Law alumna becomes first graduate to serve as U.S. senator
November 08, 2012
Heidi Heitkamp J.D. ’80 is the first woman elected to represent North Dakota in either the U.S. Senate or House and the first Lewis & Clark graduate to serve as a U.S. senator. Prior to this notable victory, Heitkamp served as tax commissioner and attorney general, and led two successful ballot initiatives in North Dakota.
According to the Associated Press, Heitkamp’s personal popularity carried her to victory. “I’ve been involved in a lot of campaigns,” said Tom Dickson, a former North Dakota Democratic chairperson. “[Heitkamp] is probably the single best candidate I have ever seen in my life.”
Heitkamp credits Lewis & Clark with providing an exceptional legal education that helped launch her career in public service. She says she learned the most about legal thinking from Professor Doug Newell, who taught her first-year contracts course.
Newell introduced her to a “way of thinking about problem solving that focuses on understanding the whole breadth of the problem and possible solutions.” Heitkamp says these critical-thinking and problem-solving skills are fundamental to working in public office.
Says Heitkamp, “I’ll always be grateful for the education I got at Lewis & Clark.”
Read more about Heidi Heitkamp in the Lewis & Clark Law School alumni magazine, The Advocate (see pg. 19).