Lankford is the junior senator for Oklahoma. courtesy wikimedia commons

Senator James Lankford delivers remarks to TU students

The congressman talked about Senate and current political events then fielded questions from students attending.

On Thursday, Oct. 14, Oklahoma Senator James Lankford delivered a short speech and answered students’ questions. TU College Republicans hosted the event.

Lankford was first elected to the House in 2010 after spending 15 years as a youth pastor. After two terms as a Representative, Lankford won the 2014 Senate election to take retiring Senator Tom Coburn’s seat.

Lankford’s affinity for the founding history of the United States was clear. Distributed on the tables at the event were small booklets containing the Declaration of Independence, the American Constitution and a scannable QR code bringing the reader to a registration form for Lankford’s campaign.

Most of Lankford’s talk centered around the current state of congress. He described the Democratic party as the left fighting against the far left. The Democrats, in Lankford’s view, are rushing to enact their agenda before their impending loss in the 2022 midterms.

Senator Lankford repeatedly lambasted the Democrats’ efforts to increase government spending and their promises of making everything free. The Senator also noted his lack of support for the recent debt ceiling raise in congress. Lankford emphasized his concern over the national debt and its rapid rise.

Lankford expressed his opposition to the abolishing of the filibuster, calling the Senate the only place where all voices can be heard. The filibuster, which allows the minority party in the senate to stall any major legislation that has less than 60 supporting votes, has come under fire by Democrats, such as Obama, as an impediment to impactful lawmaking. Lankford disparaged Barack Obama’s comment calling the filibuster a “Jim Crow relic,” finding it a gross description of an important process.

After his summation of current congressional events, he opened up the floor to questions. When asked to name Democratic politicians he got along with personally, he listed Chris Coons, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Lankford’s staff actually baked cookies for Sinema’s office, which is next-door to Lankford’s. Manchin and Sinema have recently been in the news for being the only two Democratic Senators to oppose Biden’s infrastructure bill and ultimately prevent its immediate passage.

When asked about the prospect of packing the courts, Lankford said he “vehemently oppose[s]” the idea. The Senator believes the role of the Supreme Court is to interpret the law, not to be a politically-charged apparatus. Adding seats to the court to control its political bent would run counter to the court’s purpose. Lankford also pointed out Joe Biden’s opposition to packing the courts when Biden was a senator.

One student asked Senator Lankford about the growing problem of food deserts, particularly within Oklahoma. The Senator praised the Oasis Food Market as a step in the right direction towards solving the issue.

Lankford also addressed Biden’s recent vaccine mandate. The Senator, who is vaccinated and encourages others to get vaccinated, opposes mandatory vaccines for workers. He called attention to the five million working-age people who are no longer working since the start of the pandemic. Putting another impediment in the way of people working only exacerbates the ongoing labor shortage. Lankford has also introduced a “Stop Vaccine Mandates Act” in response to Biden’s mandate. The act aims to rescind Biden’s executive orders requiring vaccinations for federal employees and contractors.

Post Author: Justin Klopfer