- Special Sections
- Local Guide
FARGO â€” As the clock neared 7 p.m. Monday, there was a lingering excitement at the Fargo Civic Center.
An hour before a rally for Democratic Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp was set to start, a line snaked its way around the building. Inside, supporters held signs, cheering at the sight of Heitkamp mingling amongst the crowd.
It was excitement that reached its peak just after 8 p.m., when former president Bill Clinton took the stage, drawing the crowd into a frenzy as he gave a 40-minute long speech offering his endorsement of Heitkamp.
The endorsement came just over a week before election day, when Heitkamp will be up against republican Rick Berg.
The event, emceed by Heitkampâ€™s brother Joel, also featured remarks from outgoing Sen. Kent Conrad, U.S. House candidate Pam Gulleson, as well as a state senator and a city commissioner from Fargo.
In his speech, Clinton spoke heavily on the importance of non-partisan politics, using the event to reflect on the 15th anniversary of the Red River flood in 1997, which heavily damaged the Grand Forks area.
â€śIt proves something,â€ť Clinton said about the areaâ€™s recovery. â€śIt proves that when people work together, thatâ€™s a lot better than when youâ€™re on your own.
â€śThere is no Democratic or Republican way to recover from a flood.â€ť
Clinton also touched on numerous topics that have been debated nationwide.
He addressed the Affordable Care Act, saying it wasnâ€™t perfect and should be changed, rather than repealed, pointing again to Heitkampâ€™s willingness to work with both sides.
â€śLetâ€™s send a practical person out there, to Washington, D.C., who will fix whatâ€™s wrong, keep whatâ€™s right, and keep America moving forward,â€ť he said.
He also touched on energy policy and student loan debt, and even addressed the movie â€śFargoâ€ť, saying it was a cult favorite on Air Force One during his final years in office.
Prior to Clintonâ€™s speech, Heitkamp spoke for about 10 minutes, addressing issues including the need for a farm bill and putting an emphasis on energy independence.
Like Clinton, Heitkamp recognized the need to work with both Democrats and Republicans.
â€śIâ€™ve always worked with people across the aisle,â€ť she said. â€śThe reality in North Dakota is that you have to.â€ť
She also encouraged her supporters to continue making a final push for votes as election day nears.
â€śMomentum is on our side,â€ť Heitkamp said. â€śYou are here tonight because you know that when good people come together, when good people work for a common cause, when, in 12 hours, we fill up an auditorium of people who have hope and aspirations for the American people, that we can move mountains.â€ť