By Kirt Manion
Lincoln attorney Dennis Crawford believes that the country and the congress should be led in a different direction.
And, because of that, Crawford, a Democrat, will seek election as Nebraska’s congressional representative for District 1, a seat occupied by Republican Jeff Fortenberry.
Crawford attempted to unseat Fortenberry in the 2014 mid-term elections but was defeated, 123,219 votes to 55,838.
All of Nebraska’s three seats in the United States House of Representatives will be up for election in 2018 with primaries preceding a Nov. 6 general election.
Crawford said he has been campaigning for the District 1 seat since June of this year and has already visited 15 of the 17 counties in the district and has conducted town hall meetings in Lincoln, Seward and Fremont. Future events include a fundraiser at the Grata Bar and Lounge at 70th and A in Lincoln from 5 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 8; a town hall at IBEW Local 265 at 1409 Old Farm Rd. in Lincoln from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 14, and a town hall at the Hy-Vee at Shadow Lake Towne Center, 11650 S. 73rd St, Papillion, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 29.
What’s the message you’re likely to hear at these events?
“I think the congress has failed the people of Nebraska and has failed the American people,” said Crawford. “They aren’t doing the people’s business. Instead, they are prioritizing the wealthiest Americans and special interests. Unfortunately, Mr. Fortenberry is part of the problem.
“If you want different results from Washington, you have to elect different people. And that’s why I am running.“
Crawford identifies health care and taxes as two specific areas where he believes the Republican led congress and the President of the United States, Donald Trump, is leading America in the wrong direction.
Crawford said Fortenberry voted for Trump’s healthcare and said that such provisions would result in the loss of insurance coverage for millions of Americans and the restoration of pre-existing condition clauses.
Crawford said he feels the solution of going to a Medicare or Medicaid buy in for all citizens is preferable with Americans being able to go on to insurance exchanges to buy into Medicare or Medicaid. For those who feel that they have a good plan through their employer, Crawford said they should be able to keep that plan.
The tax policy being forwarded, Crawford said, is one that gives 80 percent of the benefit to the richest Americans while exploding the deficit.
Other issues Crawford feels are important include the environment and foreign policy, specifically policies pertaining to North Korea, Iran and Afghanistan.
In terms of the environment, Crawford indicated that he believes global warming is being experienced in Nebraska with evidence being warmer temperatures and drier conditions.
“Nebraska is an agricultural state. If trends continue, that would be very bad for Nebraska agriculture,” said Crawford.
While global warming is a concern, Crawford sees battling the phenomenon as an economic opportunity, particularly in the windy state of Nebraska, where green energy could result in many middle income job opportunities.
Green energy economic opportunities, Crawford feels, are not being sought.
“I think that is a reflection of a lack of leadership at the state and federal level,” he said.
Crawford said he feels that global warming is a problem that can be solved and noted that businesses are already trending toward green-friendly initiatives. Internationally, Crawford said other countries are on board with reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Looking at foreign policy, Crawford said he would like to see congressional oversight when it comes to the use of military power against North Korea or Iran.
“I think if Mr. Trump wants to go to war with North Korea, he should get congressional authorization,” said Crawford.
Preemptive wars against North Korea or Iran, Crawford said, would be “madness.” The candidate also said that the United States should refrain from any nation building strategies in Afghanistan and focus attention on counter terrorism efforts alone.
Whether its health care, taxes or any other public policy, Crawford feels that creating consensus and finding common ground should be imperatives and promised that would be his focus if elected.
“I would urge that we conduct business in the congress on a bipartisan basis,” he said.
Straight line votes, Crawford said, result in bad legislation. By including all ideas, he said legislative efforts would find more success.
Getting bipartisan cooperation seems to be a major challenge.
“We are very polarized right now. There is no doubt about that,” said Crawford, adding that he knows it would not be easy. “There is a first step in every long journey.”