First, things first. Melissa Merrick was a student of mine at Devils Lake High School. A good student. A respectful student. A reliable student. Her sister, Natalie, was also one of my students at Devils Lake High School. I have known her grandfather, Frank, for over 40 years. He is a well read, dignified gentleman. These are decent people.
My husband, Bill, worked at Cankdeska Cikana Community College for many years. He knew and liked the Merricks. Our son, Jim, managed all the computer services at the Casino for several years. He knew and liked Melissa Merrick.
We do not personally know Kevin Cramer, but have become aware of his statements in front of a Native Amercan group meeting in Bismarck to discuss violence. At that meeting it is reported that Cramer said he would not feel "secure" on a reservation, and that he did not think he could get a fair trial in a tribal court. He declared that parts of the new VAWA law are unconstituional, even though his education contains no legal training. He asked Melissa, in front of the group, what she thought of the Tribal Council at Spirit Lake. How inappropriate of him! Merrick is the diretor of the Spirit Lake Nation's victim assistance program and has personal experience as a victim. Cramer also stated he would like to use violence on the Council---this at a meeting on violence.
He is now apologizing for his "tone" to Melissa Merrick. He has more than tone to apologize for.
But Cramer has a defender, Rob Port, identified as a "Conservative Blogger." He recently blogged that Melissa is a "Democrat Operative," whatever that may be. His words are undefined and at best, mean spirited.
If Port lables Mellisa Merrick an "Operative" what would he call Cramer? In 1984, Cramer ran for a seat on the Public Service Commission. He lost. in 1986, he worked on Republican Mark Andrew's campaign, which Andrews lost. Republican governor, Ed Shaefer then appointed Cramer as State Tourism Director. In 1996 Cramer ran for US Congress against Earl Pomeroy and lost. In 1997 Ed Shaefer appointed Cremer as North Dakota's Economic Director. In 1998, Cramer again challenged Pomeroy and lost by a wide margin. Shaefer then appointed Cramer as Director of the Harold Shaefer Leadership Foundation (Harold was Ed's dad) until he was appointed to the Public Service Commission by then Governor John Hoeven.
Does this job history fit the definition of "Operative"?
After so many losses, Cramer, in 2004 ran for PSC and was elected. In 2010, he lost his party's nomination to run for congress to Rick Berg, and when Berg decided not to run again in 2012, Cramer became the Republican candidate to run for Congress against Pam Gulleson. At last, he won.
And irony of ironies---he is on the US House of Representative's Sub-Committee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs! Why was he appointed to sit on a sub-committee regarding Native Americans when he clearly does not understand the people, their legal and governmental system, or their struggles?
Cramer does not deserve the honor of representing ALL the people of North Dakota in the US Congress. He has shamed us all with his shameful words and "tone."