Nov. 6, 2012 – 11:08 p.m.

113th Congress: Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. (At Large)

Kevin Cramer describes himself as a “joyful, optimistic conservative” out to cut spending while building interparty and intraparty bridges.

“I’m a very optimistic, positive kind of person,” Cramer says. “I’m also a very pragmatic, careful public servant who’s ready to make the tough choices.”

Cramer wants to see more fiscal discipline before he would support raising the debt ceiling; he thinks it would be reasonable to ask all agencies to lop 5 percent off their budgets. Although his state supports wind power and agriculture, he would prefer an end to subsidies for those sectors and more modest crop insurance for farmers. “I’m willing to lead by example and say, ‘Look, North Dakota, we’ve gotten our fair share,’” he says.

By 1991, Cramer was the youngest state party chairman in the country. Now he’s hoping he can play the role of an experienced leader and team player as a freshman. “I hope I can be a bridge builder,” he says. “I love Democrats, and I care about them and I pray for them.”

Cramer cites North Dakota as an economic example for the rest of the country, and he wants to see the government, particularly the Environmental Protection Agency, ease off on regulations.

“I would aim right at reining in the regulatory regime,” he says, with an eye also on the Interior Department and federal land management policies. “They were hard to deal with when the Republicans were in charge, and they’re impossible now.”