Sen. - elect Cramer preparing to transition

Nov 8, 2018

Sen. elect Kevin Cramer (R) at a Bismarck news conference.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer(R) becomes a US Senator in January.

Cramer said he’s now working on the transition and looking for staff for his Senate office. But he still has some "House-work" to do, in the upcoming "lame duck" session.

"We have several weeks of session ahead of us," Cramer told Bismarck reporters. "We have some work to do."

One of the big things on the agenda is a farm bill. Cramer said House and Senate negotiators have been working to find a compromise. He said the big sticking point has to do with “SNAP” benefits, or the “Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program,” which had been known as food stamps.

"The reality is -- if we don't pass a farm bill, and we start over in January, the SNAP provisions aren't going to be in the farm bill," Cramer said. "Realizing that reality, it's my hope we will be able to set that political difference aside and get down to business on the actual farm side of it."

Cramer said he thinks that’s do-able.

As a Senator, Cramer will serve on multiple committees. He was asked which committees he would seek. Cramer said first on his list is the Environment and Public Works Committee.

"I currently serve on the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House, and I serve on the Environment subcommittee and Environment subcommittee, which is the perfect combination for me," Cramer said. "It's where my background is, and where my expertise lies, and it's a very nice complement to Sen. John Hoeven's service on the Senate Energy Committee."

Cramer said that committee also deals with water issues – something that’s important to North Dakota agriculture. He said another choice would be Veterans’ Affairs. And he said he is interested in the Agriculture Committee, as well as Indian Affairs.

"I just look at what the demands are in North Dakota -- what are the big issues that face North Dakotans -- and how can I best put my talents to work for the people," Cramer said.

But Cramer said he's a freshman Senator – and some of the choices may depend on other Senators’ seniority.