Eric Alan "Rick" Crawford (1966–)
Rick Crawford is a Republican U.S. congressman from Arkansas who was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 as part of the wave of new conservatives who made up the Tea Party Movement, a group whose emergence helped the Republicans regain the majority in the House. After arriving in Washington DC, Crawford began compiling a record characterized by strong opposition to President Barack Obama and equally strong support of President Donald Trump. He has also proven himself to be adept at getting votes, being easily reelected five times.
Eric Alan “Rick” Crawford was born on January 22, 1966, on Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. He was one of three sons born to Ruth Anne Crawford and Donnie J. Crawford. His father was in the U.S. Air Force, so the family moved several times, and Crawford graduated from Alvirne High School in Hudson, New Hampshire, before entering the U.S. Army. Serving as an explosive ordnance disposal technician, he achieved the rank of sergeant before his discharge in 1989 after four years. After the army, he attended Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (Craighead County), receiving a BS in agriculture business and economics in 1996.
Crawford was at one time a rodeo performer, but an injury ended that career, and after college he pursued a career focused largely on agriculture, both in agri-communications and the general agribusiness area. He was the owner of AgWatch Network, the anchor/producer of the Delta Farm Roundup television show, an anchor/reporter for KAIT-TV, and the farm director for KFIN-FM. He also served as a columnist for Northeast Arkansas Business Today. Crawford also did a stint as marketing manager for a John Deere dealer group.
In 2010, Crawford—backed by the conservative Tea Party movement that powered the Republicans to a majority in the House—won election as the representative of the state’s First Congressional District, defeating Democrat Chad Causey to become the first Republican to represent the First District since Reconstruction. Crawford’s election was not only a major breakthrough in a longtime Democratic bastion, but his election, along with that of Tim Griffin, left Mike Ross as the only remaining Democrat in the state’s House delegation. His victory also offered strong evidence of the newfound power of the anti-Obama Tea Party movement.
In the House, he has compiled a record that has earned the support of his constituents. Only in his first reelection campaign, when he garnered fifty-six percent, did he get less than sixty percent of the vote, and in 2020, he ran unopposed.
Crawford has served on the Agriculture Committee, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as the Subcommittees on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research; Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation (C3); General Farm Commodities and Risk Management; Highways and Transit; Nutrition; Oversight and Department Operations; and Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials. In addition, Crawford has co-founded multiple caucuses, including the agriculturally oriented Congressional Rice Caucus and Congressional Chicken Caucus. He has also been a board member for 4-H Foundation of Arkansas, an agriculture policy adviser to Asa Hutchinson’s gubernatorial campaign, and a member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.
Crawford has compiled a strong conservative record. He has advocated for major cutbacks in government spending, calling the national debt a major threat to the country’s future. He has expressed his opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling allowing same-sex marriage, and he supports both the death penalty and teacher-led prayer in schools. In the House, he has also opposed all efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate ranches and farms. He has been a strong supporter of tax cuts that were a central part of the Trump administration’s agenda.
In November 2019, as the first impeachment of President Trump was advancing in the House, Crawford announced his temporary resignation from his seat on the House Intelligence Committee in order to allow radical Ohio congressman Jim Jordan to take the lead in the president’s defense in the impeachment hearings.
Crawford’s loyalty to Trump was no less on display in 2020 and 2021. He attributed his unopposed victory for reelection in 2020 to Trump’s policies, especially relating to the economy. Despite Trump’s own reelection efforts falling short, and there being no evidence of widespread electoral fraud, Crawford was the only member of the state’s delegation to contest the electoral votes on the day of the violent U.S. Capitol insurrection on January 6, 2021. He also voted against the effort to create a bi-partisan commission to investigate the events of that attack on the U.S. Capitol. He signed on as a co-sponsor to repeal the Twenty-third Amendment, which provides the citizens of Washington DC votes in the Electoral College.
In the 2022 election, Crawford defeated his Democratic opponent, Monte Hodges, taking nearly 75 percent of the vote.
Active in the Baptist Church, Crawford and his wife, Stacy Crawford, have two children and live in Jonesboro.
For additional information:
“Biography.” Congressman Rick Crawford. https://crawford.house.gov/ (accessed April 14, 2022).
“Rep. Eric ‘Rick’ Crawford.” Govtrack.us. https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/eric_crawford/412400 (accessed April 14, 2022).
Representative Eric A. “Rick” Crawford. Congress.gov. https://www.congress.gov/member/eric-crawford/C001087 (accessed April 14, 2022).
“Rick Crawford.” Ballotpedia. https://ballotpedia.org/Rick_Crawford_(Arkansas) (accessed April 14, 2022).
William H. Pruden III
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