North Dakota's economy has become the envy of the nation.
But with the rapid growth in the oil patch comes challenges. I believe it is time for a more proactive partnership between all levels of government to help protect our economic growth in the west --- and to protect the traditions that make North Dakota a community we are proud to call home.
What follows is an outline of how we can begin to do just that. Read the full plan here.
Ensure Federal Oil Revenue Helps Fund Infrastructure Development in the Oil Patch
In 2011 alone, the Federal Government collected $318 million in oil royalties on federal land in North Dakota.
As Senator, Heidi will fight to ensure that a substantial portion of those royalty dollars come back to North Dakota -- not with strings attached, but as grants -- to help assist city, county and tribal governments in their efforts to fund local infrastructure development, such as improving county and tribal roads, expanding health care, funding public safety expansion, providing assistance for education and daycare and increasing access to affordable housing. Heidi will work to ensure the federal government is a partner in developing the Bakken, not just a profiteer.
Devote Senate Staff to the Oil Patch
Recent census data shows that Williston is the fastest growing micropolitan area in the country and Dickinson is #4. Heidi will locate U.S. Senate staff in the oil patch to assist with constituent services. Heidi believes it's critical as senator to hear firsthand the concerns about how we can support infrastructure growth in the oil patch, and will do that by locating staff in the area and hosting quarterly town hall meetings on issues of concern to those who live and work in the oil patch.
Put More Cops on the Beat
Since 2010, the number of reported assaults in Dickinson has increased by 500 percent as local law enforcement struggles to accommodate the booming population and shifting demographics. As Senator, Heidi will fight to increase Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant funding for Western North Dakota, which provides a dynamic and critical funding source for North Dakota's law enforcement.
Fight for Affordable Housing in North Dakota
Housing is a challenge for many in the oil patch who are contending with skyrocketing rents. Providing adequate housing for the teachers, cops and firefighters who keep our communities safe is an even greater challenge because these public servants are the foundation of our communities.
Heidi will explore whether the USDA or other agencies can create pilot programs to assist our public servants so they can afford to live in the communities they work to keep safe. And, Heidi will also work to foster relationships with national experts on housing in oil boom communities to seek creative public/private housing solutions to assist those living on a fixed or moderate income.