Growing up, I always liked a challenge. I liked being pushed outside of my comfort zone because I knew that was the only way I would ever grow as a person. There are times in my life that I start to feel like I am just going through the motions, and any time I start to feel like that, I want to make a change in order to challenge myself. I hate feeling complacent, and taking action is the only way that I know how to change it.
In all of our lives, it is often too easy to fall into a rut. You find yourself in a routine that feels comfortable and familiar, but it doesn’t challenge you. You have to make a conscious effort every day to challenge yourself in some way. It can be a physical challenge or a mental one, but it’s important that we all challenge ourselves.
Change doesn’t just happen, It takes effort. If you want to get into better shape, it takes effort on your part to get off the couch and into the gym. If you want to learn how to be better with an instrument, you have to practice. If you want to be better at math, you have to study.
I make it my goal every day to try and push other people to be better. I challenge members of my staff to work toward their goals, no matter what they are. I also encourage them to get involved in the community through volunteer service. We work as a team to improve together.
Complacency is dangerous in every aspect of our lives. It allows us to overlook small details that may turn out to be a bigger issue in the future. I challenge you to push your boundaries, and avoid complacency. There are always opportunities available to challenge yourself. You can spend an extra 30 minutes a day reading the newspaper, volunteer at your local food pantry, join a community organization, or get out and go for a walk every evening. Be a part of the change in your community, and don’t become just another Monday morning quarterback who talks about change without actually doing anything.
With the holiday season right around the corner, many folks might make a little time to do some fall cleaning around the house. One step that is often overlooked is checking the batteries in smoke alarms.
Fire Prevention Week is this week. The annual week of fire prevention education was established to commemorate the Great Chicago fire of 1871. That historic blaze was allegedly started when a milk cow kicked over a lamp, and it eventually destroyed more than 17,400 structures and left over 100,000 people homeless. Thankfully, we do not deal with fires that size in Oklahoma very often, but we do see our fair share of homes destroyed by fire. This year’s campaign, “Don’t Wait- Check the date”, focuses on making sure that your smoke alarms are in working order.
Smoke alarms serve as a family’s first line of defense against fire. Too often, they have their batteries removed after someone burns dinner and can’t get it to turn off, or the batteries die and aren’t replaced.
Smoke alarms should be checked every month to make sure they are in good working order. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that smoke alarms are replaced every 10 years. If you aren’t sure how old your smoke alarm is, the manufacturer’s tag on the back often gives the year it was made. Replace it 10 years after that date.
Fire departments across the district are out this week talking to their communities about fire prevention. The Okmulgee Fire Department is visiting area schools to teach kids how to keep their homes safe from fire. Programs offered by local firefighters offer an interactive way for our kids to learn about how to prevent a fire and what to do if one breaks out.
I encourage you to talk with your families about fire safety at home. When you are going through the house checking your smoke alarms, get them involved. Talk with your family about what they should do if the alarm goes off. For your older kids, make sure they know where fire extinguishers are located in the house, and that they know how to use them. Use this year’s Fire Prevention Week to start your family’s routine of fire safety.
I can’t remember a time in my life that I didn’t hunt. Hunting is not just a sport to many Oklahomans. For my family, it is a part of our heritage. For some, it is a rite of passage. For others, it provides food needed to survive.
October 1 marked the start of another bow season in Oklahoma. By noon that day, hunting stories were already being told in cafes and feed stores across the state. Pictures of prize bucks are popping up all over social media. The next generation of Oklahoma hunters is carrying on the tradition.
One of the most important parts to any hunt starts before the first arrow or bullet is ever fired. Taking time to learn the hunting laws for your area can save a lot of trouble in the long run. The purpose of hunting laws isn’t to stop people from hunting, but rather to preserve our natural resources for future generations. If you have questions concerning your area’s hunting and fishing laws, you can visit the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s website at www.wildlifedepartment.com.
Children who want to go hunting may need to take an extra step by completing a hunter’s safety course. When I was in middle school, I took a hunter’s safety course at Westville High School taught by Oklahoma Game Warden Al Hembree. The course taught simple safety tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable hunting experience. These classes are offered by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, either by attending a class in person or taking an online course. My own boys, Jim and Andrew, are currently taking their hunters safety course online.
Hunting season is one of my favorite times of year, and I am looking forward to getting into the woods with my boys and continuing our family traditions. Even if we don’t bag a trophy buck this year, the time spent hunting with them will make the trip worth it.
Our veterans are some of our nation’s greatest unsung heroes. They were called to serve during times of war, many times not knowing if they would ever return. We owe a great debt to these brave men and women that I’m not sure we can ever fully repay. But we must try because they have earned that respect from us.
Each year, thousands of veterans visit Washington, D.C. on Honor Flights put together by volunteers. These programs bring veterans to Washington, D.C. - at no cost to the veteran - to visit museums and memorials dedicated to the conflicts they fought in. For some veterans, this trip might be the only time they have the opportunity to visit their memorials and pay their respects to the friends they lost in combat. Since 2005, Honor Flights have brought over 159,000 veterans from across the country to Washington.
In 2010, I had the honor of serving as my papa Kenneth “Cowboy” Morris’s guardian on his Honor Flight. He served as a combat engineer in WWII during D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge. It was his first time to fly since he came home from the war. When I was growing up, he would tell stories about being a young soldier in Europe, but he tried to only tell the funny stories and kept a lot of the horrors of war to himself.
Being on that flight is something I will never forget because it was the first time I ever saw my papa cry. When we arrived in Washington, D.C., we were greeted in the airport by people cheering for the veterans, and I saw him start to tear up. He told me that he didn’t come home during all the big parades. He was dropped off in Fort Smith and had to hitchhike home. This was the first homecoming that he received, 65 years later. The amount of respect shown for these aging warriors was very emotional, and I’m glad I was there to experience it with him.
As a Congressman, I have also had the honor of greeting these groups when they visit the Capitol and the WWII Memorial. I had the chance to greet the Cherokee Nation Honor Flight in the Capitol just a few weeks ago. Listening to the stories that these men have to tell is one of the best parts of my job.
For veterans in Oklahoma, there is an Honor Flight available to you. The O&A Honor Flight is a nationally recognized program that serves veterans from Oklahoma and Arkansas. They have a full flight visiting Washington, D.C. in the first week of October, which will spend the day visiting war memorials, monuments, and the Arlington National Cemetery. They will leave Tulsa early in the morning, and be back home before the end of the day.
These flights would not be possible without the work of volunteers. These dedicated members of the community help with everything from raising money for the flights, to escorting our heroes to Washington, D.C.
The O&A Honor Flight has another trip coming up in the spring. If you are a veteran who would like to travel to D.C., know of a veteran who should be honored, or are a volunteer who would like to help out, you can find information and applications by going to www.oahonorflight.org.
We are losing members of our greatest generation every day. As the years go on, we lose the opportunity to honor them. I hope that programs like Honor Flight continue to recognize the service and sacrifice of our veterans.
WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-2) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 6094, the Regulatory Relief for Small Businesses, Schools, and Nonprofits Act.
“The president and his administration committed a reckless and unlawful abuse of power when they instated the Department of Labor’s (DOL) overtime pay rule,” said Mullin. “With no thought to the small businesses, nonprofits, or colleges and universities it will negatively impact, the DOL forced this rule upon business owners who simply can’t conform to these strict regulations in such a short period of time. Although H.R. 6094 does not throw out this rule completely, it does give Congress more time to find a solution for the problem at hand: an administration that is completely out of touch with its working class Americans. I’m proud to have cosponsored and voted in support of this bill, and as a small business owner myself, I will continue to fight for fewer regulations on small businesses in Oklahoma.”
H.R. 6094 would delay the Department of Labor’s overtime pay rule for six months. The regulation is set to take effect on December 1, 2016. H.R. 6094 passed by a vote of 246 – 177.
WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-2) released the following statement after the passage of H.R. 5303, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016.
“The WRDA bill is a crucial step forward in the progress of America’s water infrastructure and economy, and I am glad to see it pass the House of Representatives today,” said Mullin. “While this bill is not perfect, it contains language that is vital to Oklahoma’s economy, and the well-being of its residents. The McClellan–Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) and the ports in our district bring in millions of dollars each day to Oklahoma, and WRDA would ensure we keep the MKARNS open in the event of a lock or dam failure. America’s ports, channels, locks, and dams are critical to our economy and we cannot afford to let our nation’s water infrastructure fail at the hands of legislators in Washington.”
“Included in the WRDA bill is an amendment that specifically helps folks in the Second District of Oklahoma,” added Mullin. “My amendment transfers land from the Army Corps of Engineers to the Department of the Interior for the benefit of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Muscogee (Creek) Nation will pay fair market value of the land to the Army Corps of Engineers, and this amendment will add no cost to the taxpayers.”
“Additionally, the passage of the WRDA bill restores regular order of the House to consider WRDA legislation every two years. Congress’s responsibility to provide oversight of the Army Corps of Engineers should not be taken lightly and this bill reinforces the checks and balances necessary to keep our water infrastructure functioning at the most efficient and effective level possible,” Mullin concluded.
H.R. 5303, the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, passed the House by a vote of 399 – 25.
WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-2) issued the following statement after the President signed S. 1579, the “Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience (NATIVE) Act,” into law:
“I am thrilled to see the President sign the NATIVE Act into law. This is a win not only for Oklahoma’s tribal communities, but for countless tribal communities across the nation,” said Mullin. “The completion of this legislation is proof that members of Congress can work together to create bipartisan legislation that benefits the entire nation and its citizens.”
“With S. 1579 enacted into law, tribal communities are included in the conversation on tourism with federal agencies. These conversations open the door for increased economic development, job creation, and the expansion of visitor opportunities in these native and cultural destinations,” Mullin added. “I want to thank Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) and John Thune (R-SD) for championing the NATIVE Act in the Senate, and my colleagues in the House for supporting this important piece of legislation.”
A member of the Cherokee Nation, Congressman Mullin is one of two Native Americans currently serving in Congress. The second is Congressman Tom Cole (OK-4) who is a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma. The Cherokee Nation, the Chickasaw Nation, and a number of other tribes from Oklahoma will be included as tribal organizations under the NATIVE Act.
Congressman Mullin introduced H.R. 3477, the House companion bill to the NATIVE Act, last September. The bill had eight bipartisan cosponsors, and received a hearing in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs. The Senate version of the bill, S. 1579, passed the House unanimously on September 12, 2016.
The United States government works on a different calendar than most of the country. We work off of a fiscal year (FY) that starts on October 1st and runs until September 30th. During the current FY, we work to appropriate the funds for the next year. If Congress is unable to pass a budget before the end of the FY, then the federal government shuts down like we saw in 2014.
This year, the House worked together to get all 12 of our appropriations bills out of committee and ready for votes on the floor. We have been ready since July.
Unfortunately the President and his allies in the Senate are holding the appropriations process hostage. By holding the appropriations process hostage for political gains, members of Congress and this Administration are playing with people’s lives.
The people who would be most affected by a government shutdown is our men and women in uniform. They would still be expected to put on their uniform and show up for work every day. They just wouldn’t get paid for it. That means we would be asking men and women in combat to lay their lives on the line for our freedom, for no pay.
I find this unacceptable.
Other services would take a hit as well. During the 1996 shutdown, that meant the hiring of 400 border patrol agents was delayed. Veteran’s services ranging from healthcare to disability payments would be curtailed.
Our only option at this point in the year is to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR). In my opinion it should never happen, because members of Congress should do their jobs by working together and passing a balanced budget and getting through the appropriations process.
Right now, a government shutdown would be nothing but a political stunt. Both sides would be trying to make it look like the other side’s fault to gain a few votes in this year’s elections. This is a dangerous and unnecessary game to be playing with our country’s future. I will continue to urge my fellow members of Congress to work together and come up with a solution.
People across the Second District are receiving calls from someone claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS. These people claim that you owe a large amount of money, and if you do not make a payment to them, you will be arrested. They are very forceful and sometimes rude during these calls, trying to intimidate people into paying them. They can be very believable, speaking with authority, and using phrases that make them sound legitimate. This is a scam.
There is one sure way to identify these phone calls as a scam. The IRS will never contact you by phone. Any attempt from someone who claims to be with the IRS in attempts to make you pay money over the phone is a scam.
This scam has been going on across the country for some time. They target good, hardworking people who just want to do the right thing. If they are told they owe money to the government, they want nothing more than to pay that debt. My office hears from several people each week who have received these calls, and it is heartbreaking to hear when someone falls prey to these scams. Most of the time, the thieves are never caught, and the money is lost forever.
Another IRS scam that is happening now is by email. Again, the IRS will never try to contact you through email. Do not give out any personal information, and alert the authorities if you feel you have been targeted by a scam. You can also report these emails by forwarding them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When someone is tricked into giving money to these criminals, sometimes they are too ashamed to admit it. That is why it is a good idea to check with your family and let them know that this scam is out there. You may be able to stop someone else from becoming a victim just by making them aware of these scams.
The best way to safeguard against these criminals is knowledge. If you receive a call like this, hang up. If you are concerned about a debt with the IRS, one of my caseworkers will have you fill out a privacy release which allows us to inquire on your behalf, and we will help you find out if there is an actual debt owed.
With the increased use of technology, there will always be someone who tries to exploit people with it. Right now, they are using phones and emails. Unfortunately, this will not be the last scam that we encounter. My office is always ready to help, regardless if it’s dealing with a scam or a problem with a federal agency. Do not let yourself become a victim.
WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin released the following statement in remembrance of the fifteenth anniversary of September 11.
“September 11, 2001 is a day that will forever be a part of our nation’s history. Fifteen years later, we still remember the courage of our first responders, we mourn the lives that were lost that day, and we comfort the friends and family members who experienced a loss so great. To some, it feels like an eternity ago. To others, it feels like yesterday.
But even fifteen years later, September 11 continues to remind us of the evil we face in the world. September 11 serves as our reminder that the fight is not over – and our country’s fight against terrorism cannot cease. The people responsible for the terrorist attack that morning continue to despise everything that our nation stands for – our freedoms, our government, our religions, and our culture. We cannot, and we will not, let evil prevail.
On each and every anniversary of September 11 to come, it is my hope that America will continue the fight against evil, at home and abroad, and for the God-given freedoms that we enjoy. Because at the end of the day, the freedoms and liberties granted to us, are what make America so great.”
1113 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Markwayne Mullin was elected to serve the people of Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District in November 2012.
Mullin and his wife Christie had three children, Jim, Andrew and Larra, and then on August 21, 2013 they officially became the proud parents of their adopted twin girls, Lynette and Ivy. They raise their children on the family farm where Mullin grew up in Westville, Oklahoma.
Raised in rural Adair County, he learned the value of hard work and self-discipline. The youngest of seven children, Mullin grew up working on the family farm before the sun was up and well before the school day began. When his studies and athletics were finished each day, Mullin would return home and finish his evening chores.
Mullin graduated from Stilwell High School and went to Missouri Valley College on a wrestling scholarship. Shortly after, his father fell ill and the family’s small plumbing company encountered financial troubles. Mullin then returned home and at the age of 20, he and his wife Christie took over the business. At the time the business had only six employees and was in debt.
Mullin resolved for the sake of his family and for their employees, to make the company solvent and ensure it never again fell into those circumstances. For the next three years, Mullin and his wife Christie worked seven days a week, making the difficult decisions necessary to get the business out of debt.
Mullin ultimately returned to college and graduated from Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in 2010. He was honored to have been invited by his alma mater to deliver the keynote address at the OSUIT 2013 Commencement ceremonies in August.
Today, Mullin Plumbing is one of the largest service companies in the region, employing over 120 Oklahomans. It is only one of several successful companies Mullin owns and operates, including Mullin Environmental, Mullin Plumbing West Division, Mullin Services, Mullin Properties and Mullin Plumbing New Construction.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, Mullin has been the voice of business owners across America and brings their perspective into the national debate on many issues which directly impact the business community. From immigration and tax reforms to transportation issues and overzealous regulation, Mullin provides the much-needed real world perspective that comes from fighting to successfully run businesses in today’s economic and regulatory environment.
An engaging, energetic and servant-hearted individual, Mullin is not a Washington, D.C. insider. Instead, he’s a hard-working family man who is grounded by a deep faith and his love of country. Mullin holds fast to the values of rural Oklahoma – where deals are still closed with a handshake, where neighbors help one another without a moment’s hesitation and where prayer and worship are still important parts of people’s lives.
Congressman Mullin serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Natural Resources Committee. He was one of only 11 Members chosen to serve on the bipartisan Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation, designated by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The panel traveled across the country to examine the current state of freight transportation in the United States and how improving freight transportation can boost the U.S. economy. The panel will release its findings in late October 2013.
Determined that he would always be accessible and available to the people he represents, Mullin has held three rounds of town hall meetings in each of the 26 counties of the 2nd District so far during his first year in office. He has also held six district-wide telephone town hall meetings. Additionally Mullin has held telephone conference calls with different community groups in the 2nd District, including mayors, county commissioners, chamber of commerce officials, dentists, hospital administrators, pastors and technology centers administrators.
Mullin is a proud citizen of the Cherokee Nation. When the 113th Congress convened in January 2013, he became only the second Native American in the House.