Tom Cole

Tom Cole

OKLAHOMA's 4th DISTRICT

Border Supplemental Addresses Inappropriate Use of Military Bases

2014/07/29

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, released the following statement after the House working group unveiled its proposal to address the influx of unaccompanied illegal minors along the southern border. In response to the president’s $3.7 billion request, the working group instead recommended only $659 million and set forth conditions for actually dealing with the cause of the problem. 

The supplemental proposal includes language recommended by Cole and secured by the working group that addresses the use of military facilities for housing illegal minors. As seen in the proposal, this language explains that the Department of Defense should provide written and advance notice to Congress and the public in the Federal Register about housing UAC’s at military facilities. In addition, it explains that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should not use military facilities for more than 120 days nor should it “displace active members of the Armed Forces” or “interfere with any mission of the Department of Defense.” 

“Rather than manage the surge and throw money we don’t have at the problem, I am pleased that the working group offered a proposal that actually addresses the situation at our borders,” said Cole. “Furthermore, I am pleased that the bill included language that I had requested expressing the sense of Congress that military bases should not be used to house these illegal immigrants. It’s unfair that facilities designed for military use are being inappropriately used to house those who entered the country illegally.”  

Cole’s recommended language appears in Section 302 of the bill text here. For information about the specifics of the legislation, click here

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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More than 100 Members Join Reps. Israel, Ros-Lehtinen, Deutch and Cole to Call on UN to Condemn Hamas’ Use of Civilians as Human Shields

2014/07/29

Washington, D.C.—Today, Reps. Steve Israel (D-NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Tom Cole (R-OK) announced that more than 100 bipartisan Members of Congress joined them in sending a letter to Navi Pillay, the U.N.'s top human rights official, calling on the UN to condemn Hamas’ use of civilians as human shields, which is a direct violation of international law. Hamas, a designated terrorist group, continues to launch missiles aimed at civilians in Israeli population centers and refuses to de-escalate the conflict by adhering to internationally-backed cease-fires.

Rep. Israel said, “The fact that Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as human shields shows their blatant disregard for human life. Israel, on the other hand, is doing everything in its power, not only to protect its own citizens, but also to prevent as much as possible causalities among Palestinians. That the UN is choosing to wrongly investigate Israel’s actions rather than condemning Hamas’ continual violation of international law is simply despicable. That’s why I join my colleagues in calling on the UN to rethink its course.” 

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said, “Hamas’ use of Palestinian men, women and children as human shields and its indiscriminate rocket attacks against innocent Israeli civilians illustrates the crass indifference Hamas shows for human life. Yet the very body at the UN – the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) – that was created to protect and promote human rights around the world couldn’t even muster a word to denounce this egregious and intolerable violation of international humanitarian law. This letter puts the UNHRC on alert that it can no longer continue its anti-Israel agenda, and it must investigate Hamas’ human rights violations.” 

Rep. Deutch said, “It is Hamas that chose to invest money in underground bunkers for its leaders and terror tunnels and rocket launchers, instead of jobs, schools and healthcare for the people of Gaza. And it is Hamas who uses its own people as human shields to protect these rocket launchers. The use of civilians to protect military objectives is a direct violation of the Geneva Conventions. Hamas’ use of civilians as human shields is deplorable and should be condemned by any nation that values human rights.”

Rep. Cole said, “I join my colleagues in again condemning Hamas, both for its refusal to abide by ceasefire agreements and for its disregard for human life. Especially in light of the last several days of conflict, we are deeply grieved by the lives lost in Israel and Gaza. But because Hamas officials haven’t appropriately warned Gaza residents of known Israeli air strikes and have instead encouraged them to stay in their homes, the loss of innocent civilians is much worse and could have been prevented if warnings were heeded. In light of Hamas’ obvious crimes against its own people that includes using them as human shields, it is absolutely inappropriate for the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate Israel for violations of international law.”

To read a copy of the letter, click here.

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Contact:Samantha Slater (202) 225-3335 (Israel) Keith Fernandez (Ros-Lehtinen) Ashley Mushnick (Deutch)Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165 (Cole)

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Bad Actors Step In When America Pulls Back

2014/07/28

Ever since Russia violated Ukrainian sovereignty by sending troops to invade Crimea back in March, the world has been clearly warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin is on the move to conquer and claim neighboring territory. While he started with making Crimea part of Russia, professing that he must do so as protector of the “Russian world,” clearly his goal is to take over huge swaths of the country of Ukraine and then threaten the sovereignty of other countries allied or associated with America.

Despite decreased media attention regarding the unrest along the Russia-Ukraine border, Russia’s bullying of Ukraine did not and has not decreased since Crimea was taken. Unfortunately, it took a painful tragedy for most to remember and recognize the gravity of the situation still facing our Ukrainian friends. Several days ago, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down by a missile fired by Russian-backed rebels as it was flying over the region, claiming every single life on board the commercial aircraft. Just days before this act of terrorism, two other planes belonging to the Ukraine Defense Ministry were shot down by similar missiles belonging to the separatists and provided to them by Russia. 

Putin doesn’t even pretend to support the western ideals of the rule of law and democracy. As I predicted, Putin’s actions show that he is out to destroy those associated with the West, which means since he’s threatened Ukraine, he’s also threatened America. While Ukraine’s defense force continues to hold the line as best it can against this tyrant, the pro-Russian rebels and the Russians continue brazen efforts to dismember Ukraine.

Even with the obvious warnings and much testing of the waters by Putin to see when America would say “enough,” this Administration has chosen to do nothing more than impose limited sanctions on Russia. Beyond that, our president has kept to his usual schedule, including three days last week fundraising on the West Coast.

When America pulls back, bad actors step in. America should be visibly standing alongside Ukraine in its fight for survival, by providing equipment, strategic advice or intelligence. In desperate times like these for our Ukrainian friends, the president should explore such options immediately by sending a military delegation to Kiev to define their needs and determine how we can help them thwart Russia. Without some sort of significant aid to the Ukrainian military right away, Russian attempts to dismember Ukraine will continue to intensify. 

According to the State Department, Russian artillery fired into Ukraine on Thursday. In addition, the Pentagon reported that Russia is sending more missiles to the separatists. Previously, Russia claimed that it had no part in the violence, but it’s no secret anymore that it intends to bring down Ukraine.

Ukraine is an important friend that shares our values. Rather than relying exclusively on sanctions, this situation requires strong, decisive leadership by President Obama. He must show that he’s ready to lead through aid that will actually deter the rebels and the Russians from more violence.

America should have demonstrated strength months ago when Ukraine was first threatened. Instead, inaction has led to escalation of pro-Russian aggression. In the days ahead, Putin will only continue to double down because Obama has set the precedent that he will do nothing in response. As a result, America’s standing worldwide will be weaker by the day.

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Reps. Israel, Ros-Lehtinen, Deutch and Cole to Call on UN Human Rights Council to Condemn Hamas’ Use of Civilians as Human Shields

2014/07/24

Washington, D.C.—Today, Reps. Steve Israel (D-NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Tom Cole (R-OK) announced that they are sending a letter to Navi Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights for the UN Human Rights Council calling on her to condemn Hamas’ use of civilians as human shields, which is a direct violation of international law. Hamas, a designated terrorist group, continues to launch missiles aimed at civilians in Israeli population centers and refuses to de-escalate the conflict by agreeing to internationally-backed cease-fires.

In the letter, the representatives write, “The council has established a commission of inquiry to unjustly probe alleged war crimes and violations of international law by the nation defending its citizens from rocket attacks and terror tunnels, rather than the terrorist group whose depravity makes a policy of using its citizens as human shields while its terror commanders flee to fortified bunkers.”

They go on to state, “These grave violations of international law cannot be ignored. Any nation or multilateral body that values human rights must condemn the use of civilians as human shields. This is the effort the United Nations should be leading and you should be speaking out against.”

To read a copy of the letter, click here.

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Contact:

Samantha Slater (Israel)Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165 (Cole) Keith Fernandez (Ros-Lehtinen) Ashley Mushnick (Deutch)

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Purcell Town Hall Meeting

2014/07/21

Please join me for discussion at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 27 in Purcell. 

McClain County Community Center 1721 Hardcastle Boulevard Purcell, OK  73080

If you have any questions, please contact my Norman office at (405) 329-6500.

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Newcastle Town Hall Meeting

2014/07/21

Please join me for discussion at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 26 in Newcastle. 

Newcastle Community Center 705 NW 10th Street Newcastle, OK 73065

If you have any questions, please contact my Norman office at (405) 329-6500.

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NewsOK: Oklahoma lawmakers reiterate opposition to Fort Sill as shelter for minors

2014/07/21

NewsOK - Chris Casteel

Members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation said Monday they don’t want Fort Sill, the U.S. Army artillery post near Lawton, used to house unaccompanied alien children past the October deadline.

The delegation’s comments came after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel approved a request from the Health and Human Services Department to house up to 5,000 more minors on military bases. Hagel had previously approved housing for up to 3,600 children. Hagel also approved a request that bases be used until the end of January.

Fort Sill is housing about 1,200 minors, mostly from Central American countries. The children began arriving in June but the base has been authorized as a shelter only until October.

According to Sen. Jim Inhofe’s office, it is still not clear whether the Defense Department will extend the time Fort Sill is used.

Inhofe, of Tulsa, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said, “First and foremost, the Oklahoma delegation is proud of Fort Sill and the community for rising to the occasion to assist the children that are in the crosshairs of this unfortunate crisis.

“There is significant concern the contract with Fort Sill is turning into a commitment beyond what was originally proposed by the Administration and will soon begin to impede on the base’s vital responsibility to house and train new recruits.”

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, whose district includes Fort Sill, said, “While the flood of these juveniles has caused an apparent crisis, it is one of the president’s own making due to a policy failure stemming from his unwillingness to enforce existing immigration law.”

“I remain strongly opposed to use of our military bases for housing illegals, and most certainly do not support any time extension for HHS use of these facilities. Regardless of their origin, the treatment of all illegal immigrant children should be the same, meaning deportation should be immediate and mandatory.”

Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, said, “The request to extend use of DOD facilities for housing UAC is a very real threat to U.S. military readiness. Fort Sill is the primary artillery training center for troops before deployment. The barracks are needed in October to prepare them for housing our warfighters in this critical training mission. Secretary Hagel should not extend or expand the use of Ft. Sill as a UAC camp.”

Online: NewsOK

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Frederick Town Hall Meeting

2014/07/21

Please join me for discussion at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, August 5 in Frederick.

Banc First Conference Center 201 S. Main Street Frederick, OK 73542

If you have any questions, please contact my Norman office at (405) 329-6500.

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Roll Call: Oklahoma Republicans to Obama: No More Child Migrants at Fort Sill

2014/07/21

Roll Call - Emma Dumain

The Oklahoma congressional delegation is proud of its Fort Sill Army Base, but that doesn’t mean it wants to play host to thousands more unaccompanied child migrants awaiting deportation proceedings.

On Monday, one of the state’s two GOP senators and all six Republican congressmen called on the Obama administration to reverse its decision to send up to 5,000 more “unaccompanied alien children,” or UAC, to the Lawton army base on top of the countless children already being held there. They also want the administration to rethink plans to keep Fort Sill an active detention center through January 2015.

Sen. James M. Inhofe joined Reps. Tom Cole, Jim Bridenstine, Markwayne Mullin, Frank Lucas and James Lankford in blasting out a press release containing all of their statements deploring the decision.

Sen. Tom Coburn, who is stepping down at the end of the year, did not sign onto the release.

“The request to extend use of [Defense Department] facilities for housing UAC is a very real threat to U.S. military readiness. Ft. Sill is the primary artillery training center for troops before deployment,” said Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., who was initially turned away from touring the facility until officials ultimately reversed that decision. “The barracks are needed in October to prepare them for housing our warfighters in this critical training mission. Secretary Hagel should not extend or expand the use of Ft. Sill as a UAC camp.”

“The Administration’s decision to hold the unaccompanied minors at Fort Sill in the first place was irresponsible,” added Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla. “Fort Sill is not designed for this purpose, and turning the facility into a longer-term solution for housing these minors is extremely concerning. We need to be looking for real solutions not temporary fixes.”

The members’ fight against using Fort Sill to house child migrants entering the country illegally comes as both chambers on Capitol Hill grapple with a $3.7 billion request from President Barack Obama to, among other things, bolster resources at the southern border and help address the severe and long-term overcrowding at detention facilities. Meanwhile, constituents around the country are protesting the arrivals of undocumented immigrant children in their districts, demanding that they be deported and holding signs that read, “Not my children, not my problem.”

Here are the other Oklahoma lawmakers’ statements:

From Inhofe, the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee:

“First and foremost, the Oklahoma delegation is proud of Fort Sill and the community for rising to the occasion to assist the children that are in the crosshairs of this unfortunate crisis. There is significant concern the contract with Fort Sill is turning into a commitment beyond what was originally proposed by the Administration and will soon begin to impede on the base’s vital responsibility to house and train new recruits. During my visit in June to meet the children and tour UAC housing, I warned local leaders that I fully expected the Obama Administration to push its limits with the use of Fort Sill. The Obama Administration’s lack of organization and the President’s failure to send a strong signal that he will secure the border will only increase demand of our military installations. While our military bases have been used before to temporarily aid migrants and refugees, we now have an Administration that is asking our military to do more with less resources than ever before. President Obama needs to stop putting the onus on our military to manage his crisis, and he needs to prioritize solutions that will quickly reunite these children with their families in their home country.”

From Rep. Tom Cole, the chairman of the House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee:

“Since we learned of the Administration’s plan to use military installations for housing unaccompanied illegal minors, I have continually voiced my strong opposition to it. While the flood of these juveniles has caused an apparent crisis, it is one of the president’s own making due to a policy failure stemming from his unwillingness to enforce existing immigration law. Rather than acknowledge the problem at hand, the president has chosen to process individuals and allow them to stay in the United States, causing even more juveniles to make the journey. Not only is this surge causing a strain on the facilities and personnel of our military, but processing and detaining these juveniles on military installations does not and will not lead to a solution to the crisis. It instead incentivizes even more to come. I remain strongly opposed to use of our military bases for housing illegals, and most certainly do not support any time extension for HHS use of these facilities. Regardless of their origin, the treatment of all illegal immigrant children should be the same, meaning deportation should be immediate and mandatory.”

From Rep. Frank Lucas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee:

“Military bases such as Fort Sill have stepped up to temporarily house thousands of unaccompanied minors arriving from Central America. However, the Obama Administration cannot continue to rely on such facilities as a long-term solution to illegal immigration. If the president is serious about putting an end to this humanitarian crisis, he can start by securing our border and enforcing our country’s immigration laws.”

From Rep. James Lankford, who is the GOP nominee for the open Senate race to succeed Coburn in the 114th Congress:

“This is a problem of the President’s own creation. The task of safely and humanely housing thousands of unaccompanied alien children is a classic example of the President trying to manage a problem, rather than solve a problem. President Obama already has sufficient legal authority from Congress to quickly reunite these children with their families in their home country. The law is clear; a child is not considered ‘unaccompanied’ unless they do not have a parent in the United States. The vast majority of these children already have at least one parent illegally in the United States. This is not an issue of human trafficking. This is an issue of ignoring the law and attempting to jump ahead of other immigrants who have waited patiently to legally enter the United States. The quality facilities provided to these children at Ft. Sill are ideal for the Administration to stall the enforcement of existing law and further the President’s pro-amnesty agenda. As a father, I remain grateful to the hard-working contract personnel who are responsible for these children while in HHS custody in Oklahoma. But I continue to implore President Obama to enforce the law immediately and stop encouraging children to travel thousands of dangerous miles, only to face a delayed return home.”

Online: Roll Call

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Oklahoma Delegation urges Obama Administration to reconsider use of Ft. Sill to house Unaccompanied Alien Children

2014/07/21

Washington, D.C. — The Oklahoma Congressional Delegation today urged the Obama Administration to reconsider its use of Fort Sill Army Base in Lawton, Okla., as a long-term holding facility for Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC).  

On Friday, Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel approved a request from HHS to extend and expand the Department of Defense’s (DOD) commitment to house UAC on military bases. The agreement calls for the DOD to house up-to an additional 5,000 UAC in addition to the ongoing support for 3,600 children approved in May. The agreement also commits DOD facilities to be used through January 31, 2015. 

“First and foremost, the Oklahoma delegation is proud of Fort Sill and the community for rising to the occasion to assist the children that are in the crosshairs of this unfortunate crisis. There is significant concern the contract with Fort Sill is turning into a commitment beyond what was originally proposed by the Administration and will soon begin to impede on the base’s vital responsibility to house and train new recruits,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe, ranking member of Senate Armed Services Committee. “During my visit in June to meet the children and tour UAC housing, I warned local leaders that I fully expected the Obama Administration to push its limits with the use of Fort Sill. The Obama Administration’s lack of organization and the President’s failure to send a strong signal that he will secure the border will only increase demand of our military installations. While our military bases have been used before to temporarily aid migrants and refugees, we now have an Administration that is asking our military to do more with less resources than ever before.  President Obama needs to stop putting the onus on our military to manage his crisis, and he needs to prioritize solutions that will quickly reunite these children with their families in their home country.”

"Since we learned of the Administration's plan to use military installations for housing unaccompanied illegal minors, I have continually voiced my strong opposition to it,” said Rep. Tom Cole (4-OK). "While the flood of these juveniles has caused an apparent crisis, it is one of the president's own making due to a policy failure stemming from his unwillingness to enforce existing immigration law. Rather than acknowledge the problem at hand, the president has chosen to process individuals and allow them to stay in the United States, causing even more juveniles to make the journey. Not only is this surge causing a strain on the facilities and personnel of our military, but processing and detaining these juveniles on military installations does not and will not lead to a solution to the crisis. It instead incentivizes even more to come. I remain strongly opposed to use of our military bases for housing illegals, and most certainly do not support any time extension for HHS use of these facilities. Regardless of their origin, the treatment of all illegal immigrant children should be the same, meaning deportation should be immediate and mandatory."

"The border crisis is a result of Administration policies and failure to enforce the law,” said Rep. Jim Bridenstine (OK-1), member of the House Armed Services Committee.  "The surge of illegal entries at the southern border of the United States has resulted in children suffering and threatens our national security and national sovereignty.  The compassionate thing to do is to deter people from making, or sending their children, on this dangerous journey.

"The request to extend use of DOD facilities for housing UAC is a very real threat to U.S. military readiness.  Ft. Sill is the primary artillery training center for troops before deployment.  The barracks are needed in October to prepare them for housing our warfighters in this critical training mission.  Secretary Hagel should not extend or expand the use of Ft. Sill as a UAC camp."

“The Administration’s decision to hold the unaccompanied minors at Fort Sill in the first place was irresponsible,” said Rep. Markwayne Mullin (OK-2). “Fort Sill is not designed for this purpose, and turning the facility into a longer-term solution for housing these minors is extremely concerning. We need to be looking for real solutions not temporary fixes.”

“Military bases such as Fort Sill have stepped up to temporarily house thousands of unaccompanied minors arriving from Central America. However, the Obama Administration cannot continue to rely on such facilities as a long-term solution to illegal immigration,” said Rep. Frank Lucas (OK-3). “If the president is serious about putting an end to this humanitarian crisis, he can start by securing our border and enforcing our country’s immigration laws.”

“This is a problem of the President’s own creation,” said Rep. James Lankford (OK-5). "The task of safely and humanely housing thousands of unaccompanied alien children is a classic example of the President trying to manage a problem, rather than solve a problem. President Obama already has sufficient legal authority from Congress to quickly reunite these children with their families in their home country. 

"The law is clear; a child is not considered ‘unaccompanied’ unless they do not have a parent in the United States. The vast majority of these children already have at least one parent illegally in the United States. This is not an issue of human trafficking. This is an issue of ignoring the law and attempting to jump ahead of other immigrants who have waited patiently to legally enter the United States. The quality facilities provided to these children at Ft. Sill are ideal for the Administration to stall the enforcement of existing law and further the President's pro-amnesty agenda. As a father, I remain grateful to the hard-working contract personnel who are responsible for these children while in HHS custody in Oklahoma. But I continue to implore President Obama to enforce the law immediately and stop encouraging children to travel thousands of dangerous miles, only to face a delayed return home.”

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Contact: Donelle Harder (202) 224-4721 (Inhofe)Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165 (Cole) Sheryl Kaufman (202) 225-2211 (Bridenstine) Josh Miller (202) 225-2701 (Mullin) Andrew Witmer (202) 225-5565 (Lucas) Kelly Ferguson (202) 225-2132 (Lankford)

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Contact Information

2458 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-6165
Fax 202-225-3512
cole.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Budget

Appropriations

Rules

Tom Cole became the Representative for Oklahoma’s Fourth Congressional District on November 6th, 2002. During his tenure in the House Cole has established himself as a strong voice for the conservative views and values of the Fourth District. He is an advocate for a strong national defense, a defender of the interests of small business and taxpayers, a proponent of education at all levels and a leader on issues dealing with Native Americans and tribal governments. Cole was named as one of “Five Freshmen to Watch” by Roll Call at the outset of his congressional career.

Congressman Cole is a member on the House Armed Services Committee to which he was appointed in 2002 He also serves on the Natural Resources Committee. Cole serves as a Deputy Whip in the U.S. House. In this role he helps line up the votes needed to pass the legislative agenda of the President and the House Republican Conference. Cole also serves as Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, making him a member of the House GOP Leadership.

Cole has a significant background of service to his home state of Oklahoma. He has served as a District Director for former Congressman Mickey Edwards, a member of the Oklahoma State Senate, and as Oklahoma’s Secretary of State. In this capacity he served as former Governor Frank Keating’s chief legislative strategist and liaison to the state’s federal delegation. Keating tapped Cole to lead Oklahoma’s successful effort to secure federal funds to assist in the rebuilding of Oklahoma City in the wake of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19th, 1995.

Cole is a founding partner and past president of CHS & Associates, a nationally recognized consulting and survey research firm based in Oklahoma City. The firm has been named one of the top twenty in its field in America and has literally dozens of past and current clients scattered across the country.

A former college instructor in history and politics, Cole holds a B.A. from Grinnell College, an M.A. from Yale University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma. Cole has been a Thomas Watson Fellow and a Fulbright Fellow at the University of London. He currently serves on the national Board of the Fulbright Association. He also serves on the board of the Aspen Institute.

Tom Cole is a fifth generation Oklahoman and an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation. He is currently the only Native American serving in Congress He was awarded the Congressional Leadership award by the National Congress of American Indians and was inducted in the Chickasaw Hall of Fame in 2004. Cole’s late mother, Helen, is also a member of the Chickasaw Hall of Fame and served as a state representative, state senator and Mayor of Moore in her native state of Oklahoma. Cole’s late father, John, served twenty years in the United States Air Force and worked an additional two decades as a civilian federal employee at Tinker Air Force Base. Tom and his wife Ellen, have one son, Mason, and reside in Moore, Oklahoma.


Serving With

Jim Bridenstine

OKLAHOMA's 1st DISTRICT

Markwayne Mullin

OKLAHOMA's 2nd DISTRICT

Frank Lucas

OKLAHOMA's 3rd DISTRICT

James Lankford

OKLAHOMA's 5th DISTRICT

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