The Woodward News

Local News

May 25, 2014

Budget still biggest issue for Lankford

Republican Congressman James Lankford discussed a variety of hot topics during a public forum held at the Woodward Conference Center on Friday afternoon.

Lankford made the stop in Woodward as part of his campaign trail as he vies for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Dr. Tom Coburn. He also had stops in Alva and Guymon on Friday.

He first met with some campaign donors as part of a private lunch before holding the public forum where he allowed citizens to "ask me about anything."

Lankford explained that he views campaigning as "a job interview for me," so he wanted voters to feel free to discuss whatever issues were of concern to them since they would be the ones deciding whether or not to "hire" him as Oklahoma's next Senator.

Issues raised at the forum included Sharia law, military funding, the space program, exportation of natural gas, and Common Core education standards.

However, when asked about what he views as his top priority if chosen to represent Oklahoma in the Senate, Lankford said, "our number one task right now is the budget."

"The biggest issue of the day is how do we get out of debt," he said.  "We all can stand up and say it's bad, but it's the role of leadership to step up and say this is how we get out of it."

The Congressman said he has already been working to address some of the budget issues during his three and a half years in the House where he has served on the budget committee.

But while he believes in the need for a balanced budget, Lankford said he doesn't believe the solution is to sacrifice funding critical areas like our nation's military.

He discussed how he fought to reinstate cost of living wage increases for retired military personnel after the raises were cut as part of the sequestration legislation.

Lankford said another priority of his is bringing conservative values and a conservative voice to our nation's leadership.

In particular, he said he believes in reigning in the federal government.

"It's not that I don't believe we need a federal government; I just believe in a limited government that does it's job and not anybody else's," he said.

For example, he discussed how President Obama seeks to "publicize healthcare ... when healthcare is a uniquely private responsibility" and how the federal government has put its hands into education through the Common Core standards when "education is uniquely a state responsibility and a family responsibility."

"We need to pull the federal government out of our business," he said.

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