Dale Crafts, Republican of Lisbon, is a former state representative (2009-2017) from District 56. He won his party's primary in July to run against incumbent U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat, in Maine's 2nd District.

The 61-year-old businessman has owned a mailing company, storage unit companies, construction companies and was general manager of John D. Crafts Inc., a used car dealership in Lisbon Falls, according to Ballotpedia.

Injured in a motorcycle accident 37 years ago, Crafts has been in a wheelchair since. The father of six and grandfather of 14 told The Republican Journal he is running because he has "had a wonderful life here in America and in our state," and wants to give back. He added that he is concerned about the way the country is going.

He said his top two objectives for his first term in Washington, D.C., would be to use his business skills to bring back the nation's economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and to bring health care "back to a free-market system" to improve the quality of care and lower costs. "I'm willing to work with the other side," he said, on a free-market-based plan.

We recorded a Zoom interview with Crafts Aug. 14, in which he said, "I am a free-market capitalist that believes in our documents and thinks that our founders were among the most brilliant people ever."


In dealing with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Crafts said, the government must balance giving people the latest public health information with keeping businesses open as much as possible. He said Maine should not have shut down, adding that government has put out conflicting information, for example, about the importance of non-medical personnel wearing masks.


The answer to concerns about how police are trained and how law enforcement is carried out in this country "is certainly not defunding the police," he said, adding that America is not perfect, but it has one of the best judicial systems in the world.

He decried the "rioting and lawlessness" in some U.S. cities in response to the deaths of George Floyd and other people of color, saying police should have more training to handle high-tension situations. "We're going to have a few bad apples, no matter what industry you're in," he said

U.S. and Maine economy

To fix the national and state economies, Crafts said, "First thing we've got to do is get people back to work," noting that before the pandemic, the economy was booming.

Crafts stressed the need for workforce training, saying that some Maine businesses cannot hire the skilled labor they need. He said not everyone needs or wants a four-year college education, and training in the trades should be promoted more. He added that the shutdown has been hard on small-business owners, some of whom had borrowed against their homes to support the growth of their enterprises.

Climate change

Crafts told about being a boy in Lisbon Falls, where there was a dam on the Androscoggin River. At that time, he said, when he went by "there was about a foot of foam coming off the dam" from pollutants in the water. Now, he said, people fish there, a walking trail runs beside it and the river supports eagles and other wildlife. The point, he said, was that, "We just can't overnight fix it all."

He said technology, rather than government regulation, would provide the solutions to today's environmental problems.


On women's reproductive rights, he said, "I'm very strong pro-life. We need to take care of women's health, but also, I'm a strong, strong … 100% pro-life."


Crafts, who sits on the board of The Sportsman's Alliance of Maine, said he strongly supports the Second Amendment. He said mass shootings are not committed by "law-abiding citizens," but often by people with mental health problems, who should be given more help. He added that he thinks education in firearms safety is a better solution to gun violence than restricting access to guns.


He said he favors school choice, referring to the practice of allowing parents to use public school funds to pay for education in a private school, charter school or at home, and that he thinks forcing schools to compete for students will improve the overall quality of education.

He said high schools should bring back shop classes and more should be done to encourage students to consider education in the trades as an alternative to a four-year college.


Regarding the U.S.'s biggest economic rival, Crafts quoted President Trump, saying, "We've been ripped off long enough." He said our trade relationship with China has been "lopsided," to our disadvantage, and adding that when we once again have fair trade, many U.S. companies will return from overseas.

U.S. military abroad

"I'm for a strong military," Crafts said, but added that there is a lot of wasteful spending in the military that should be ended. "If you've got more money going out than coming in, in business, you're in trouble," he said. "But in the federal government, that doesn't seem to be a problem."

He said he supports bringing troops home "if it's the right time," and noted that, "We can't police the whole world." Crafts said he agreed with Trump's push to get North Atlantic Treaty Alliance partners to help in this area.

In conclusion

Crafts expressed concern over the way the country is going. "This country has changed the world … we've helped freedom around the world. … I see an attack on that, I see that the progressive left is really pushing very hard to change America," he said. He added that he hopes "we can get back to the very things … that made this country great."