Increasingly, Congress is divided not along partisan lines but along urban v.s. suburban and rural divides. Rural and to some extent suburban Americans face unique challenges that those who live in metro areas aren't familiar with. Although many of the issues related to rural America are agricultural issues, problems like poor nutrition, healthcare access, economic development, connectivity, and workforce education and training also deeply affect the quality of life for Americans who live outside of dense cities. As a member from a very rural district in middle America, Congressman Crawford is intimately familiar with the unique challenges facing rural Americans and he works to highlight their concerns in Congress.
For decades, struggling towns across America have adopted a “chasing smokestacks” strategy for economic development. Congressman Crawford thinks that while traditional economic development must continue, the future economy will have different benchmarks for sustaining our schools, businesses, and towns. We need to begin focusing more on the quality of life offered in our rural communities that meet the new benchmarks that the younger generations will demand. He also sees entrepreneurship as key to the survivability of smaller towns.
As electrification brought rural America into the 20th century, reliable, saturated internet access will bring rural America into the 21st century. Crawford has long argued that robust rural broadband development is crucial for the economic viability and future of rural towns.
Congressman Crawford believes that rules are often created in Washington and then applied to the nation at large without respect and deference to regional differences. From Waters of the U.S., to the Endangered Species Act, to the White River’s Blueway Designation, Crawford has fought back against gross and incompetent federal overreach that actually harms many rural communities.
Through his work on the Farm Commodities and Risk Management subcommittee, Congressman Crawford has seen the real impact that large, poorly enforced, and unfair trade agreements have on rural economies. Much like manufacturing in the Midwest, market distorting practices in countries like China and India have hurt American agriculture in several ways. Crawford believes that in order for American agriculture to thrive we need fair trade, not just free trade.
Congressman Crawford views our nation’s agriculture and food supply chains through the larger lens of national security. For a nation to be secure, independent, and healthy, Crawford believes that the nation must be able to feed itself and keep its food safe. The moment America becomes too reliant on foreign food imports, we lose a significant ability to act independently and protect ourselves. Crawford also has a deep respect for production, manufacturing, and the retail side of the food and agriculture industries.
While Crawford realizes the need for supporting our nation’s agriculture producers, he is also a conservative that believes we can reduce the dependence of farmers on the federal government through opening new markets and through better risk management tools like his proposed FRAME Account for farmers, a bill he has introduced several times.
Crawford has also vigorously defended American agriculture from assaults by the EPA. When the EPA tried to regulate the amount of dust produced on farms, Crawford led the charge against the rule. When the EPA broke the law by engaging in lobbying, Crawford called them out for it and questioned the EPA administrator in a House Agriculture hearing.