© 2024 WFSU Public Media
WFSU News · Tallahassee · Panama City · Thomasville
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

'Traditional' North Florida Democrat Crapps Makes Congressional Bid

Steve Crapps Campaign

Steve Crapps is one of two Democrats running in North Florida’s Second Congressional District. If you want to know who the essential Steve Crapps is, he’s happy to share this story:

“When I was at DCF – Department of Children and Families – every day at lunch I’d say a prayer; a blessing,” he recalled. “A blessing that we were allowed to have such a good meal and a good job. And you know what? The next day I just sat there and everybody said, ‘Are you going to say the blessing?’ So I said it again and the next thing I knew, all the supervisors and the workers who were eating with me, they went home and guess what? They said, ‘We need to give thanks.’”

Steve Crapps is part of a rare – some might say almost extinct – species: an old-fashioned North Florida Democrat. A native of Live Oak, his political and personal philosophy harkens back to the time when the terms “Democrat” and “conservative” were not mutually exclusive. And like his so-called “Blue Dog” forbears, Crapps is a firm believer that one can hold onto fundamental principles while still finding middle ground with those holding different views.

“This is where you need someone that I call the ‘peacemakers’, the ‘moderates’. People that are strong and firm in their conviction of the values of their district, yet they’re willing to work with whatever party – Republican, Independent, Tea Party, whatever – they’re willing to work with them and say, ‘Here’s an ongoing issue; we need to compromise,’” he insisted.

Take the issue of gun rights, for instance. Crapps is an avid shooter and a proud member of the NRA. But he also believes that many like-minded gun owners in the district feel the Second Amendment can accommodate a few reasonable limitations.

“And I talked to so many people at gun shops and private people and I’m like, ‘You know, don’t you feel first-time gun owners they should have to take a one-hour safety course (covering) safe handling and storing of the gun?’ and everyone across the board has agreed that should be mandated.”

Crapps also supports nationwide standards for firearm background checks.

“For any gun sale, we need a universal background check. This is not denying anyone the right to own a firearm whatsoever. It’s to make sure you’re not mentally impaired, you’re not tied to a terrorist organization, it’s now everyone’s responsibility to keep America safe.”

Crapps believes that national security imperative also extends to issues such as illegal immigration and harboring refugees from strife-torn countries.

“It’s our duty to the American public to keep them safe at all costs and if we can’t identify who’s a friendly and who’s not, we cannot accept them into our border…that’s just a no-no. We need to say no more illegal immigrants; illegal immigrants are out!” he exclaimed firmly.

And when it comes to those immigrants who enter the country legally, Crapps wants to see them quickly assimilate the values and culture of their new homeland.

“We don’t want a bunch of factions breaking off all throughout America and we basically have 30 little countries within America. We want everyone to go through the process, and know our background, our history, how our country’s progressed, our failures, our successes.”

But although Crapps’ stance on these issues sounds more Republican than Democrat, he also supports Democratic initiatives like “Obamacare”, with maybe a slight modification or two.

“The most important thing I can tell you is the Affordable Care Act; it’s working for 8-million people. We’re going to find a way to expand the roll and try to include more people. But the number one thing we’ve got to do is stop the penalties.”

Now Crapps says he’s crisscrossing the District, which includes fourteen counties in whole or in part, nearly nonstop. He’s meeting with District Two residents, taking part in candidate forums and he says he’s even placing most of his yard signs himself. Crapps faces Walter Dartland in the August thirtieth Democratic primary. The winner of that contest faces the winner of the three-way Republican primary, featuring Neal Dunn, Mary Thomas and Ken Sukhia, in November.

Follow @flanigan_tom

Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

Find complete bio, contact info, and more stories. here.