Kevin Cramer

Kevin Cramer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Dakota's at-large district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Rick Berg
Member of the North Dakota Public Service Commission
In office
August 1, 2003  December 31, 2012
Preceded by Leo Reinbold
Succeeded by Julie Fedorchak
Personal details
Born Kevin John Cramer
(1961-01-21) January 21, 1961
Rolette, North Dakota, U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater Concordia College, Minnesota (BA)
University of Mary (MA)

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. Cramer was previously the Chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party (1991–1993), State Tourism Director (1993–1997), Economic Development Director (1997–2000) and on the North Dakota Public Service Commission (2003–2012).

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

Early life and education

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]

Early political career

After college, Cramer 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.

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]

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]

On January 14, 2010, he announced he would run for the North Dakota seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2010 elections.[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.

Later in 2010, 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)



In 2012, incumbent U.S. Representative Rick Berg decided to retire to run for the U.S. Senate. Cramer decided to run for the seat a fourth time.

Various national conservative groups, include FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth, endorsed Cramer, while Berg endorsed Cramer's rival, fellow Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk.[11] In the Republican primary election in June 2012, Cramer won 54,405 votes (54%) to Kalk's 45,415 votes (45%).[12]

In the November 2012 general election, Cramer went on to defeat Democratic-NPL State Representative Pam Gulleson in the general election, with Cramer receiving 173,585 votes (55%) to Gulleson's 131,870 votes (42%). (The Libertarian candidate, Eric Olson, received about 3% of the vote).[13]

Cramer was sworn in on January 3, 2013.[14]


In 2014, Cramer ran for reelection, running unopposed for renomination as the Republican candidate.[15]

Cramer won with 55% of the vote, defeating Democratic-NPL nominee George B. Sinner, who received 38%. A Libertarian candidate, Jack Seaman, received slightly under 6%.[16]


In 2016, Cramer is seeking election to a third term in Congress. He ran unopposed in the primary election and faces Democratic-NPL nominee Chase Iron Eyes, a Native American activist, in the general election.[17][18]

Positions and tenure

Cramer opposes abortion. He is a critic of Planned Parenthood and has called for cutting off public funding of the group.[19][20]

In 2013, during a commencement address at the University of Mary, Cramer condemned the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade and tied the legalization of abortion to "why our culture sees school shootings so often."[21] This remark attracted controversy and criticism.[22][23] In the same speech, Crame stated of U.S. society: "We've normalized perversion and perverted God's natural law."[21]

Cramer is an opponent of the Affordable Care Act health care reform legislation, and has voted to repeal it.[24][25]

Cramer opposes same-sex marriage and condemned the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.[26][27][28]

Cramer voted to repeal the estate tax.[29]

Cramer does not accept the scientific consensus on climate change.[30] Cramer acknowledges that climate change is occurring, but questions the degree to which humans contribute to it, and opposes regulations to address the issue.[31] Cramer nevertheless has said that he would support a small carbon tax if the revenue went to research and development on clean fuel.[30][31][32]

Cramer has been described by Reuters as "one of America's most ardent drilling advocates."[33] Cramer supports an increase in oil and gas drilling on public lands and supports cutting taxes for energy producers. He is opposed to what he characterizes as overreach by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.[34] In May 2016, Donald Trump asked Cramer to draft his campaign's energy policy.[33] He wrote Trump's energy plan, which focuses heavily on promoting fossil fuels and weakening environmental regulation. The plan also vows to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement and repeal U.S. regulations aims at controlling the carbon emissions which cause climate change.[35] Cramer was "one of a handful of early Trump endorsers" among House Republicans.[36]

Cramer opposes recent gun regulation proposals.[37][38]

In 2013, at a forum on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), Cramer engaged in "a testy exchange with Native American victim assistance leaders."[39][40] Cramer later issued a statement apologizing and expressing regret for his "tone and rhetoric" during the exchange.[39] Cramer voted to reauthorize the VAWA,[41] but opposed language in the act that would allow tribal courts to prosecute non-Natives "for abusing or assaulting Native American women on Indian land."[42] Cramer stated "How could a non-Native man get a fair trial on a reservation?"[42] and questioned the constitutionality of the provision.[41] He voted for an amendment to repeal this provision.[41]

Cramer supports cuts in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly the Food Stamp Program), and attracted controversy in 2013 when he cited a biblical quotation several times in support of Republicans' efforts to cut some $40 billion from the program over a ten-year period.[43][44]

Committee assignments

Personal life

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.[46]

He is married to Kris, and has five children.[47]


  7. Shira T. Center, North Dakota: Rick Berg Backs Brian Kalk for His House Seat, Roll Call (June 5, 2012).
  8. Official Results Primary Election - June 12, 2012, North Dakota Secretary of State.
  9. Official Results General Election - November 6, 2012, North Dakota Secretary of State.
  10. Nick Smith, Heidi Heitkamp, Kevin Cramer sworn into office, Bismarck Tribune (January 3, 2013).
  11. Official Results Primary Election - June 10, 2014, North Dakota Secretary of State.
  12. Official Results General Election - November 4, 2014, North Dakota Secretary of State.
  13. Official Results Primary Election - June 14, 2016, North Dakota Secretary of State.
  14. Mark Trahant, Chase Iron Eyes Runs In North Dakota Out of 'Necessity', Indian Country Today Media Network (April 3, 2016).
  15. Kevin Cramer: North Dakota women not profitable for Planned Parenthood (video of statement on U.S. House of Representatives floor, made available by Getty Images).
  16. Cramer Statement on Planned Parenthood Abortion Practices (press release), Office of U.S. Representative (July 16, 2015).
  17. 1 2 Amanda Terkel, Kevin Cramer, North Dakota Congressman, Ties School Shootings to Abortion Legalization, Huffington Post (May 16, 2013).
  18. Natasha Burton, Another Day, Another Crazy Abortion Claim from a Conservative Male Politician, Cosmopolitan (May 17, 2013).
  19. US Rep. Cramer Criticized For Linking Legalized Abortion To School Shootings, Associated Press (May 21, 2013).
  20. John Hageman, State leaders have mixed feelings in Affordable Care Act ruling, Grand Fords Herald (June 25, 2015).
  21. U.S. House Votes to Repeal Obamacare (press release), Office of U.S. Representative Kevin Cramer (February 3, 2015).
  22. Krista Boehm, The first same-sex couple to grab their marriage license, KVLY-TV (June 26, 2015).
  23. Cramer Statement on Supreme Court Same Sex Marriage Ruling (press release), Office of U.S. Representative Kevin Cramer (June 26, 2015).
  24. Nick Smith, N.D. delegation split on gay marriage, Bismarck Tribune (June 26, 2013).
  25. Cramer - House Passes Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015 (press release), Office of U.S. Representative Kevin Cramer (April 16, 2015).
  26. 1 2 Ben Schreckinger, Trump acknowledges climate change — at his golf course, Politico (May 23, 2016).
  27. 1 2 Ashley Park & Coral Davenport, New York Times: What Are Donald Trump's Views on Climate Change? Some Clues Emerge, New York Times (May 26, 2016).
  28. Evan Lehmann, Meet Donald Trump's New Energy Adviser: Kevin Cramer calls himself a climate-change skeptic yet he might support a carbon tax, ClimateWire (republished by Scientific American) (May 13, 2016).
  29. 1 2 Valerie Volcovici, Trump taps climate change skeptic, fracking advocate as key energy advisor, Reuters (May 13, 2016).
  30. Mark Drajem, Get your energy policy ideas to Kevin Cramer ASAP, Bloomberg Government (May 16, 2016).
  31. Ashley Parker & Coral Davenport, Donald Trump's Energy Plan: More Fossil Fuels and Fewer Rules, (May 26, 2016).
  32. Mike DeBonis, Paul Ryan faces intense pressure to reconcile with Donald Trump, Washington Post (May 11, 2016).
  33. Ted Fioraliso, Cramer says increased gun control wouldn't have prevented Orlando shooting, KFYR-TV (July 14, 2016).
  34. Nick Smith, Hoeven, Cramer give gun legislation cool response, Bismarck Tribune (June 21, 2016).
  35. 1 2 Luke Johnson, Kevin Cramer, North Dakota Congressman, Regrets Berating Native American Counselors, Huffington Post (March 28, 2013).
  36. Vincent Schilling, North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer Allegedly Verbally Attacks Abused Native Women's Advocate, Indian Country Today Media Network (April 1, 2013).
  37. 1 2 3 Congressman Kevin Cramer (R-ND) Votes to Eliminate Constitutional Challenges to the Violence Against Women Act (press release), Office of U.S. Representative Kevin Cramer (February 28, 2013).
  38. 1 2 Sierra Crane-Murdoch, Is the Violence Against Women Act a chance for tribes to reinforce their sovereignty?, High Country Today (June 12, 2013).
  39. Igor BobicP, GOP Rep. Quotes Bible On Food Stamps: 'If Anyone Is Not Willing To Work, Let Him Not Eat', TalkingPointsMemo (September 20, 2013).
  40. Rep. Cramer's opponents use Bible verses to debate food stamp cuts, look toward 2014 election, Grand Forks Herald (September 25, 2013).
  41. "Committees and Caucuses". Congressman Kevin Cramer. 2012-12-13. Retrieved 2016-06-01.
  42. Public Service Commission, North Dakota: Tony Clark, Commissioner

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Leo Reinbold
Member of the North Dakota Public Service Commission
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

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Paul Cook
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Rodney Davis
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