BETA

Lessons in honesty, integrity serve him well as congressman

The final days prior to elections can be crucial in a campaign for the U.S. Congress and often is a time when candidates make a final push to secure their bid for office.

But a few days before the Nov. 3 elections, Michael D. Crapo - the newly elected Republican congressman from Idaho - took a day off to baptize his daughter a member of the Church and to be with his family."There was a lot of pressure because the campaign was all coming to a focus," he explained. "It would have been possible to say the campaign was too important and to put the baptism off. But I sat down with my campaign team and told them that my daughter's baptism was far more important than this race. We set aside that day for her and had no scheduling."

While this story may seem a small occurrence, it shows how important family is to Brother Crapo, 41, recently released as president of the Idaho Falls Idaho Eagle Rock Stake after serving for five years.

Another example of his devotion to the family came when Brother Crapo - a former Idaho state senator - was named Family Statesman of the Year by the Family Forum for working to protect family values while serving in the Legislature the past eight years.

"Of all the honors bestowed on me, I think that one means the most - to be recognized as one who has been fighting for family values and strengthening the institution of the family," Brother Crapo commented.

Now as a representative in the 103rd Congress, sworn in Jan. 5, Brother Crapo hopes to continue as an advocate of family values on a national level.

"Every aspect of our lives is affected in some way by government and it can be abused," Brother Crapo continued. "What we are seeing now is a tendency for abuse. Having prior experience in government, and realizing how important it is to families to create an environment where they flourish is what encouraged me to get into politics."

Brother Crapo, born and reared in Idaho Falls, grew up in a home with strong family ties where lessons of honesty and integrity were taught. The youngest of six children, Brother Crapo was part of a family committed to the gospel and Church activity.

"My parents [George LaVell and Melba Christa Olsen CrapoT always taught me that my honor and my integrity were the highest priority and that has really served me well in my political involvement. They gave me a lot of trust and taught me correct principles. They were there as back up to make sure I lived right, but always let me make the decision."

He illustrated this principle by recalling a time as a young boy when he wasn't sure he wanted to go to Primary after the family moved into a new ward.

"I told my mom I didn't want to go. She discussed why we had Primary and how Heavenly Father would feel if I didn't go. She told me I could do what I wanted, but to think of the impact it would have."

Growing up in a family where there was a high level of patriotism also added to his desire to serve, he reflected.

"I think that carried over into my adult life. My brother [Terry, a former Idaho state representative and House majority leaderT was also involved in politics and I managed his campaign and that influenced me."

Brother Crapo graduated summa cum laude from BYU in political science in 1973 and was married in 1974 to Susan Hasleton in the Idaho Falls Temple. He went on to graduate cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1977.

A clerkship with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Diego, Calif., capped off his law school experience.

Then in 1978 he joined a large national law firm in San Diego where he practiced until deciding to move back to Idaho in 1979. He continued his work as an attorney in Idaho while serving two terms in the state Legislature.

As a state senator he served as assistant majority leader and then as president pro tempore, the highest elected office in the Idaho Senate, the person who presides over and manages the Senate.

"I believe part of the reason I've been able to be entrusted with those positions is that my word was good and I had a reputation for one who honored what he said," Brother Crapo remarked.

As a freshman congressman, Brother Crapo has already been given responsible assignments in the House of Representatives. On Dec. 9 he was elected New Member Leader, only one of 47 Republican freshmen to serve in Republican leadership in the House, and will serve with eight other senior Republican representatives.

"That will give me an opportunity to work with our Republican leadership team in establishing parity, to focus on strengthening families and bring reforms to Congress that will bring the respect it deserves."

Brother Crapo was also selected to be on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The committee is one of three major committees in the House, he said, with more than 50 percent of legislation coming before the committee.

"Only two freshmen were put on the committee," he noted. "This will give me an opportunity to sit in a posture where I can have an impact on these issues."

Brother Crapo noted that there is a remarkable amount of consensus among the large group of freshmen members of the House and Senate regarding the need to reform Congress, balance the budget, eliminate the federal debt, support the presidential line item veto and term limits.

"There is such a consensus that we as a group are able to speak with a large block of votes. These issues are also non-partisan among the freshmen members of Congress in general. Many of the freshmen Democrats campaigned on the same themes as I and other Republicans did. I am sure we are going to find that there are many who are willing to cross party lines and work for the common good of the country."

Brother Crapo represents the 2nd Congressional District of Idaho, which covers primarily Southern and Eastern Idaho.

"I know I will be realized as a member of the Church," he said. "By maintaining integrity and a high level of effectiveness, it will reflect on me as well as my church."

He and his wife are the parents of five children: Michelle, 14; Brian, 12; Stephanie, 10; Lara, 8; and Paul, 6. They reside in the Pioneer Ward of the Idaho Falls Idaho Eagle Rock Stake.

"My upbringing has benefited me because Idaho, as well as a lot of Intermountain states, is impacted largely by rural and agricultural backgrounds and there is a strong work ethic that I think will do me well.

"Growing up with a strong emphasis on traditional values, integrity and honesty, will also be a benefit," he concluded. "Remembering those values must be honored is especially important here in a congressional environment when all too often issues get clouded and the focus can get distorted."