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Jayce Gravdahl, West Fargo, Published December 04 2013

Letter: Don’t blame Cramer for the shutdown

Our North Dakota representative has to face unfair criticism. On Oct. 14, Valley News Live published a story titled “Protesting the government shutdown,” in which protesters gathered and “called out to Congressman Kevin Cramer asking what he is doing to find a solution.” Let me first put the situation in context.

On the first day of the shutdown, I had to turn in an application to all three of our state’s congressional representatives. I drove to Sen. John Hoeven’s Fargo office, only to find the doors locked. I then went to Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s Fargo office in the Federal Building. I walked up to the door only to find all of the lights were off and two security guards were staring at me. Last, I made my way to Cramer’s office, where I was greeted by a receptionist who told me my application should be processed the next day. Long story short, Cramer was the only one still on the job working for North Dakotans.

The report by Valley News Live later quotes people such as Mara Solberg, who said, “This shutdown has got to end, and it’s in his hands. He’s been voted into office and he should do his job.” After that, she said, “Your silence tells us that you don’t support us.” Well, if she had put in the slightest effort to educate herself about the situation, she would know that the “silence” she was referring to was coming from our state senators’ offices. If anything, these protesters should be thanking Cramer, as it appears he is doing exactly what they want.

The protest resulted in bad press and an unnecessary interview with the representative. He was forced to defend the fact that he had not furloughed his employees and tried to explain to the uninformed protesters how much work he had actually done to reopen the government.

In conclusion, if North Dakotans are going to take up an issue with our state’s leaders, they should at least be informed on the issue they are addressing. If they are not informed, they are not only wasting everybody’s time but accomplishing nothing in the process.