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Published July 24 2012

Heitkamp hosting Senate ag leader at forums on Saturday

FARGO – North Dakota Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp will host the Senate’s Agriculture Committee chairwoman at public campaign forums Saturday in Mandan and Fargo.

In her leadership role, Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow helped usher the 2012 farm bill through the Senate last month.

In a meeting Monday with The Forum’s Editorial Board, Heitkamp said she invited Stabenow to emphasize why the farm bill is so vital to rural areas, like North Dakota.

“I think it’s good to hear from her why it’s important for the farm country

to push the farm bill now,” Heitkamp said.

Heitkamp supports the Senate’s version of the 2012 farm bill and she’s been critical of her opponent on the issue.

Republican Rep. Rick Berg is urging his party’s leadership to put the legislation up for a vote so it can pass that chamber and so any differences can be hashed out in conference committee.

Berg wants a 2012 farm bill passed, but he’s stopped short of saying whether he favors the Senate or the House version of the bill.

Heitkamp spoke of Stabenow almost as a mentor, praising Stabenow and drawing comparisons between herself and the Democratic veteran.

“We’ve gotten to be pretty good friends,” Heitkamp said. “She’s a lot like me ... We share a lot of things in common. I think she’s very dynamic.”

Berg spokesman Chris Van Guilder said Heitkamp and Stabenow are allies to Democrats’ national agenda.

“Sen. Debbie Stabenow said she supported Barack Obama ‘1,000 percent’ and Heidi Heitkamp said ‘I think Barack Obama is going to be amazing,’ ” Van Guilder said. “It sounds like these two are one and the same when it comes to supporting President Obama and the Democratic Party.”

If you go

WHAT: Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp hosts two North Dakota ag forums, featuring Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.

• MANDAN: 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Bohemian Hall, eight miles south of Mandan on Highway 6. For more information or to RSVP, call (701) 751-2629.

• FARGO: 3:15 p.m. Saturday at the farm of Jake Gust, 4614 81st St. N. For more information or to RSVP, call (701) 566-8728.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541