Communication with Legistlation
Rep. Cramer visits NDSU, talks about hard-hitting issues
Published: Friday, December 6, 2013
Updated: Friday, December 6, 2013 01:12
Whenever a person says something noteworthy at a NDSU student government meeting, the rest of the congregation can choose to snap their fingers in approval.
When Rep. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota came to speak with them on Nov. 25, there were many fingers being snapped.
Cramer, who was elected to his office last fall, has made a conscious effort during his term to stay connected to the people of his state. One way to do that was to take a stroll to NDSU’s campus.
“It’s really important to me because hearing from students and hearing what’s on their minds is really important,” Cramer said.
Though they had to wait a few minutes for Cramer to come through the door, the student government members were excited to have him.
NDSU student body president Robbie Lauf said bringing him not only opened the door for communication between the NDSU student body and state legislators, but it also showed a commitment on his part on being a political role model.
“It really shows that there’s an open government and we have a direct connection to Washington D.C.,” Lauf said. “It’s tremendously important, mainly because it humanizes him and every person in our (U.S.) delegation because it shows there’s a person behind each vote.”
Cramer said getting the backing of all levels of people is important for government officials such as himself, which is why he speaks with as many as he can.
NDSU student government was not afraid to ask Cramer hard-hitting questions. When Cramer finished his speech, some of the student senators asked about the Afford¬able Care Act, the cutting of military funds and the progress of a farm bill.
Cramer answered back with not only his thoughts, but also referred to concerns from fellow officials on Capitol Hill such as Rep. Paul Ryan.
“It was really special for him to show that he does care about the student issues,” said College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources Noah Engels. “He really wanted the feedback from us, which I thought was great.”
One of the main things the student politicians were interested in was what motivated Cramer to have a passion in politics in the first place. Cramer said he simply loves dealing with and helping people everyday, even though some of his decisions may not always be seen as positive.
“I think it’s important to restore confidence,” Cramer said. “One of the ways I think we can restore confidence of the people and of young people is to just be with them and share what’s on my heart and let them share what’s on theirs.”
Cramer claimed he was a hopeful person, which he said is needed with what is going on at the federal level of the U.S. government. He said the optimism from the students was infectious.
“These guys get me pretty fired up,” Cramer said. “That’s very encouraging to me. It’s also important because I want young people to be hopeful and I think most young people are hopeful.
“But we’re at a time in our country where if you looked at Washington (D.C.), you could tend to not be very hopeful. I’m a per¬son of hope and I think it’s important to be hopeful. I’m optimistic not just because I live in a great place, but we have a great country.”
Engels added: “It was great to have an actual politician come and talk to us about real issues. … What I thought was very interesting was what motivated him be¬cause what motivates us is one in the same. We’re both politicians, we’re both helping people.”
During his career, Cramer found out how many government leaders don’t deal well with other people. He said this is a style he wasn’t very interested in.
Cramer maintained his focus is on representing the voice of the people of North Dakota, while also doing what’s best for them.
“As a member of the people’s house, I have a responsibility to listen, but also to share in a way that informs,” Cramer said. “It’s a two-way street. Communicating always is.”
Cramer called NDSU’s student government an “exceptional group” of young politicians and said he is looking to talking with them in the near future.
Lauf said a main reason for bringing him in was to show the student government body, including the newly-elected senators, a model for polished politicians. He said he hopes Cramer made a good impression on not only their work now, but for their careers moving forward.
“Knowing that he’s kept a level-headed and to the ground at this point and still being a recognizable person in the community,” Lauf said, “it shows that there’s a future for people that want to do that.”