Frank Lucas

Frank Lucas

OKLAHOMA's 3rd DISTRICT

Twenty Years Later: A Stronger Oklahoma

2015/04/22

I’ll never forget that morning twenty years ago. I sat with the Oklahoma congressional delegation in Dallas for a hearing on the Base Realignment and Closure Commision when I heard the news. An Oklahoma City reporter tapped me on the shoulder and said, “we have a report that there’s been an explosion at the federal building in Oklahoma City. We understand it’s gone. Which federal building is your congressional office in?”

My heart sank. I thought about my staff I left behind in Oklahoma City that morning. At the time, my congressional office was located only a block and a half away from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. We finished the meeting with a very abbreviated presentation and immediately left to catch a flight back home.

Before arriving, I saw the grim scene on television but nothing could prepare me for what I witnessed on the ground that day.

I’ll never forget coming up towards the street of my office from the south. I soon realized there weren’t windows in any of the buildings. The sheer magnitude of the explosion had blown them all out. Debris and broken glass covered the streets and emergency response teams shuffled through the rubble, still searching for those who could be saved and recovering those who could not.

I’ll never forget the hours and days to come, as the process shifted from rescue to recovery efforts. We watched the old building move in the wind. Its core had been blown out.

I’ll never forget the grave expressions of the folks who had worked themselves to exhaustion in the explosion’s aftermath. Fire and rescue crews from across Oklahoma and the country packed up and drove to Oklahoma City, not knowing what to expect.

In 1995, terrorism was something that happened overseas. It was not a tangible issue at home yet and we were naïve as a country in that respect. As the following investigations uncovered how simple the resources were to create a bomb of that scale – materials that existed in almost every community in the United States – Oklahoma and the rest of the country changed.

The Oklahoma City bombing is still the single largest act of domestic terrorism our country has suffered. We learned these attacks can come from within and we learned to prepare for these threats in the future.

In the wake of the tragedy, our community’s resolve to rebuild was stronger than ever. No one wanted this attack to permanently destroy the vitality of Oklahoma City. Our primary goal was a swift and robust recovery. Everywhere we turned a hand was reaching out to pull us back to our feet. Today this city is more viable than it has ever been.

The outpour of public support from across the country changed me forever.

For example, a colleague of mine at the time from New Jersey invited me to his district. One of the public schools and local military bases had held a fundraiser for the Oklahoma City relief fund. I arrived at the auditorium not knowing what to expect. It was filled with students and off duty military personnel and these good people presented me with a $100,000 check to take home for the recovery efforts. I was nearly 1,500 miles away from Oklahoma, but that sense of comradery from my fellow Americans made me feel right at home.

If someone thought they could strike a blow to the core of America, they only confirmed that we are a family and that we can come together and be decent to one another.

There’s always been the traditional perspective that Oklahoma is just a nice little ag state with oil and gas wells in the middle of the country. If you didn’t go down I-35 or down old Route 66, you might have missed us. But on that day twenty years ago, we were thrust onto the world stage and demonstrated that in the worst of circumstances we could reemerge stronger and more united than ever before.

On this 20th anniversary of the OKC bombing, we reflect on the 168 lives lost and the families and loved ones who live on with their memories.

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Lucas, Oklahoma Delegation Remembers April 19 Tragedy

2015/04/17

 

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WASHINGTON – Members of the Oklahoma congressional delegation joined in remembrance of the tragic bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. The act of domestic terrorism that took place 20 years ago claimed 168 innocent lives in Oklahoma City and left families, loved ones and communities forever changed.

“I will never forget the hallowed expressions of the men and women who had worked themselves to exhaustion helping their fellow citizens in the explosion’s aftermath. And I will never forget the outpour of support from across the country. Everywhere we turned, a hand was reaching out to pull us back to our feet,” said Rep. Frank Lucas. “Before that fateful day, many folks may have overlooked Oklahoma. If you didn’t go down I-35 or down old Route 66, you might have missed us. But on that day, 20 years ago, we were thrust onto the world stage and demonstrated that in the worst of circumstances we could reemerge stronger and more united than ever. Oklahoma and the rest of our nation changed on that day. However, in the wake of tragedy, our resolve and sense of community has only grown. Today we honor the memories of the 168 souls who were taken from us and those whose lives were changed forever.”

“Even though time has passed, the nightmare that took place 20 years ago vividly remains for many and our sorrow still lingers for those lost in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995,” said Rep. Tom Cole. “When I think back on that fateful day, I remember the heartbreak, pain and shock felt by all—but most especially by the families, friends and loved ones of those whose lives were prematurely and unfairly taken. In the midst of a terrible tragedy, I remember the bravery and strength displayed by first responders. I will also never forget the outpouring of love and support within our own communities and from countless others across the nation and around the world. And I shall always be grateful for the splendid leadership by Governor Frank Keating, First Lady Cathy Keating, Oklahoma City Mayor Ron Norick and Rep. Frank Lucas in that time of tragedy and triumph for the state of Oklahoma. ”

“With the anniversary of this terrible tragedy, we will grieve the loss of many innocent adults and children, stand with the survivors and also give thanks for the first responders and the volunteers from Oklahoma and across the country that helped in the aftermath,” said Rep. Markwayne Mullin. “It is because of the strength of our communities and the help from Americans across this great nation that our state rebounded stronger than before. And our country came to know the Oklahoma Standard—the way in which Oklahomans come together in times of tragedy and hardship. So from the ashes of this evil act, our state built a message of hope and love. It is through these principles that we can overcome any challenge.”

"Twenty years ago the Oklahoma City bombing seared the concept of terrorism on American soil into our national consciousness and proved that we are all vulnerable, even in the heartland,” said Rep. Jim Bridenstine. “I was in college at Rice University in 1995. All of us remember exactly where we were that day, and we will never forget the 168 people who were killed.  Terrorism is evil, yet the incredible response to tragedies like we experienced in Oklahoma 20 years ago serve to highlight the strength, resolve, and resiliency of the American people to the world."   

“April 19th, 1995 will forever be one of those days that Oklahomans live with every day of their life,” said Rep. Steve Russell. “Not only did it affect our citizens, it also opened our nation’s eyes to the frightening thought of domestic terrorism. It is because of events like these that we must never let our guard down and must remain vigilant in protecting our entire homeland. As we reflect on the 20th anniversary, let us pray for the families that lost loved ones, and for the many survivors, that they may be granted a special comfort and peace.” 

“Today we remember the 168 Oklahomans, including young children, who were killed in an evil act of domestic terrorism in Oklahoma City,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe. “We remember the rescue workers, the firefighters and everyone who rushed to the scene to provide aid and extend comfort. What arose from the rubble that day was the Oklahoma Standard – strangers helping strangers, giving sacrificially for the betterment of our great state. Since then, the rest of the nation has seen this rich characteristic on display time and again as Oklahomans pull up their boots in trying times and walk forward with hope that comes from banding together. May we stand in solidarity today to remember the victims, to give thanks to first responders, and to continue to pray for Oklahoma and the families and friends who lost loved ones on April 19, 1995.”

“On this solemn anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, my family and staff remember the lives that were lost 20 years ago,” said Sen. James Lankford. “We remember the first responders who acted selflessly in a time of need. We remember the families who lost loved ones, and we remember the survivors who continue to re-count and re-live that fateful day. We lift up the families impacted by this tragic event and all Oklahomans who did not let fear overcome their love for our fellow man. When faced with anguish, Oklahomans thrived. We did not allow our hope to fade. Our state experienced firsthand Psalm 34:18 which says, ‘the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit’. This year we are all finding practical ways to serve each other, even those we disagree with, so we never again allow anger to blind our eyes to one another. May God bless our state, and may we never lose our resilient Oklahoma spirit.”

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Lucas Announces Upcoming Town Hall Meetings

2015/03/24

Congressman Frank Lucas is pleased to announce five upcoming town hall meetings in Dewey, Woodward, Washita, Ellis and Harper counties on March 30th through April 1st. All residents of these locations are invited to attend a meeting and express their opinions. Congressman Lucas will be discussing current events in Washington, taking questions about issues important to constituents of the Third Congressional District and asking for opinions and input on legislation currently before Congress.

Monday, March 30:

Taloga Town Hall Meeting10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.Great Plains National Bank, Community Room100 S. Broadway, Taloga, OK

Woodward Town Hall Meeting1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.Woodward Conference Center, Meeting Room 23401 Centennial Lane, Woodward, OK

Tuesday, March 31:

Cordell Town Hall Meeting1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Cordell Police Department, Precinct Room105 W. Main St., Cordell, OK

Wednesday, April 1:

Shattuck Town Hall Meeting10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.Shattuck Chamber of Commerce Building115 South Main Street, Shattuck, OK

Laverne Town Hall Meeting1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.Laverne Community Center201 South Broadway, Laverne, OK

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House Passes Lucas Bill to Promote Scientific Integrity at EPA

2015/03/17

Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today passed the bipartisan EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act (H.R. 1029), introduced by Science, Space, and Technology Committee Vice-Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.). The bill brings fairness, transparency, and independence to the EPA’s expert panel.

“The EPA’s Science Advisory Board was intended to provide a meaningful, balanced, and independent assessment of the science that informs federal regulatory decisions,” said Congressman Lucas. “However, the EPA systematically silences voices of dissent on the Science Advisory Board, ignores calls for independence and balanced participation, and prevents the Board from responding to Congressional requests. This is a good-government bill; it reflects the values we should uphold regardless of which side of the political aisle we are on. The bill recognizes the important role science should play in our policy debates and provides safeguards to give the public confidence in science. It restores the independent Science Advisory Board as a defender of scientific integrity.”

The SAB was created in 1978 to provide independent expert advice to the EPA and Congress on scientific and technical information that may be used to justify federal regulations. Over the past decades, shortcomings with the current process have arisen, including limited public participation, EPA interference with expert advice, and potential conflicts of interest.

The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act:

·         Strengthens public participation and opportunities for the public to comment

·         Reinforces peer review requirements and reduces conflicts of interest

·         Provides opportunities for dissenting panelists to make their views known

·         Requires communication of uncertainties in scientific findings and conclusions

 

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The Hill: Keeping the EPA Honest

2015/03/16

In western Oklahoma, we’re no strangers to regulatory overreach from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Farmers, ranchers and small businesses are often surprised to find themselves the target of burdensome and downright inefficient regulations.

These regulations range from something as specific as farm fuel tank permitting requirements to vastly prohibitive restrictions on the electric plants that power our homes.

Government intrusion into America’s energy and agricultural sectors reverberates into our everyday lives in the form of higher food prices or monthly energy bills. Stagnant wages and underemployment have only exacerbated this problem for families trying to make ends meet.

The science behind EPA regulations is as important as the money they siphon from our economy. Science and data are invaluable tools in helping us navigate complex policy issues, and when the economic cost of these regulations reaches into tens of millions of dollars, we need to get it right.

The Science Advisory Board (SAB) is a panel of independent experts that reviews the science behind EPA rules which potentially impact the lives of millions of Americans. The heavy costs of these regulations should warrant some degree of public oversight and an assurance that this board’s findings are free from bias – not provided by a set of handpicked advisers.

Shortcomings with the process have come up recently, including limited public participation, interference with expert advice and possible conflicts of interest. These are alarming signs for an organization whose reputation stems from impartiality.

This week the House will vote on a bill I introduced to address these issues and ensure the science guiding EPA’s regulatory policy is objective, open and balanced.

The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act prevents the agency from using this advisory board to simply sign off on their regulatory agenda by empowering the board to listen to outside expertise. State and private experts sometimes have the greatest knowledge on issues. However, too often they are locked out of this process entirely. This should be reason enough to implement transparency measures to this board.

In fact, during most SAB meetings participation from the public is limited, if not entirely absent, and there is essentially no avenue for interested parties to comment on the scope of the board’s reviews. Some of the members who serve on the panel have even made public statements advocating specific policy positions on the same issues they are tasked with providing unbiased scientific advice.

Partisan inclinations should play no role in EPA’s science. And actively shutting out certain unpopular viewpoints is a disservice to scientific integrity and the public. My proposal requires members to disclose potential conflicts of interest and makes them available for public review.

For an agency that consistently shrugs off Congressional oversight efforts, the significance of SAB’s role cannot be overstated. Opposition to our proposal’s goal to shine light on the board’s review process is merely an excuse to defend the advisory board’s obstructionist and partisan status quo.

This is a good-government bill, one that can help restore credibility and trust in a federal agency that has lost much of it. Disagreements on scientific conclusions should not occur on the House floor, and this legislation will ensure the best experts are free to undertake an open and honest review of EPA’s regulatory science.

Lucas has represented congressional districts in western Oklahoma since 1994. He sits on the Agriculture and Financial Services committees and is vice chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

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Lucas Announces Upcoming Town Hall Meetings

2015/03/04

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas is pleased to announce upcoming town hall meetings to be held in Beckham, Custer, Kingfisher, Blaine and Garfield counties on March 9th through 11th. All residents of these locations are invited to attend a meeting and express their opinions. Congressman Lucas will be discussing current events in Washington, taking questions about issues important to constituents of the Third Congressional District, and asking for opinions and input on legislation currently before Congress.

Monday, March 9:   Sayre Town Hall Meeting 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Western Technology Center 2002 NE Highway 66, Sayre, OK 73662   Clinton Town Hall Meeting 11:00 – 12:00 p.m.  Frisco Center 101 South 4th Street, Clinton, OK   Tuesday, March 10:   Kingfisher Town Hall Meeting 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Chisholm Trail Museum 605 Zellers Ave., Kingfisher OK   Watonga Town Hall Meeting 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. City Hall Grand Ballroom 117 N. Weigle, Watonga, OK   Wednesday, March 11:   Enid Town Hall Meeting 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Gantz Student Center, GU 100 (north side of the Ballroom) 100 South University Avenue, Enid, OK     Read More

Lucas Presses Federal Reserve Chair on Consequences of Low Interest Rates

2015/02/25

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, today questioned Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen about the impact of the central bank’s quantitative easing policy on older Americans and those saving for retirement. The Federal Reserve’s policies have artificially restrained interest rates, threatening the value of traditionally safer assets such as bonds or bank deposits.

At a House Financial Services hearing Lucas noted, “Over the course of the last six years, policy decisions have been made… dramatically causing interest rates to be less than they would have normally been, and at the same time, having an aggressive buying program on certain assets that would in effect hold up their value above and beyond what they would normally be worth that there is a cost there.”

Lucas expressed concern about the consequences of these policies on older Oklahomans and those approaching retirement. “Someone is paying for the economic methadone we’ve been existing on for six years,” Lucas said. In response, Yellen acknowledged that “it’s been a tough period for savers…retirees especially”.

Addressing concerns from older constituents, Lucas requested numbers from the Federal Reserve reflecting the transfer of value between one asset class to another as a result of quantitative easing.

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Lucas, Peterson Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen EPA Independent Scientific Advice

2015/02/25

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Congressman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) today introduced H.R. 1029, the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2015, legislation to ensure the science guiding EPA’s regulatory policy is objective, independent and available for public review. The bipartisan bill establishes guidelines for membership to the Science Advisory Board, which advises the EPA’s regulatory decisions. Companion legislation was also introduced today in the Senate by Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

“I appreciate Congressman Peterson joining me in this bipartisan effort to ensure the best experts are free to undertake a balanced and open review of regulatory science. The Science Advisory Board (SAB) informs the EPA on regulations that impact the lives of millions of Americans,” said Congressman Lucas. “The heavy costs of these regulations warrant some degree of public oversight to ensure SAB’s findings are free from bias or conflicts of interest and not simply provided by a set of handpicked advisors. The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act addresses these issues by ensuring the science guiding EPA’s regulatory policy is open to review by the public and requiring members who serve on this board to disclose their professional backgrounds.”

The Science Advisory Board’s work is important to making sure the EPA considers all scientific information when writing regulations that will impact American farmers, families and small businesses. This legislation builds on the work done in the 2014 Farm Bill and is necessary to ensure the EPA takes into account the best information possible, with input from the public and independent stakeholders. A balanced and independent Science Advisory Board will help alleviate some of the unintended consequences surrounding EPA regulations,” said Congressman Peterson.

Background:

The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2015 amends the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Act of 1978 to:

  • Protect the independence of the Advisor Board
  • Provide clear membership requirements of the Advisor Board
  • Make the Board’s advice and comments, including dissenting views, publically available
  • Strengthen and encourage public participation
  • Protect the integrity of scientific advice and process
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Lucas Names Kirby Smith as Field Representative

2015/02/19

Yukon, Okla.  – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) recently welcomed Kirby Smith to serve as field representative for the southwest portion of Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District, which covers 11 counties. Smith, a native of Elk City, previously served as the Public Information Manager for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

“I am glad to have Kirby join our team,” said Lucas. “With her knowledge of the district and previous work experience, she will be a tremendous asset to my staff and the constituents of Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District.”

“Western Oklahoma is my home, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of Congressman Lucas’ staff. I look forward to serving the people of Oklahoma’s third district,” said Smith.

Smith is a graduate of Oklahoma State University, earning both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Agricultural Communications. She is the daughter of Ralph and Tammy Smith of Elk City.

Congressman Lucas’ district office provides several services to constituents, including assistance with federal casework and information regarding federal grants. Smith will work out of Lucas’ Canadian County office. She can be reached at (405) 373-1958.

 

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President’s Budget is Irresponsible

2015/02/06

This week President Obama released his annual budget proposal for the federal government. And for the first time in years, he actually sent it to Congress on time. In fact, this is only the second time in his presidency he has met his legal obligation to submit this important spending plan on time.

While it’s the duty of Congress to pass a budget, the president releases his budget to outline his agenda for the year to come. Unfortunately, this agenda amounts to nothing more than a big government wish list. The president has laid out his vision for the coming year – more taxes, more spending and more debt.

Unlike American families, who must prioritize their spending, the president’s budget never balances – not 10, or even 20 years from now. This is simply irresponsible.

By not paying down our national debt, the interest on this debt will continue to grow, just like a loan from a bank. If the president’s budget were to take effect, the annual cost of interest alone would soon become larger than our nation’s spending on national defense, Medicaid or all other agency spending for that matter. This means it will become more difficult – if not impossible – to pay off our debt burden down the road. Simply borrowing more money is in effect taxing tomorrow’s generation to pay for bigger government today.

And most Americans don’t even want a larger federal government. Like many of you, I have greater faith in the ability of individual Americans to create prosperity than the government. That’s why several of my colleagues in Congress, including myself, have called for a balanced national budget. We need to practice fiscal restraint today so that ten years from now, we don’t find ourselves exponentially deeper in debt.

It’s common sense. The federal government should not spend more than it takes in. Rather than reaching deeper into the pockets of taxpayers, we need to sit down and figure out where money can be saved. However, President Obama has indicated he is content with continuing the trend of tax-and-spend government by proposing more than $2 trillion in new taxes over the next decade.

Many of these the taxes would indiscriminately hit ordinary Americans. For example, President Obama would like to raise the Death Tax to 60 percent. This will make it even more difficult for families to pass their farm or ranch down to their children or grandchildren. It’s absurd to place the burden of more government spending on the backs of farm families in rural America.

Today our national debt sits at over $18 trillion. Since President Obama took office, our national debt has risen by over $7.5 trillion. There’s no debating the fact that something must be done to address this, and I look forward to working towards a budget that pays for our nation’s priorities, while addressing the major issues that contribute to our national debt.

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Contact Information

2311 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-5565
Fax 202-225-8698
lucas.house.gov/

Congressman Frank Lucas is a fifth generation Oklahoman whose family has lived and farmed in Oklahoma for over 100 years. Born on January 6, 1960 in Cheyenne, Oklahoma, Lucas graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1982 with a degree in Agricultural Economics. He was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in a special election in 1994, and is currently serving his 11th term as a Member of Congress.

Frank proudly represents Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District includes all or portions of 32 counties in northern and western Oklahoma, stretching from the Oklahoma panhandle to parts of Tulsa, and from Yukon to Altus in the southwest. It takes up almost half the state’s land mass and is one of the largest agricultural regions in the nation. Lucas has been a crusader for the American farmer since being elected to Congress in 1994 as well as working to protect Oklahoma values.

Congressman Lucas serves as the Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture. In addition, he serves on the House Committee on Financial Services and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Frank also serves as a member of the Republican Whip Team.  The Republican Whip Team is led by Congressman Kevin McCarthy (CA-22).  The representatives who are members of the team serve as leaders in their party and work with the Republican leadership team to ensure every American’s voice is heard in Congress.

Prior to his service in the U.S. Congress, Lucas served for five and a half years in the Oklahoma State House of Representatives, where he tirelessly defended the rights of private property owners and focused on promoting agriculture issues.

Frank and his wife Lynda have three children and one grandchild. The Lucas family belongs to the First Baptist Church in Cheyenne.


Serving With

Jim Bridenstine

OKLAHOMA's 1st DISTRICT

Markwayne Mullin

OKLAHOMA's 2nd DISTRICT

Tom Cole

OKLAHOMA's 4th DISTRICT

Steve Russell

OKLAHOMA's 5th DISTRICT

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