Kevin Cramer should follow the advice of wise carpenters, who say you should measure twice and cut once. In the case of a politician, the corollary would be to think twice before opening your mouth. Cramer, as even his supporters will admit, has the unfortunate habit of opening his mouth before giving adequate thought to the impulsive idea he spouts off. But his conservative views are in sync with North Dakota voters, who appreciate his candor, and we support him in his bid to move from the U.S. House to the U.S. Senate.
Significantly, Cramer understands the importance of maintaining a light regulatory touch. He has been a clear voice for removing regulatory burdens on energy development, business and agriculture. Cramer has eagerly embraced the more strident elements of the Republican Party, having been a supporter of the Tea Party movement and, more recently, has been a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, who has campaigned for Cramer in Fargo.
Under Trump's policies, supported by Cramer, the economy seems to be moving in the right direction. Still, we would prefer to see a more nuanced approach from Cramer in his support for Trump when it comes to issues including the trade tariffs, which have sparked retaliatory tariffs that are hurting North Dakota farmers and manufacturers.
But Cramer doesn't flinch when advocating policies he favors, or in speaking against policies he opposes. He is not one of those politicians who keep a moistened finger in the wind. He's always been one of North Dakota's most accessible politicians. He also is now one of North Dakota's most experienced office holders, having held appointive and elective offices at both the state and federal level. Gov. Ed Schafer appointed Cramer to be North Dakota's tourism director 25 years ago. He next served as the state's economic development director and later was appointed to the Public Service Commission, an office he later won at the ballot box before getting elected to the U.S. House in 2012.
So Cramer provides the right combination of political philosophy and experience to represent North Dakota in the Senate. Heidi Heitkamp, who now holds the office, is a likable and able politician, but her views don't align as well with those of North Dakota voters. We're worried that, if elected to what appears to be her last term, she would vote with her fellow Democrats to block or unravel progress that has been made. Specifically, we cite her vote against Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. We're also troubled that Heitkamp has said she didn't approve the ad that named - in some cases erroneously - women as sexual abuse victims. Although the senator has personally accepted responsibility and has apologized, why wasn't she more involved in such a sensitive decision? We're left wondering if she was more interested in making political points than advancing women's rights.
In the U.S. House race to fill Cramer's seat, Republican Kelly Armstrong provides the right background and approach. A lawyer in Dickinson, Armstrong has served in the North Dakota Senate. He also has worked in his family's energy business, which has branched into other sectors, including agriculture. Armstrong's views align well with those of Cramer and Sen. John Hoeven, and he is our choice for North Dakota's lone House representative.
Editorials represent the views of Forum management and the Editorial Board.