This is the first time Rich Cramsey (D-Clayton) has run for political office. He is campaigning to unseat incumbent Randy Frese (R-Paloma) who is seeking his third term in the Illinois House.
Cramsey, 66, retired after a 30 year career in pharmaceuticals. Cramsey is a farmer and has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Agriculture Education from the University of Illinois.
“Times have changed a little bit and I feel at this point in my life I have a lot of experiences and I truly want to help people and change the course of where the state of Illinois is going,” Cramsey said.
Cramsey said he had considered running a couple years ago to fill the 18th Congressional District seat left vacant after Republican Aaron Schock resigned. But he did not end up on the ballot and was instead asked by others to run as a state representative as a way to “...get my feet wet and make a difference.”
Cramsey said he wants to do something positive for the state of Illinois and the people of the 94th district. He said his education and work experience have prepared him for the job. He plans to apply the skills he developed working in pharmaceuticals to the office. “In the pharmaceutical industry, package inserts I needed to know verbatim so I’ve dealt with a lot of material,” Cramsey said. “When you’re a representative you have a ton of information that you need to read through and come up with a response."
Cramsey said he went through a horrible divorce a few decades ago and ended up having to declare bankruptcy. “I’ve seen a lot of good and bad in my lifetime and I think that helps me so that I can relate to people,” Cramsey said. As a result, Cramsey said he’s not interested in giving handouts, but rather would like to give a hand up.
Additionally, Cramsey said he is very familiar with the 94th district and has a vision to bring rural Illinois into the future and the passion to make it happen.
Cramsey describes himself as a Harry Truman type of Democrat who believes in a value system. “I have to be true to myself, so I look true to you so you will tell me what you think needs to happen. I serve the constituents, they don’t serve me. They pay my salary, but I am working on their behalf.”
Cramsey said his top priorities, if elected would be jobs followed closely by education. “Living wage jobs, I think is the horsepower that runs the wheels and keeps everything going,” Cramsey said. “Closely associated to that is education. You need to be education to get the living wage jobs so they kind of run hand in hand.”
His third priority is healthcare. Cramsey said he doesn’t think healthcare is a personal right, but that it is important people have access to affordable healthcare.
The fourth priority is infrastructure in rural areas, which he said includes better roads, access to clean water, improving cell phone service, and expanding high speed internet.
Cramsey said he would use problem-solving and negotiating to achieve his priorities in the legislature. “My thirty years in dealing with physicians, pharmaceuticals, and hospitals from a pharmaceutical perspective in negotiating contracts and making deals with people will give me a leg up on helping me bring the values of the 94th district. I talk about being an ambassador, but also about being a conduit to bring that information back,” Cramsey said.
Cramsey is running as a Democrat to represent the 94th district in the Illinois House. The 94th House District includes all or portions of Adams, Hancock, Henderson, and Warren counties.