Although a Democrat hasn’t been elected to serve Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District since 1964, Dennis Crawford is hoping to change that in 2018.
Crawford, 57, a lawyer and lifelong resident of Lincoln is looking to unseat Republican Congressman Jeff Fortenberry from the District 1 seat.
After earning 31 percent of the vote as Fortenberry’s Democratic opponent in 2014, and sitting out the 2016 race, Crawford says he is looking to reach voters who are disappointed by broken campaign promises by Fortenberry and President Trump.
“I think what compelled me to run is the fact that Jeff Fortenberry is voting with President Trump something like 95 percent of the time, and putting Trump and special interests first,” he said in a Thursday interview with the Tribune. “Quite frankly, Trump and Fortenberry have broken all of their campaign promises to the people of Nebraska.”
According to Crawford, one of those broken promises includes healthcare reform.
“Jeff Fortenberry promised that nobody would be left behind in what he termed the healthcare reform, the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, and unfortunately the Trumpcare bill that he voted for in May would have kicked 23 million people off of insurance, brought back pre-existing condition clauses and lifetime limits in order to finance a tax cut for the top 1 percent,” he said.
Crawford supports keeping the parts of the Affordable Care Act that are working, while fixing portions of the bill that are not working. One way of doing that would be to implement a Medicaid/Medicare buy in program.
“One of the problems with the health insurance system now is there is inadequate competition in the rural states and areas, and if you had Medicaid and Medicare as options for consumers and business owners I think it would drive down cost and give people access to better policies,” he said.
Another key issue for Crawford is supporting investments in renewable energy, such as wind and solar energy, at a state and national level.
“I think climate change is manmade and a very real problem that we need to solve, but I don’t see it as a detriment to the economy, I see it as an opportunity,” he said. “Nebraska is one of the windiest states in the country and yet we lag far behind our neighbors. Wind energy jobs are middle class jobs with good benefit packages, so we would create thousands of jobs for Nebraskans that pay better with decent benefit packages, and at the same time we would be cleaning up the environment.”
Other key issues in Crawford’s campaign are investing into infrastructure improvement and raising the federal minimum wage to $11 per hour.
“The true job creators are the middle class and not the wealthy. If the middle class has more money to spend and you increase consumer confidence they are going to buy more things, more services and you are going to have a better economy,” he said.
Crawford and his wife Diane live in Lincoln and have three grown children. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Creighton University and his law degree from Catholic University in Washington D.C. before returning to Lincoln to practice law.
Crawford has been active in the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys – serving on its board of directors, political action committee and legislative committee.