The environment we live in is the basis of all life. It is important to be good stewards of the world we have been given. In Oklahoma we have seen firsthand what happens when special interests take control of our government, allowing Big Oil to operate with little oversight. When they began hydraulic fracturing of the ground below us, we became #1 in the nation for earthquakes. In the past, we have also fought to protect our water supply from pollution.
We must continue to fight for common sense measures that ensure Oklahoma is still here, with adequate resources and stable ground to stand on, even after the oil is gone.
Our nation faces a growing number of threats to our security. One of the primary roles of government is to provide for our safety and security. Bad actors on the global stage must be monitored and handled appropriately. However, using them as a fear tactic to wage war and sell weapons is not appropriate.
Domestically, education is a security issue. More Americans trained to do IT work prevents outsourcing our information to foreign contractors, whose countries made the investment in skills training. Infrastructure is a security issue. We need a more reliable and secure system to be safe from attacks. Healthcare is a security issue. Far more Americans die from preventable diseases than terrorist attacks.
We are strong and should always provide our men and women in uniform what they need to keep us safe. While we do so, let’s be sure not to lose focus on things that provide security in our day-to-day lives.
Reform of our immigration system should become a real priority in our country. A few years back, a good bipartisan compromise came out of the United States Senate, only to die in the House of Representatives. It can’t even get a vote there.
The reason given, was that “the border must first be secured.” Simply put, this is nothing more than a political posture. The same position our current Congressman holds today. Common sense tells us that it is impossible to secure ALL of our borders 100%. We need to get serious and work to give some stability to our system, people, and businesses so we can move forward together. Migration is part of human history and will continue to be so for the world and a nation of immigrants like us.
Our veterans are heroes. These brave Americans risk their lives to protect our country with honor and pride. While they are the world’s best, they are not treated as such. They return to a system where they struggle to get medical care. Mental healthcare is often not available as they struggle with what they have been through. On average 22 of our finest commit suicide every day. We have too many VA hospitals that not been managed properly. Too many lose their homes because they may have struggled making a home mortgage payment while deployed. Those who have families sacrifice watching their children grow up.
This is my promise: I will fight to improve current services and secure additional ones. This will be accomplished by job retraining if necessary, quicker medical care, improved and funded mental health care, housing which is affordable and funding loans at no interest rate. I will fight for veterans and their families to make sure they are treated with dignity and respect. I will make sure American soldiers have superior equipment designed to protect their lives. No more purchasing of bullet proof vests by family members.
I grew up on a family farm and it remains in my family today. Our land is more to us than dirt. It is home. It brings attention to doing hard work — being creative when needing to solve problems. It means watching the weather reports and knowing when to plant and when to wait. It means knowing when to sell livestock and when not to. It means knowing your neighbors and often sharing labor. When neighbors were building or bringing in the hay crop, others went to help them. Labor was traded, money never exchanged hands, but time and effort did. Farmers and ranchers understand this and I stand with them.
Agriculture has a long tradition in Oklahoma. Oklahoma farmers and ranchers expect fairness and to seek opportunity to expand our exports. I will seek to find markets that want our products and to expand our markets. In the Fifth Congressional District, there is more than Oklahoma City, but even in our urban areas agriculture puts food in grocery stores.
Voting is a right of the people. Currently, there are efforts to undermine voting rights. Some states have required additional documentation making it difficult for some voters to participate in elections. Citing nonexistent voter fraud, the President has asked all 50 states to provide the names of voters, whether they vote, and birth dates and portions of their social security numbers. Why is the government wanting this information? I am concerned Big Government is overstepping their reach. While we can trust our states to conduct elections, there should be a national standard to create greater opportunity to vote through mail in or early voting at our county election boards. We should be a country that helps our citizens to vote, not a country who restricts voting. Further I support a nonpartisan redistricting commission who has a responsibility to redistrict legislative lines and who would take power from the politicians in power and give it back to the people.
I am a proud father, son, grandson, grandfather, uncle, and cousin to women who helped shape my character. They have shown the value of hard work, creative thinking, and education. Growing up, my twin daughters learned to stand up for others. Today they have their own families and have taught their children the value in helping others. Together I have three granddaughters. Each know what it means to be respectful to all people and, like their mothers, to take a stand up for others.
Our women are strong and deserve equal pay for equal work and should be trusted to make their own healthcare decisions.
The day after his election, President Kennedy was at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. He was on the beach with family when young Caroline tugged on his pant leg — she had a question to ask. As she began, a person appeared calling for the President to take an urgent phone call. He turned to go but Caroline had not finished her question. The President’s father stopped him and said, ‘John, what your daughter has to say at this moment is more important than what the person on the telephone has to say, remember that John.’ As you might imagine the young President went back to his daughter. The lesson he learned was that the needs of our children, our future are our top priority.
Our children should have every advantage when it comes to their education, future employment, career choice, and right to medical care. It is my intention to support these issues in Washington.
Almost a century ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt recognized Americans needed a guaranteed income when they retired, so he proposed the Social Security Act. A contract between the government and citizens for a tax on their income that would return a monthly check when they retired. Americans have honored this agreement every generation since.
Today, some politicians want to break the promise our government made. I asked our current Congressman if he feels that way. His answer was yes — saying the world has changed and we simply cannot afford these programs any longer.
Let’s be honest. Both parties have driven the national debt by budgeting beyond their means. Then they have raided our retirements to pay for it. We then are told we cannot sustain these programs in the years to come. Social Security is viable if politicians keep their end of the deal to protect these programs rather than abuse them. The people should not suffer or live in fear that what they have paid for will be taken away. A deal is a deal.
Our elected officials must be held accountable, not only for breaking laws but also for violating ethical standards. We deserve representation from elected officials rather than them forgetting who they work for. Our officials represent all the people in their district, not just those who supported them in their election or lobbyists who write big checks.
My position with lobbyists is a simple one: if you have money to spend, then send a check to a nonprofit agency in the district.
I support legislation mandating any elected federal official to annually report how many foreign trips they took, the cost, purpose, length of time they were away, and what was accomplished from these trips. I further intend to seek legislation that will require any person running for the presidency as their party candidate submit completed tax forms for the previous 15-year period at minimum. Frankly, any person who seeks such a high office should be required to submit tax documents. We as taxpayers pay our share, and when a candidate seeks the most powerful position in the world, he or she should be required to be transparent.
We as a government need to be responsive to our “bosses.” This will mean each day my staff will reach out to persons living the district to inquire if they have a concern or issue we can assist with.
We want to hear from you, no matter who you are! In the coming months, we’ll be featuring the stories of people all over the Fifth District here. We welcome all viewpoints to help everyone involved understand the challenges we face together.