Congressman Chip Cravaack: A Look Back At His First Year In Office

By KBJR News 1

November 29, 2011 Updated Nov 29, 2011 at 11:23 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -- Chip Cravaack has become a household name since defeating Congressman Jim Oberstar and taking over Minnesota's 8th Congressional district.

But up until he began his campaign, little was known about the ex Navy Pilot.

LeAnn Wallace sat down with the Republican congressman to talk about family, politics, and what lies ahead.

"We did it."

The victory took many Northland voters by surprise. On November 2nd 2010 Republican Chip Cravaack ousted longtime congressman, Democrat Jim Oberstar.

"The voters have spoken. A hard contest is behind us."

But an even harder first year in office lay ahead for the newly elected congressman.

"The frustration levels; the anxiety of keeping the government running. It's been a constant budget battle ever since I went into congress."

As Congress struggles to overcome gridlock after gridlock, the freshman Republican's stance remains the same: jobs are best created by the private sector, not the government.

"Jobs are created from the government by taxing the American people and that's unsustainable. You keep on bleeding out the private sector and they're not going to have any more money."

That lack of solution has people across the nation pointing fingers.

"We're asking why you aren't raising taxes on the people who can afford it?!"

This meeting came about in Duluth after a group of constituents became very vocal saying they felt Representative Cravaack was avoiding the biggest city in his district. The congressman had held town hall meetings in several smaller locations earlier in the year.

"And yeah, I went to Grand Portage, you know they're just as important as anywhere else in this district. And when, you know, it was really great to go up and talk to those people because they're telling us, "we've never seen a congressman up here before."

Another issue that raised the ire of some in the district was the fact that his family moved to New Hampshire mid year.

"My wife was transferred out to the east coast, we picked New Hampshire. It is actually has taken a lot of stress off of me and my wife. Now she's not traveling as much, she's home officing and she's be able to take care of our kids too."

Representative Cravaack says he divides his time among his family in New Hampshire, his office in Washington and his district.

"I call it the land of Timber, Taconite and Tourism. We can be an unbelievably wealthy district in the 8th district if we get government out of the way."

Getting government out of the way has been Congressman Cravaack's mantra since he took office.

Four democrats have stepped up to challenge Representative Cravaack in next year's election: So far they include Jeff Anderson, Daniel Fanning, Tarryl Clark and Rick Nolen.