Know your Oklahoma candidates: U.S. House of Representatives
On Nov. 3, Oklahoma voters will elect five candidates from the state’s five congressional districts to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Republican Party currently holds four out of five congressional seats from Oklahoma. All of the 435 U.S. representatives are up for reelection this year.
The Producing II class from the Department of Mass Communication at UCO conducted an informal poll with students to find their top issues for the Nov. 3 election. Over 130 students were polled, and here are their topics of most interest: human rights, social justice, healthcare and economy.
Congressional District 1 Candidates
R – Kevin Hern (Incumbent)
Kevin Hern was born in Belton, Missouri. He is a businessman and has held various leadership positions dealing with finance, tax, insurance and more.
Hern assumed office on Nov. 13, 2018. Hern represents the Republicans and is running for reelection to the House.
Hern is a member of several House committees, including Small Business, Natural Resources and the Budget. He is also a member of several caucuses, such as the Pro-Life Caucus, the Border Security Caucus and the House Energy Action Team.
According to his website, Hern’s key issues are veterans, economy and jobs, budget, family values, immigration and national security. He also believes in protecting Second Amendment rights, life and religious liberty. He is a supporter of President Donald Trump and has voted against Trump’s impeachment. In a statement on social media, Hern expressed his support for Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court in a press release.
Here are Hern’s stances on UCO students’ top issues:
- Hern is pro-life and has participated in several for-life marches and events. He co-sponsored the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2019 (H.R.369) alongside incumbent Reps. Markwayne Mullin and Tom Cole, which seeks to temporarily restrict federal funding toward the organization for a year unless they certify that their affiliates and clinics will not perform abortions.
- Hern voted against a resolution (H.Res.908) that called on public officials to condemn and denounce anti-Asian sentiment, racism and discrimination related to COVID-19.
- In a press release addressing the death of George Floyd, Hern said: “Nearly a century has passed, but racial inequality is still alive and well in the United States. The injustice done to George Floyd and his family is reprehensible. Records show that this bad cop had a history of excessive force incidents – he should not have been on the police force in the first place. I join President Trump’s call for a full investigation, and I pray justice is served.”
- Hern voted against passing George Floyd Justice in Policing Act 2020 (H.R.7120), which includes measures to “increase accountability for law enforcement misconduct, to enhance transparency and data collection, and to eliminate discriminatory policing practices.”
Hern supports repealing Obamacare and believes in a free-market driven healthcare system, where healthcare decisions are made between patients and their doctors.
- According to his website, he supports cutting government spending to decrease national debt. He also co-sponsored a resolution (H.J.Res.22), which would amend the Constitution to require a balanced budget.
- Hern voted for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, Economic Security Act (H.R.748), or better known as the CARES Act, which provides economic assistance for American businesses and families.
D – Kojo Asamoa-Caesar
Kojo Asamoa-Caesar was born in Alexandria, Virginia, and is the son of immigrants from Ghana. He is a law school graduate and a Tulsa kindergarten teacher. He was formerly the founding principal of Greenwood Leadership Academy, an elementary school in North Tulsa. Most recently, Asamoa-Caesar served as the interim executive director at 36 Degrees North, the first co-working space in Tulsa.
Asamoa-Caesar has no prior political experience. In a response to Ballotpedia’s 2020 Candidate Connection Survey, he disagreed with a question that asked if it was beneficial for representatives to have prior political experience, saying that it was more beneficial for representatives to “have lived life in the real world in service to others and in service to a cause greater than themselves.”
In winning the congressional seat for District 1, Asamoa-Caesar would become the first African American, first 1st-generation American and first millennial to hold the seat. He would also become the first Democrat to hold the seat since 1986.
According to his campaign website, his key issues are education and opportunity, health and economic security, justice and equity, and environment and infrastructure.
Here are Asamoa-Caesar’s stances on UCO students’ top issues:
On his campaign website, Asamoa-Caesar said that he will “support and defend the civil rights of all people in America, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, or physical or mental ability,” as stated under his justice and equity platform. He also wants to protect the rights to access reproductive health care. Additionally, he seeks to respect all sovereign rights of tribal nations and honor all tribal treaties.
Asamoa-Caesar wants to stop over-policing of black and brown communities as part of his justice and equity platform, according to his campaign website.
Asamoa-Caesar wants to achieve universal healthcare for all Americans.
As part of his health and economic security platform, Asamoa-Caesar wants to cancel all student loan debt and eliminate tuition at public colleges and universities. He also wants to “raise minimum wage to a living wage.”
Congressional District 2 Candidates
R – Markwayne Mullin (Incumbent)
Markwayne Mullin, a business owner and former mixed martial arts fighter from Westville, Oklahoma, assumed office on Jan. 3, 2013. He represents the Republican party and is running for re-election to the House for a fifth term.
Mullin is a member of the Cherokee nation and is one of four Native American members of the 116th Congress.
According to his website, his key issues are defense and national security, economy and jobs, education, energy, foreign affairs, health issues, Native American affairs, spending cuts and debt, tax reform and veterans issues. Mullin expressed his support for Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court in a press release.
Here are Mullin’s stances on UCO students’ top issues:
- Mullin said that he is pro-life on his social media accounts and has shown public support for the movement. He co-sponsored the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2019 (H.R.369) alongside incumbent Reps. Kevin Hern and Tom Cole.
- As a member of the Cherokee nation, Mullin has expressed his commitment to representing Native Americans in Congress. He has cosponsored two bills that address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women.
- Mullin has expressed his support for law enforcement officers online and disagrees with the idea of defunding the police. However, in a press release, he recognizes that police reform is needed.
- Mullin was unable to be there to vote on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act 2020 (H.R.7120). In the same press release, he said that he would have voted against it if he was present and that the bill was partisan.
- Mullin is against Obamacare and prefers a free-market driven healthcare system, where healthcare decisions are made between patients and their doctors.
- According to his website, he states that he is working specifically to reform Native American health care in his role in the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee.
- In the context of COVID-19, Mullin has cosponsored and shown support for legislation that will “hold China accountable for the role they played in the pandemic.” In a press release, Mullin said that China was “directly responsible for the pandemic which has cost us too many lives and livelihoods, all while completely devastating our economy.”
According to his economy and jobs platform, Mullin wants to cut government spending, reform tax code and end regulations that restrict the private sector from creating jobs.
D – Danyell Lanier
Danyell Lanier was born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and is a citizen of the Cherokee nation. She is a post-Gulf War navy veteran with a background in logistics and healthcare. She was honorably discharged in 1999 with plans to start a family and received five medals for her five years of service.
She calls herself a “passionate advocate for veterans and victims of domestic violence.” Her campaign was endorsed by the Oklahoma Democratic Party Veterans Committee and the Collective PAC.
According to her campaign website, Lanier’s key issues are protecting resources, improving health, investing in America and justice reform.
Here are Lanier’s stances on UCO students’ top issues:
Lanier has expressed her support for the LGBTQ+ community on her Facebook page. Most recently, she wrote “I am here as an ally for the (LGBTQIA+) community” on Oct. 11, National Coming Out Day.
- Lanier has been an active participant of Oklahoma rallies protesting racial injustice. She was a speaker at the Black Lives Matter rally in Grove. Oklahoma. She has also shown her support for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery on her Facebook page.
- Lanier believes in using rehabilitation to curb crime. She wants to have resources available to allow low-level offenders to restart and “become contributing members of society again.
- She promotes additional training for elected officials and government employees, which will cover topics such as biases regarding addiction issues, race and mental health issues.
Lanier wants to fight for better healthcare and funding to obtain sufficient medical resources for people in rural Oklahoma. She says that “everyone deserves access to affordable quality healthcare.”
Congressional District 3 Candidates
R – Frank Lucas (Incumbent)
Frank Lucas was born in Cheyenne, Oklahoma. He graduated with a degree in Agricultural Economics from Oklahoma State University in 1982.
Lucas has been in office for 17 years. He was first elected to the House to represent Oklahoma’s 6th congressional district, but it was eliminated in 2003. Before serving in Congress, he served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives for 5 1/2 years.
Lucas is running for reelection under the Republican Party. His reelection has been endorsed by President Donald Trump and the Oklahoma Farm Bureau.
According to his website, Lucas calls himself a “crusader for the American farmer.” His issues are agriculture, defense and national security, economy and jobs, health, immigration, lower taxes and government spending, protecting social security, real energy solutions and veterans affairs.
Lucas expressed support for the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court in a press release.
Here are Lucas’ stances of UCO students’ top issues:
Lucas believes in reforming healthcare through three major steps.
- Providing funding for private health insurance for Americans that don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid,
- Lowering the costs of medical procedures and health insurance.
- Expanding the use of telemedicine technologies to reach Americans in rural areas.
Lucas aims to “put money back in the pockets of American people.”
According to his economy and jobs platform, Lucas wants to cut down on government spending and cut taxes on American families and small businesses.
D – Zoe Ann Midyett
Zoe Midyett was born in Tucson, Arizona. She is running on a Democratic platform against incumbent Rep. Frank Lucas. She calls herself a “Rural Ranch Democrat” and a voice for rural America.
Midyett, a small business owner and hobby farmer and rancher, is also a member of the Medical Reserve Corps, where she assists Oklahomans with tornado and other disaster recovery efforts. She hopes to make funding for natural disaster relief a priority if she gets elected.
According to her website, her issues are education, rural healthcare, agriculture, small business, diversity in action, minimum wage, voting rights, gunsense and energy.
Here are Midyett’s stances on UCO students’ top issues:
On her website, Midyett said she will “work for Americans of all faiths, races, genders, sexual orientation and creeds.” She also expressed her support for the LGBTQ+ community, saying “it’s time to give all Americans equal rights.”
Midyett states that she will fight for a diverse community and recognizes the lack of diversity in action. On her website, she called out several instances of racial injustice, including the killing of Ahmaud Arbery and remarks made by President Donald Trump against communities of color.
Midyett is for expanding Medicaid in Oklahoma to help rural hospitals.
Midyett wants to achieve greater income equality and increase minimum wage to a living wage for all Americans.
If she were to be elected, Midyett said she will promise transparency and oversight into taxes and promise legislation that will support small business owners.
Congressional District 4 Candidates
R – Tom Cole (Incumbent)
Tom Cole, a former European history professor at the University of Oklahoma born in Shreveport, Louisiana, has been in his position for 17 years. He is running for reelection under the Republican Party.
Before serving in Congress, Cole was a member of the Oklahoma State Senate and was the Oklahoma Secretary of State. He has also held various leadership positions within the Republican Party, including chair and executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee and chief of staff of the Republican National Committee.
Cole is a member of the Chickasaw nation and is one of four Native American members in Congress. He serves on the House committees on Appropriations and on Rules.
According to his website, Cole’s issues are agriculture, defense and national security, economy, education, energy, financial services, foreign affairs, healthcare, immigration, life, natural resources, science and technology, Second Amendment, small business, social security, taxes, transportations, tribal relations, and veterans and military retirees.
In a press release, Cole expressed his support for the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Here are Cole’s stances on UCO students’ top issues:
- Cole is pro-life and has a 100 percent pro-life voting record. He considers the protection of life as one of his highest priorities. He co-sponsored the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2019 (H.R.369) alongside incumbent Reps. Kevin Hern and Markwayne Mullin.
- As a member of the Chickasaw nation, Cole has expressed his commitment to representing the rights and government of Native Americans.
- Cole addressed the death of George Floyd and the events that followed it in his weekly column, saying that the nation was facing a “difficult reckoning” and that an “important dialogue” was started. He said “While there are differences in opinion on the needed solutions, it’s worth recognizing the goal is the same – and that is to make our communities safer for all, regardless of color or creed.”
- Cole voted against passing George Floyd Justice in Policing Act 2020 (H.R.7120).
- Cole is against Obamacare and prefers a free-market driven healthcare system, where healthcare decisions are made between patients and their doctors.
- Cole’s suggestions for solutions at the federal level include lowering prescription drug costs, encouraging medical research, increasing competition in the health industry, preventing waste, fraud and abuse, and expanding opportunities for consumer-directed care.
- Cole believes in cutting down federal government spending to help decrease national debt.
- During his time in office, Cole and other Congress members passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017, which cut taxes for individuals and businesses.
- Moving forward, Cole plans to continue to oversee the Internal Revenue Service and “continue working to ensure tax dollars are spent wisely and that congressional decisions regarding taxes allow Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money.”
D – Mary Brannon
Mary Brannon, a former school counselor and teacher born in Ada, Oklahoma, is running on a Democratic platform against incumbent Rep. Tom Cole.
According to her campaign website, Brannon “absolutely supports Oklahoma schools, protecting Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid, our Veterans, as well as providing transparency in government. Her key issues are for veterans to be a priority, returning tax cuts to where they were, social security and Medicare to stop getting cut, and affordable health care.
Here are Brannon’s stances on UCO students’ top issues:
Brannon hopes of achieving affordable health care if elected.
Brannon says she believes in returning tax cuts and taxing the richest 2 percent.
Congressional District 5 Candidates
D – Kendra Horn (Incumbent)
Horn, a Chickasha native and an attorney, assumed office Jan. 3, 2019 after defeating Republican incumbent Steve Russell in 2018, thus becoming the first Democrat to take the seat in 44 years.
According to her campaign website, her key issues are education, healthcare, fixing our broken politics, economic opportunity, veterans and military, energy and infrastructure.
Here are Horn’s stances on UCO students’ top issues:
- Horn founded Women Lead Oklahoma, a nonpartisan nonprofit that encourages women to participate in civic life. She is also the executive director for Sally’s List, a nonpartisan nonprofit that trains and supports women who run for political office at the state and local level.
- Horn cosponsored the Not Invisible Act, which helps address the crisis surrounding missing and murdered indigenous women in the U.S.
Horn cosponsored the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020. She was the only representative from Oklahoma to do so and vote in favor for it.
- According to her campaign website, Horn says that “healthcare is a right, not a privilege for the few.” She supports expanding Medicaid in Oklahoma.
- Horn has fought to pass emergency legislation in Congress to send funding and personal protective equipment to frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Horn voted yes on the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R.3), which seeks to reduce prescription drug prices for all Americans and allow Medicare to directly negotiate with drug companies to lower prices.
- Horn secured $1.6bil to support businesses in the 5th district through the Paycheck Protection Program.
- Horn announced the Workers Tax Cut Plan to make the tax system “more fair” and increase taxes on high earners, while returning 2018 tax cuts to low-income workers.
- Horn has held multiple town halls on student loan debt at UCO. She said that the two main issues were that interest rates were too high and that it was difficult to navigate debt forgiveness programs. Horn does not favor eliminating all student debt but wants to come up with “practical solutions” that will benefit both students and taxpayers.
R – Stephanie Bice
Bice, an Oklahoma City native, represents District 22 in the Oklahoma State Senate. She assumed office Nov. 18, 2014, and her term ends Nov. 15, 2022.
Bice was endorsed by President Donald Trump.
According to her campaign website, Bice’s issues are securing borders and addressing immigration, fighting for affordable healthcare, improving infrastructure, standing with veterans, supporting education and Oklahoma’s children, protecting the Second Amendment, defending the unborn, and protecting seniors.
Here are Bice’s stances on UCO students’ top issues:
Bice is pro-life. She was endorsed by Oklahoma Right to Life. According to her website, she has supported pro-life policies and advocated against those that promote abortion in the Oklahoma State Senate.
Fighting for affordable healthcare is one of Bice’s key issues. She opposes Medicare-for-All. If elected, Bice will work toward patient-centered healthcare where families will have the power and control to make decisions about their own healthcare.