I'm State Senator Andrew Rice, candidate for U.S. Senate in Oklahoma. We have an historic opportunity before us in Oklahoma next November to replace one of the most partisan politicians in Washington with principled leadership that is accountable to everyone.
This not a normal election year in Oklahoma. Bush is at 39%, and our U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe is stuck in the 1990s. Oklahoma is "in play".
Here is Jim Inhofe's take on how to deal with the varied issues and problems facing Oklahoma and our nation:
While most Oklahomans are already investing in bio-fuels, wind power, and ready to meet the challenges of climate change head-on, Jim Inhofe is left, by himself pushing his "earth is flat" perspective on global warming. He is a General with no Army.
For years, Jim Inhofe has railed against "liberal special interest spending" even though he enabled George Bush's credit card-like spending habits since 2000. We have now witnessed the largest expansion of deficit spending in over 35 years.
127,000 Oklahoma children are without health insurance, and Jim Inhofe responds by voting against SCHIP-- six times this year.
While 88% of the U.S. Senate and George Bush agreed to expand college loans to more students by reducing excessive banking fees, Jim Inhofe sided with the big banks who collect those fees.
Jim Inhofe has visited Iraq 17 times and is among the most vocal cheerleaders for the war. However, he consistently votes against adequately funding veterans health programs and against new armor for the troops in the battlefield. Most Oklahomans believe their tax money should be spent protecting our soldiers and taking care of our veterans when they come home from the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I wonder if Jim Inhofe has told those Oklahoma troops he met with on those 17 trips that he voted against taking care of them upon their return?
Are those his Oklahoma values?
My path to politics was not a predictable one. I went to divinity school to prepare myself for work that served the common good. And my work with humanitarian organizations in Asia and in protecting religious freedoms at the Texas Faith Network was the natural progression from that motivation. But it was the murder of my brother David Rice in the World Trade Center on 9/11 that pulled me into elected office where I can help steer our country back in the right direction, guided by real American values that honor the constitution and live up to our democratic ideals.
Jim Inhofe and his henchmen in Washington have already opened their old, stale playbook to attack me just like they’ve attacked every Democrat before me. Already they have tried to connect me with the Italian Communist Party of the 1930s. Rather than reward our hopes, politicians like Inhofe like to stoke the perceived fears of Oklahoma voters. In fact, Oklahomans aren’t afraid of much. We are a resilient product of a tough and challenging history as a dust bowl and independent-minded state. These attacks are just the beginning, and they will get much worse. They don't have anything else to run on and offer to the people of our great state.
While Oklahomans have to fill their cars with $3 gas to drive long distances to jobs that cannot afford to provide health insurance, Jim Inhofe and his allies in Congress are stuck in the battles of the past. For instance, even as Members in his own party begin to address man made causes of global warming, Jim Inhofe recently spent another two hours on the Senate floor calling climate change "Hollywood fiction". The world is passing him by.
Oklahomans of all political affiliations tell me that they could afford to put up with Jim Inhofe's antics 10 or 15 years ago when times were better. But not now, Oklahoma cannot afford to deal with his antics anymore.
I'm a proud, populist Democrat and will be working day to day to help all Oklahomans take their government in DC back from people like Jim Inhofe who think their constituents back home want them to waste their time in Washington with filibusters about Al Gore and play other ideological games. I look forward to representing all Oklahomans, both those who vote for me and those who do not. Our incumbent seems to only listen to one half of the state.
I'll be here for a little bit to take your questions and feedback. I encourage you to email your friends and family, and ask them to sign up for our campaign email list, and help us build the winds of changes sweeping through Oklahoma and the rest of America.