Yesterday Senator John Hoeven sent out a press release detailing his efforts to oppose President Obama’s efforts to shrink the nation’s nuclear arsenal. This is important not just because the Minot Air Force Base here in North Dakota has, as one of its most important missions, the servicing of nuclear missiles in the state but also because downsizing our nuclear deterrents as powers like North Korea expand theirs is a bad, bad idea.
I don’t think that we should support North Dakota’s military bases because of economic development reasons. The first priority for the bases is, of course, national security. But the nuclear mission is an important part of our national security strategy.
But despite promising to be a strong advocate for the nuclear mission here in North Dakota, Senator Heidi Heitkamp has been absolutely silent on the issue. There’s not a single statement about the issue on her website, nor any comments from the Senator in the media.
Remember that Senator Heitkamp was widely criticized for taking big money from an anti-nuclear weapons group called Council for a Livable World. In fact, CLW was Heitkamp’s #2 source of campaign funds in the election, but despite that Heitkamp promised to “stand firm” on the issue and accused her critics of distorting the record.
“I will stand firm, as Sens. Dorgan and Conrad before me, in support of our air bases,” said Heitkamp to the Minot Daily News. She also called the charges fraudulent and negative campaigning and said “it needs to stop and the record needs to be set straight.”
But right now Senator Heitkamp has an opportunity to follow through on her campaign promise to stand up to President Obama, and to stand up for the Air Force bases in North Dakota, and it appears as though the Council for a Livable World has, at the very least, bought her silence.