Rep. Mullin skips out on Tahlequah, responsibilities

Representative Markwayne Mullin, who represents Oklahoma’s second Congressional District, is contested by fellow candidates and his constituents alike for the upcoming election in 2018, and with good reason.
In April of 2017, Mullin cancelled a town hall in Tahlequah, a city in his district, over safety concerns regarding protesters at the site. He failed to reschedule the meeting as he said he would. Only in August did Mullin return to Tahlequah, 121 days after his failed town hall. The lack of presence incited anger amongst the citizens that have elected Mullin to office three times in the past. They feel that, as a representative, Mullin should make time to visit the area he works for and should protect the interests of in Congress.
Mullin’s competition for the 2018 election include Democratic Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols and Republican Brian Jackson, a professor at Northeastern State University. While the candidates do not have the economic pull of Mullin, or his experience (which includes an impressive statistic of 99.5percent of roll calls attended for House votes between July and September of 2017), they have something that Mullin does not: they have yet to disappear from Tahlequah for a third of a year.
However, we must expect more from our government than simply missing .5 percent of votes or less. We, the people, deserve legislators that see our districts as they are, not as a series of reports or data sets from interns and staff members based in the area. We must measure our elected officials by how well they do their jobs.
You may recall that Congress is bicameral, or has two chambers: the House and the Senate. The Senate is comprised of senators who are up for reelection every six years. Theoretically, this protects them from rash decisions in the voting booth, so that they can develop expertise in their field and have time for their decisions to be thought over by voters. The House is comprised of representatives, who are elected every two years in an effort to make them more directly accountable to the people they serve.
There is a reason representatives in the U.S. are up for reelection every two years. Our system of government was literally created to ensure that representatives are closest to the heartbeat of the people, and thus must check in with the people most often. A term of two years forces representatives to be sensitive to the will of the people they serve. In short, it is literally Mullin’s job to spend time in his congressional district.
Mullin didn’t forget about Tahlequah. Regardless of his reasoning, he failed to reschedule a town hall, a move that he said he would make. He continued to ignore the problem by spending more than 100 days not visiting and not enacting a plan to hold another town hall. And by doing so, he let down his constituents.
Mullin failed to check in with a major city in his district and hear what they had to say, failed to even visit in person, for far too long. To be sure, it can seem like a minor issue. He did visit other cities in his district during that time, and continued his work in Congress.
But so much of governance is built on trust and communication between the official and their constituents that Mullin should give serious thought to his responsibilities. Constituents have every right to demand that their officials do their best to represent them and fulfill the duties of their job, and would be fully within their rights to vote for any of the other candidates in the election for District 2 representative.

Post Author: Raven Fawcett