I announced my candidacy with this statement:
Along with many friends and supporters, my wife Connie and I are announcing my candidacy for Congressional District 2 of Oklahoma. We know that the goal of any Congressman should be to stand for something. My goal will be to improve the quality of life for my constituents without being obligated to special interests. The purpose of this campaign is to measure the number of constituents in Congressional District 2 who want progressive representation in Congress. If the majority consensus is the values of our parents and grandparents and the future for our children, my campaign will be successful.
Oklahoma ranks last in overall health care indicators, 49th in education funding per student, and District 2 has the unfortunate distinction of having over 20 percent of its citizens living in poverty. Half the households in this District earn $35,000 or less annually. They are faced with average annual health care inflation of 6.7%, average annual tuition and fees for higher education of 8.5% and a decreasing number of good paying jobs. Their real income has declined 1% over the last 10 years. Women make 70% of what men make for the same job.
These are some of the real challenges. I learned as a combat Marine in Vietnam that the unwillingness to fully commit to the challenge was the way to lose the battle. I have carried that lesson with me through life and during my ten years in the Oklahoma Legislature. We will improve our lot in life when Congress delivers policies that provide an environment for a good education, decent housing, the right of small businesses to fair competition, the right to adequate and affordable medical care, the right to a living wage, the right to equal pay for equal work and the values of respect and equality for women and minorities.
For some congressmen the politics of distraction, distrust and fear seem to be the methods of running for election. Perceived to be a successful strategy it none the less shows contempt for the citizenry. It says the people are so involved with a single wedge issue they cannot think about the present or future needs of their families. It says the special interests will continue to dominate Congress because they have the money and the people are not paying attention. For instance, part of the new health care reform bill saves Oklahomans over $600 million dollars per year while insuring 250,000 of the uninsured. Every member of our Congressional delegation has misled the public into thinking the reform measure will cost additional money. Perhaps there needs to be a voice in Oklahoma's delegation that is analytical and straightforward.