EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

April 5, 2012

Minn. congressman's Windham home raises questions

WINDHAM — The Cravaacks did what a lot of families do after a big job promotion came through in Boston.

They bought a house in upscale Windham.

But that real estate purchase is having political ramifications in two states and in Washington, D.C.. That's because Chip Cravaack, a congressman from Minnesota, is spending weekend time with the wife and kids in New Hampshire while running for re-election.

The first-term Republican is under fire from political groups in Minnesota and New Hampshire that are questioning his residency and ability to effectively represent constituents.

Cravaack was elected in 2010, ousting an entrenched Democrat, running on a platform advocating repeal of the health-care reforms passed under President Obama.

His wife, an executive with a pharmaceutical company, later landed a promotion requiring her to work in Boston. The family decided she and their two sons would relocate in the East. Cravaack, meanwhile, keeps a home in Minnesota.

Last summer the congressman and his wife, Traci, bought a house at 18 Sheffield St. in Windham, paying $645,000, assessor Rex Norman said, after reviewing town records.

The four-bedroom home, with two and a half baths and a three-car garage, was built in 2002 and is assessed at $578,100. Norman described it as a "mid-range priced home" for Windham.

Cravaack is keeping a low profile in town.

"I haven't run into him at Shaw's or anywhere," Selectmen's Chairman Bruce Breton said. "I heard months ago that somebody from Minnesota moved to Sheffield Street, but I didn't know it was a congressman."

He admitted he was a little perplexed by the situation.

"I'm just glad he's a taxpayer in Windham," Breton said.

Cravaack hasn't been in for a haircut yet at Windham Barbershop in the Cobbetts Pond plaza.

"I don't think so," barber Tristin Herdt said.

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