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Minot Daily News endorses Kevin Cramer — Part 1

By the time U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-ND, was elected to the House in 2012, he’d already experienced myriad aspects of governance in a career that years earlier saw him as the youngest member of the Republican National Committee.

Whether in his numerous roles prior to Congress or as the House member who can stake the claim as most frequent host of town hall meetings since election, Cramer’s pursuit of what is best for North Dakota and its residents has been a hallmark of his career. The Kindred, N.D.-born candidate for U.S. Senate was schooled in his hometown before earning a bachelor of arts degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., a master’s degree in management from the University of Mary in Bismarck, and having conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Leadership, honoris causa, by the University of Mary on May 4, 2013.

Public service was an early call for Cramer and led to his uncommon breadth of experience. In 1991, he was elected chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party, making him the youngest member of the Republican National Committee. From 1993 to 2000, he served in Governor Ed Schafer’s cabinet, first as state tourism director from 1993-1997, then as state economic development & finance director from 1997 to 2000. From 2000 to 2003, he was executive director of the Harold Schafer Leadership Foundation, which connects emerging leaders from the University of Mary with community business leaders. In 2003, then-Gov. John Hoeven appointed Cramer to the Public Service Commission, and in 2004 he was elected to the position.

As North Dakota Public Service Commissioner, Cramer was a key figure as North Dakota’s efficient, conservative-spending, pro-business environment began earning national attention as one of the best state economies in the country. Cramer brought his conservative spending, smart-investing, pro-market philosophy and energy expertise with him to Congress. He serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has the broadest jurisdiction of any committee in Congress. Cramer is assigned to three subcommittees: Communications and Technology, Energy, and Environment. In November 2016, Cramer was elevated to the influential House Republican Steering Committee – as the Small State Representative.

Despite the fact that Cramer’s star was on the rise in Washington and in the Republican Party in particular, he has never lost his absolute fixed vision on the welfare of North Dakota. In addition to his work on the major pieces of legislation that define – and buoy North Dakota – today, he has furthermore advanced the values and fundamental principles of North Dakotans consistently, issue by issue. Whether through carefully shepherding the Farm Bill, supporting an unequivocable Second Amendment, protecting small banks, supporting vital support to address opioid abuse and opening up healthcare markets, Cramer has been there for the issues about which he has spoken so frequently with residents. He supported the “Every Student Succeeds Act,” which sought to stave off the locally reviled Common Core standards in favor of local, North Dakota strategies.

Cramer’s zealous embrace of the issues most important to North Dakota is a refreshing change from elected officials, including those from North Dakota, who are elected statewide and then immediately turn to advancing a national agenda and the re-election money it brings in. A fiscally conservative firebrand who also happens to be a reasoned, intellectual consummate gentleman, Cramer walks the line between party loyalty and absolute dedication to his state that few officials ever achieve.

To his credit and to the pleasure of a majority of North Dakota voters, Cramer was an early, committed supporter of the Donald Trump campaign and of the ambitious agenda of President Trump. That foresight served him well as he has carved out a level of respect in Washington rare for the lone Representative of a small state. Yet, there is native son Kevin, sitting at the largest figurative table of power. There is our Kevin.

This is not to say that Cramer’s power and profile are a result of being just a loyal soldier. On the contrary, Cramer has had disagreements with the Trump administration. But to his credit, he vocalizes these disagreements and defines his arguments to hopefully bring about compromise and change – and not to engage in the ugly politics of division that sadly define our national condition.

Beneath the partisan rancor and outright ugliness of the political divide in national politics today are true ideological differences. Cramer’s principled positions are consistent and they are his own. He does not triangulate, equivocate or apologize. That’s what’s needed most in a battle for the core philosophies upon which the nation has been built and which are held dear by North Dakotans: individualism vs. collectivism, free markets vs. government selected winners and losers, opportunity vs. entitlements, etc.

That’s why Kevin Cramer is the better choice for United States Senate next week.

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