives operating in North Dakota. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to nearly 250,000 North Dakotans via 196,000 meters. NDAREC services include legislative advocacy, line worker safety training and professional development services, cooperative business development, and communication services including publication of the North Dakota Living magazine.