Kevin Cramer

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Kevin Cramer
Kevin Cramer, official portrait, 113th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Dakota's At Large district
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Rick Berg
North Dakota Public Service Commissioner
In office
August 1, 2003 – December 31, 2012
Preceded by Leo M. Reinbold
Succeeded by Julie Fedorchak
Personal details
Born Kevin John Cramer
(1961-01-21) January 21, 1961 (age 53)
Rolette, North Dakota
Political party Republican
Residence Bismarck, North Dakota

Kevin John Cramer (born January 21, 1961) is an American politician who has been the United States Representative for North Dakota's At-large congressional district since 2013. Previously he served on the North Dakota Public Service Commission from 2003 to 2012, as the state economic development director from 1997 to 2000, and as the state tourism director from 1993 to 1997. He also served a short term as chair of the North Dakota Republican Party.

In Congress, Cramer serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources and on the House Committee on Science and Technology.

Early life, education, and early political career[edit]

Cramer was born in Rolette, North Dakota, the first of the five children of Richard and Clarice Cramer. He was raised in Kindred, North Dakota in Cass County. He graduated from Kindred High School. He received a B.A. degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota in 1983. He earned a Master's degree in management from the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota in 2003.[1]

After college, he campaigned for an unsuccessful Republican tax commissioner candidate in 1984. In 1986, he campaigned for U.S. Senator Mark Andrews’ bid for re-election. Andrews lost to North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party U.S. Senator Kent Conrad. Conrad's party is the North Dakota affiliate of the Democratic Party. Cramer went on to work for the state Republican Party.

Political career in the 1990s[edit]

He was the Chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party from 1991 to 1993. At age 30, he was the youngest person to be named state party chairman.

In 1993, Republican Governor Ed Schafer appointed him to be State Tourism Director and served that position until he was appointed to become Economic Development Director in 1997.

In 1996, House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas, a North Dakota native, persuaded Cramer to challenge Democratic U.S. Congressman Earl Pomeroy in North Dakota's At-large congressional district. Pomeroy defeated him 55%-43%.[2] In 1998, Cramer ran against him in a rematch. Pomeroy defeated him again by a wider margin of 56%-41%.[3]

Political career in the 2000s[edit]

Following his stint as Director of Economic Development, he became Director of the Harold Schafer Leadership Foundation. He served that position until he was appointed to the Public Service Commission by Republican Governor John Hoeven.[4] He was elected to a six-year term in 2004 when he defeated NPL nominee Ron Gumeringer 65%-35%.[5]

Cramer serves as the co-chairman of the Roughrider Honor Flight program. This program gives World War Two veterans the chance to visit the World War Two memorial in Washington, D.C. Cramer has worked to locate veterans and raise money for them to take part in the program.[6]

2010 elections[edit]

On January 14, 2010, he announced he would run for the North Dakota seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.[7] Cramer was very visible in early 2010 at North Dakota town hall meetings fighting against health care legislation passed by the US House in late 2009.[8] Cramer has attended numerous Tea Party rallies in North Dakota, where he speaks about energy, taxes, jobs and the Constitution.[9] He was unsuccessful in receiving the nomination at the state Republican Party convention in March 2010, losing to former House Majority Leader Rick Berg.

Cramer won re-election to a second term to the Public Service Commission, defeating Democratic candidate Brad Crabtree 61%-35%.[10]

U.S. House of Representatives (2013-Present)[edit]

2012 election[edit]

In 2012, incumbent U.S. Congressman Rick Berg decided to retire to run for the U.S. Senate. Cramer decided to run for the seat a fourth time. In the Republican primary, he defeated fellow Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk 54%-45%, bypassing the Republican Convention in March.[11][12] Cramer went on to defeat Democratic State Representative Pam Gulleson in the general election 55%-42%. He won 42 of the state's 53 counties.[13] Cramer was sworn in on January 3, 2013.

Tenure[edit]

Cramer is pro-life and supports ending taxpayer funded abortion.[14] He opposes churches providing birth control.[15] He supports the Federal Marriage Amendment and believes marriage is between one man and one woman.[16]

He is a fiscal conservative. He opposes federal stimulus money.[citation needed] He opposes increasing tax rates including income taxes. He supports tax incentives for job creation. He supports offshore drilling and opposes regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Cramer supports the coal and oil industry in North Dakota.[17] Cramer signed the "No Climate Tax Pledge."[18]

He supports gun rights and opposed the provisions of the Violence Against Women Act that extended tribal jurisdiction over non-tribal members accused of sexual assault and rape against tribal members. Cramer claimed that the provisions would be ruled unconstitutional and that it would be difficult for a non-Tribal member to receive a fair trial from a Tribal Court.[citation needed]

Controversy[edit]

Cramer stirred controversy in September 2013 when he cited a Biblical quotation on the House floor in support of Republicans' efforts to cut some $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, after having used the same quotation in response to a constituent's opposition to the proposal. The bill passed on a largely party-line vote.[19]

Committee assignments[edit]

Personal life[edit]

In 2010, Cramer and his wife, Kris, became "interveners" in the matter of a child whose mother, a former girlfriend of one of their sons, was beaten to death by her current boyfriend. Police investigation as reported by local media indicated that both the child's mother and her boyfriend were involved with drugs. The baby's father lived out of state. Although not related to the child, the Cramers were able to have themselves made temporary guardians of the child. Previously authorities had briefly placed the child with its maternal grandmother, and also are stated in court records as having "misplaced" contact information for the baby's father. As a result, the baby's father was not notified of court hearings and did not participate in proceedings resulting in placing the child with the Cramers, and his parental rights were legally terminated. On December 3, 2010, the state supreme court heard arguments with regard to an appeal of the termination by the baby's father.[22]

He is married to Kris, and has five children.[23]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Leo M. Reinbold
North Dakota Public Service Commissioner
2003–2012
Succeeded by
Julie Fedorchak
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Rick Berg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Dakota's At-large congressional district

2013–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Tom Cotton
R-Arkansas
United States Representatives by seniority
371st
Succeeded by
Steve Daines
R-Montana