Donald Trump, presumptive Republican nominee for president, has chosen a back-bench Republican congressman with a lot of experience in state energy regulation as his advisor on energy issues, according to multiple media accounts. Rep. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota is the Trump energy advisor, likely to play an important role in a Trump administration if the GOP candidate is elected in November.
Cramer told Reuters that Trump asked him to produce a “white paper” on energy policy. Trump has planned an “energy summit” in Bismarck on May 26. According to North Dakota’s Grand Forks Herald newspaper, “Trump has been light on details of his energy policy so far, though he recently told supporters in West Virginia that the coal industry would thrive if he were president.” Thanks to hydraulic fracturing in the Bakken shale formation, North Dakota has led a boom in U.S. oil production.
The newspaper described Cramer, 55, as “one of the country’s most ardent oil and gas advocates and climate change skeptics.” Trump has claimed that global warming is a hoax “created by and for the Chinese” to harm American business. Cramer endorsed Trump earlier this year.
Cramer has held the state’s at-large congressional district since 2012 and sits on the Natural Resources and Science and Technology committees. He served on the North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC), which regulates utilities, from 2003 to 2012.
Cramer has been a Republican activist since his 20s and became state party chairman in 1991 at the age of 30. He made a run for Congress in 1996, challenging sitting incumbent Democrat Earl Pomeroy and lost. He ran against Pomeroy again in 1998, losing again. Republican Gov. John Hoeven (elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010) appointed Cramer to the regulatory commission in 2003 and he was elected to a six-year term in 2004.
In 2010, Cramer announced he would make another run for the state’s congressional seat, and became a Tea Party favorite. But the state party convention gave the GOP nomination to Rick Berg, who won the election in November. Cramer won reelection to a second PSC term.
Berg in 2012 announced he would retire and run for the Senate seat that Democrat Kent Conrad was leaving. Berg lost narrowly to Democrat Heidi Heitkamp. Cramer decided to run for the congressional seat for the fourth time, defeating a fellow member of the PSC in a GOP primary, and won in the general election. He repeated that feat in 2014.
Cramer was reportedly among a group of Trump advisers who recently met with lawmakers from Western states who hope that the candidate, if elected, will open more federal land for drilling, a lawmaker who took part in the meeting said. According to multiple media reports, Cramer said in an interview that his white paper “would emphasize the dangers of foreign ownership of U.S. energy assets, burdensome taxes, and over-regulation.”
—Kennedy Maize is a long-time energy journalist and frequent contributor to POWER.