The nation’s infrastructure is in dire need of repairs, upgrades, and improvements.

There is broad, bipartisan support for significant investment in America’s highways, bridges, ports, and airports. The Trump administration’s efforts at developing its $1.5 trillion dollar infrastructure plan falls short in the method through which it is proposed to be funded.

Placing so much reliance on corporate resources, as proposed, would create a situation where the projects are much more likely to be undertaken in areas where those corporate players could make a profit. Urban centers would get more attention, as would high income areas.

That isn’t the Second Congressional District of Oklahoma. We are a rural district and one that, unfortunately, has a high poverty rate. That means it would be likely that we’d see the tax dollars we pay go to areas that have much less need than we have for investment on bridges and highways here in eastern Oklahoma.

Infrastructure is essential to a vibrant economy that creates jobs and puts people to work and we have a major need for that kind of public investment our state. I’d be an aggressive supporter of any infrastructure proposal that meets the needs here at home and on guard against anything that would unduly redirect resources to private pockets or areas that have less need than we do here in eastern Oklahoma.

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy sources are the future of global transportation and power production.

The United States needs to do as it has always done in matters of technology: lead. The use of renewable energy sources reduces pollution, improves people’s health, and helps reverse the effects of climate change.

We must make every effort to ensure that the people who currently work so hard in the energy industry are not harmed by the transition away from fossil fuels.

It is a common fear that the use of renewable energy threatens the livelihood of those who work in mines or on oil or gas rigs. That isn’t the case and I would work to ensure that people, not corporations, involved in those industries aren’t left behind during that transition.

Net Neutrality

The Internet must remain equally accessible to everyone, and equally functional for everyone.

People in their homes, employees at work, children at school, startup tech companies, small ISPs, and content providers like Netflix and Hulu must all have equal opportunity to connect to, and make equal use of, the Internet. Attorney generals across the country have filed lawsuits to prevent the rollback of the Federal Communications Commission rules that would have protected the free flow of data and information.

State and local officials have joined companies like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft in a call for restoration of the protections that would prevent large telecommunication corporations from filtering and prioritizing Internet traffic.

The ability to freely communicate across an open Internet is too important to academic and scientific research, political discourse, personal communication and entertainment, and the overall economy to be sacrificed for the profits of large ISPs. Congress should act to restore, through specific and explicit legislation, the rules that the FCC has voted to repeal. Once in Congress, I will pursue such legislation.

Tribal Sovereignty

I will always fight to protect the government-to-government relationship that tribes share with the federal government -- which is now under various forms of attack.

Sovereignty is important and must be preserved. As a Cherokee Nation citizen, I understand how damaging it would be to undermine it and how much of an impact it would have on people’s lives in everything from housing to education to healthcare.

Any attempt to redefine the relationship with tribes must be resisted and treaty obligations must be met by the federal government.

Second Amendment

A string of tragic events has forced Americans to begin having conversations about issues related to the Second Amendment. Unfortunately, those conversations aren’t taking place among American leadership. When it appears that they might, the vitriol starts, and people retreat to the comfort of their established thoughts and opinions.

Whatever anyone happens to believe is the best way to solve the problem (right or left, Republican or Democrat, Second Amendment rights advocate or not), we are all left to witness the paralysis of our elected officials.

What I have proposed in many meetings, at town halls, and at events across the district is to break that paralysis by avoiding discussions of bans and other divisive topics and, instead, consider something for which there is overwhelming public support: stronger and more thorough background checks. They are a proven method of reducing violence carried out with a gun.

It is my hope that we would have a genuine, rational conversation about how to increase our level of safety without infringing on our rights under the Second Amendment.

Environmental Regulations

Climate change is a serious issue.

It is being caused, or at least highly augmented and accelerated, by the release of carbon into the atmosphere by human activity.

Everyone recognizes that bureaucracies and regulations can get out of hand. But, we do not need to intentionally gut protections that have obvious utility in protecting our water supplies and keeping our air safe to breathe.

The argument is often made that regulations are “job-killing.” But, what is often overlooked is that some regulations prevent “people-killing” pollutants from finding their way into the environment and, sometimes, into our homes.

Social Security

Social Security should not, in any form or fashion, be privatized.

I would also resist any effort to raise the retirement age or reduce benefits. Social Security has been a tremendous success in reducing poverty among elderly Americans over the course of the last few decades.

While I am aware of the demographic and financial challenges the program faces, solutions exist that will allow us to keep our promises to our senior citizens.

The Social Security trust fund is predicted to be depleted by 2034. But, we’ve faced these situations before and always found a way to protect and revitalize the system. We can do it again even if it involves raising the maximum taxable income cap.

The faster Congress acts, the less severe the problem. We can’t wait until 2033 to try address the issues.

Medicare, Medicaid

Here in Oklahoma’s Second Congressional District, there are around 135,000 people 65 years of age or older. They are very likely to rely on programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

Ten percent of that 135,000 – 1 in 10 – live below the poverty line, and yet our current representative is finding every reason he can to undermine Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the health insurance program for people with limited means.

We have a high level of poverty here in the Second Congressional District. We need to treat the underlying causes of that, but at the same time we should not remove the funding and the resources necessary to help people continue to live their lives without suffering.

We need someone in Congress who has the knowledge and experience to protect those programs that do so much good for us here in eastern Oklahoma, and that’s what I promise to do for you.

VIDEO: Click here for a video on Medicaid

VIDEO: Medicare:

President Trump's Tariffs

There is nothing inherently wrong with looking to revise tariff rates.

But, the imposition of recent tariffs was so sudden that I don’t believe there has been a full evaluation of the costs versus the benefits. I expect that some individual industries will see temporary benefit.

However, the long-term effects will cause an increase in the cost of items that Americans use every day. Couple that with the near inevitability of retaliatory tariffs on other products and materials, and it’s likely that other industries will be harmed by the decision and there will be a net loss of jobs across the country.

One in five Oklahomans live in poverty. Anything that makes it harder for them to put food on the table is something that I will oppose. Though I’m not opposed to tariffs in general, the haste with which these tariffs were implemented makes them fit that bill.

Special Counsel Investigation

Questions about Russian activity designed to influence elections inside the United States, the extent of their efforts, and how successful they were need to be answered.  The investigation being conducted by Robert Mueller is indispensable to the process of discovering what took place and, more importantly, what needs to be done to secure future elections, including the one coming up this November

Many members of Congress are clearly reluctant to do more than make vague, and not at all reassuring, comments that they don’t believe there is any danger of Mr. Mueller being dismissed.  Congress should, at a minimum, pass a resolution that expresses its desire to see the investigation carried through to its logical and appropriate conclusion.