Gregg Harper lines up his team

Congressman-elect Gregg Harper is featured in today’s paper because he is in Washington for his orientation session. Meanwhile, he’s been quietly lining up his staff team to be ready to hit the ground running in January.

Winston County’s Michael Cravens will be serving as Harper’s Chief of Staff; his selection is a tribute to Harper’s good judgment and Cravens’ work ethic and political skills.

Cravens cut his teeth in politics in the first Kirk Fordice campaign, then spent a good deal of time working for The Taylor Group then building his own business, learning the ropes in PR, government relations and technology applications. Prior to this year, his most recent claim to fame among conservatives had been his work managing now-Senator Giles Ward’s campaign in 2007 to unseat a three term incumbent from the state senate. Few thought Ward could win that race, and many thought it was critically important that he win. Cravens managed the effort and Ward won a tough race.

Then, when Gregg Harper decided to make his race for Congress late last year, he tapped Cravens at Ward’s urging to run his first congressional campaign. Again, few thought Cravens’ candidate could win the day, as Harper was considerably outspent by two of his opponents and was not the best known in the field. Again, Cravens managed the effort and Harper won a tough race.

Observers of Cravens’ style and energy describe him as humble but high-octane. The same is often said of Gregg Harper. The two will make a splendid team in Washington, and it’s going to be fun to watch two outsiders take on the power brokers inside the Beltway as rookies in the minority. Don’t be surprised to see a lot of news generated by Gregg Harper and his right hand man, Michael Cravens.

Clarion Ledger