Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Lankford to visit Grove

Kaylea M. Hutson-Miller •  khutson@grovesun.com
A Republican senator, described as being "in the thick" of things in Washington, D.C., will be the featured guest for the Northeast Oklahoma Lincoln Reagan Dinner.

U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) will serve as the keynote speaker for the meal, set for 6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Grove Civic Center, 1702 South Main, Grove.

Delaware County Republican Chairman Pastor Robert Carter said the dinner will give Lankford his first opportunity to be in Grove since his election in 2014 to complete the remaining two years of retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn's term of office.

"Sen. Lankford is in the thick of things in Washington, and he will provide an interesting and timely report on many of the issues our Federal Government is dealing with,” Carter said. “Sen. Lankford is Oklahoma’s highest ranking elected Federal official, and northeast Oklahoma is honored to be able to host him at this public dinner."

Lankford said he plans to talk to the gathering about who Republicans are, and where the party is headed in the future, concerning national issues.

Lankford said he "ardently disagrees," that the country is beyond hope.

"I'm not one to just throw up my hands, say it's too hard and quit," Lankford said. "That's not who we are."

Lankford admits the nation is "not in a good spot," but there is room for improvement.

"Congress is fighting like a couple who have overspent their credit cards," Lankford said. "Every fight we have circles back to money."

Lankford said much of his discussion will center upon the core beliefs that Republicans hold - including family, local control of government, work, rule of law and developing solutions which actually help people get out of poverty.

He said the party needs to focus on finding solutions that solve issues of poverty, rather than placing a bandaid on the issue.

Lankford likened the need to return to core values to those, held by those known as the greatest generation, like work ethic, values and integrity.

"We're not just losing this generation, we're also losing their values," Lankford said.

Ultimately, Lankford said, happenings in Washington D.C. mirrors what's taking place throughout the country.

"It reflects who we are, and what we've become as a nation," Lankford said.

Change, will only come when people make a difference in their own community, churches and schools.

"The long-term turnaround will only come through out states and communities," he said.

Lankford said he also expects he will discuss the upcoming presidential election and the slate of GOP candidates vying to become the party's nominee.

At this time, Lankford said he has not picked a favorite candidate.

"I'm pleased with the field and its diversity," Lankford said, adding that much of his views will focus on the overall process and provide "inside baseball" style tips about several of the candidates.

At this time, Lankford has not publicly thrown his support behind a candidate.

Lankford said he plans to also discuss some of his views concerning the nuclear treaty with Iran.

"This is not good for the U.S. and not good for the middle east and it's not good for Israel," Lankford said of the president's current plan. "I think no deal is better than a bad deal - and this is a bad deal."

More About Lankford

After serving four years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Lankford was elected to the U.S. Senate on Nov. 4, to complete Coburn's term of office, which expires in January 2017.

Lankford currently serves on the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Indian Affairs Committee. Additionally, Lankford serves on the Senate Republican Whip Team for the 114th Congress.

Before Lankford was elected to Congress, he served as the Director of the Falls Creek Youth Camp and Director of Student Ministry at the Baptist Convention of Oklahoma from 1995 to 2009. Falls Creek is the largest youth camp in the United States, with more than 51,000 students and adults attending each summer.

Lankford lives in Edmond with his wife Cindy. They have been married for over 20 years and have two daughters: Hannah and Jordan.

Tickets for the dinner are $50 per person and may be purchased by Monday, Sept. 28, in Grove at Shadow Arms Protection, 311 South Grand; Allstate Insurance, 2106 S. Main; Edward Jones, 2123 S Main; and Trinity Baptist Church, 206 Elk Street. Tickets are also available by contacting local Republican leaders.

One Thing With Lankford
One person who has inspired you

My faith is the driving force behind my life. It's essential to my day to day life.

With that said, my mother has always stood behind me. She's quite the lady. She has lived a life with a focus to help other people, and she's a life-long encourager to me personally.

One book that has 'stuck' with you

Scripture is extremely important to me. Another book, it's older, but "Good to Great" a book about management structures. It looks at structures that are broken and how you can turn them around.

Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God by Mark Batterson is also important to me as well.

One thing that might surprise people about you

I'm a little bit of an introvert. I speak to people all of the time, but I enjoy sitting on my back porch or in the yard planting, working or just being by myself. I like to spend a lot of time in the quiet or solitude.

One thing you can't live without

Sonic Vanilla Dr. Pepper. One of the things I don't like about D.C. is that there is no Sonics.

One piece of advice you've been given

Advice that came from Dr. Coburn. Several years ago I asked him how he did effective leadership in the congress. He said there were two ways. Become a conference committee chairman or study the issues. He was incredibly accurate. So few people study actually study the issues. If you engage and study, you can do your part behind the scenes to make an impact. Study and do the work, that was good counsel.

One thing you hope to impart on the people attending the dinner

An optimism and a sense that that national direction starts at home.

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