Last week, we brought together a group of our community leaders to meet with North Dakota’s newest Senator, Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). Everyone around the table shared how their business was global, and each voiced their support for international engagement.
Our state leaders came from all around North Dakota and from both sides of the aisle. Dr. Robert Kelley, President of the University of North Dakota, had the pleasure of introducing the Senator. General Al Palmer spoke through the lens of his military experience and how he thought it was vital to preserve our “smart power” by strengthening our civilian tools.
Representatives from machinery manufacturers RDO and Amity Technology talked about how exports helped drive their business forward. Food producer SB&B Foods shared its agribusiness successes.
North Dakota survived the recession thanks in part to businesses like the ones we had around the table. The state’s exports have grown 83 percent over the past six years, more than any other state.
Senator Heitkamp stressed that she deeply understands the vale of America’s development and diplomacy programs and is committed to keeping our International Affairs Budget strong. We had a candid and constructive conversation with her about both the challenges and opportunities we all face in educating her constituents about our international programs.
We’ll be working with the Senator and her staff both in North Dakota and back in Washington to spread the word about how the international affairs budget creates jobs and helps keep our nation safe.