Tom Cole

Tom Cole

OKLAHOMA's 4th DISTRICT

Budget Outlook Threatens National Security

2014/10/20

With mounting global crises that threaten our nation’s safety and security, we must remember that we face an equal if not greater threat right here in our own country. In addition to the rise of dangerous terrorist groups in the Middle East, the surge of unaccompanied illegal minors at our southern borders over the summer, the consistent bullying of Ukraine by Russia and the rampant spread of Ebola in West Africa, our nation is also drowning in more than $17.8 trillion of debt. Because the Obama Administration has done little to address our fiscal problems, our ability to combat or react to global threats like these is severely hamstrung and, without real reforms, could render the United States unable to address these challenges in the future.

The state of our nation’s economy, especially the amount of debt we have and the rate at which it is accumulating, is quite possibly the issue that should concern our leaders, lawmakers and citizens most. While it is an issue that will require tough calls like further reducing spending on sometimes popular government initiatives and reforming long established entitlement programs, these are decisions that must be made sooner rather than later.

By the end of this year, the amount of our publicly-held debt is projected to be 74 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). If we don’t change our economic course, it could grow to an astoundingly-high 111 percent of GDP by 2039. In addition, along the current 10-year horizon, our economic growth as a percentage of GDP is expected to come in at only 2.5 percent—below the annual average of 3.3 percent since 1950. This means that our economy is not only taking on more debt, but it's growing slower in the process.

Since Republicans reclaimed majority in the House of Representatives, lawmakers have worked to draft and pass legislation that would create much-needed jobs and improve our economic outlook for our children and grandchildren. Unfortunately, due to the lack of cooperation from the Democrat-led Senate, few of these pro-economic reforms have even made it to the president’s desk. 

Despite the challenges of divided government, Republicans and Democrats have worked together on occasion to significantly reduce the national deficit (difference between spending and tax revenue) and worked in a bipartisan manner to do so. Through bipartisan compromises like the 2011 debt ceiling deal and 2013 fiscal cliff agreement, the deficit has been significantly reduced. Since 2010, the deficit has fallen from more than $1.4 trillion to $483 billion this year. However, much more needs to be done, and it requires bipartisanship. 

In the midst of a troubled world, America’s ability to lead in crisis and show strength in conflict is gradually fading because of the heavy burden of debt we carry—made worse by deep cuts to our military and lawmakers not addressing and replacing blunt and counterproductive sequester cuts. Further, much of our debt is owed to foreign holders, which dangerously leaves us at the mercy of other nations.

While some events in other countries are out of our control, it is critical that we effectively manage what we can control in our own nation, so we’re adequately prepared both financially and militarily when crisis comes. The federal budget outlook is something we can and must change, but it requires bipartisan cooperation to do so.

I hope that the state of the world will encourage lawmakers to work together and prioritize those areas of government that are necessary for protecting our nation and preserving the American Dream. The actions we take today impact the kind of world that our children and grandchildren will get to enjoy in the days and years ahead. 

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Ripon Advance: Cole instrumental in pediatric disease research and equal pay increases bills

2014/10/20

The Ripon Advance

Rep. Tom Cole, (R-Okla.) has been instrumental in several bills during the 113th Congress that were signed into law, including the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act and the Wage Grade Employee Parity Act.

“I am proud to have co-authored, along with Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, which redirects taxpayer dollars wasted on political party conventions to instead fund valuable pediatric disease research,” Cole said.

The Wage Grade Employee Parity Act ensures that wage increases are equal for wage grade (WG) or hourly federal employees, as compared to general schedule (GS) salaried employees. A Jan. 1 cost-of-living increase was approved for GS employees, but separate legislation was necessary to ensure the same adjustment was applied to WG employees.

“I am also proud to have joined my colleague Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) in introducing bipartisan legislation that helps blue collar federal workers. Through its inclusion in the Continuing Appropriations Resolution for (fiscal year) 2015 that was recently signed into law, the Wage Grade Employee Parity Act provided a slight increase in wages for hourly federal workers,” Cole said.

Cole, who has represented the 4th District of Oklahoma since 2002, said that a divided government can be difficult for everyone involved, but he is pleased that progress was made on these specific bills.

“While divided government is challenging for all concerned, I remain convinced that people of goodwill can still find common ground and work together to get things done,” Cole said. “As illustrated under the presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, it is possible to achieve.”

Online: The Ripon Advance

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Cole Hard Facts: Update on the Ebola Outbreak

2014/10/16

Cole Hard Facts (e-news) - Congressman Tom Cole Earlier today, the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations conducted a hearing with witnesses from several government agencies about the U.S response to the Ebola outbreak. Hearing included discussion on U.S. travel restrictions to and from the affected countries in West Africa, which I support, and what healthcare protocols should be enacted and followed in our own country. 

Because we cannot monitor or adequately screen individuals coming from the countries where the disease is prevalent, I believe that it is in the interest of our nation’s safety and security to temporarily discontinue travel into the United States of foreigners or flights originating from the affected countries until the outbreak is under control.

What do you think?

If you are a resident of the Fourth District and haven’t already participated in my poll, please share your thoughts on the following question here

Do you support restricting travel to the United States from West Africa in order to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus?

You can also share your opinion with me in the comments of my Facebook page here.Online: Cole Hard Facts

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Pauls Valley Daily Democrat: Big Issues Take Center Stage

2014/10/14

Pauls Valley Daily Democrat - Barry Porterfield

A serious discussion on some issues of national interest took center stage during a U.S. congressman’s visit to Pauls Valley recently.

Comments from Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, were direct but still provided a lighter, more non-partisan flavor during the town hall update Thursday afternoon.

Meeting at the offices of the local chamber of commerce, Cole addressed a variety of issues with the handful of residents coming to the informal gathering.

“In Washington, D.C., it’s been somewhat of a better year than many people may believe,” Cole said.

“It hasn’t been this attitude that we’re in the final days and it’s all going to hell in a hand basket and it’s the other guy’s fault,” he said.

“But I’ll be the first to tell you we’re at a challenging point.”

From immigration to Russians “rewriting the Cold War” to the newest Middle Eastern terrorist threat to the budget deficit, Cole said there are some challenging times ahead but stressed not all is bad.

“Here in Oklahoma we’re pretty good overall,” Cole said about the economy. “By and large if you want to get a job in Oklahoma you can get one.”

As for the staggering national budget deficit, the congressman believes there are a couple of areas that must be addressed for it turn around — cuts in entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, along with some changes to the tax system.

“That’s where most of the debt is,” he said, referring to the entitlements.

“If we do these things and make some adjustments in entitlements, we can move in the right direction with the budget.

“You can’t just cut, you’ve got to grow your way out of debt.”

When it comes to today’s better economic times, Cole says it was the “resiliency of the economy” and not Congress or the president that has gotten things moving in the right direction.

Not all has been a downer for Congress, he said, as there was some legislation enacted during the past year, like the Farm Bill, that Cole describes as positive.

Cole himself was one of the sponsors for a bill that included shifting money, normally paying for the national political conventions, and using it to pay for pediatric research.

“That’s $130 million that won’t be wasted on political parties and instead we’ll spend it on sick kids. I think we can all agree that’s a good thing.”

There’s also been an overhaul of the military veterans’ system, including an accountability for many at the top, he said.

He also believes immigration reform and more secure southern U.S. borders will continue to be a “flashpoint” issue.

“There will be plenty of problems when the new Congress gets here,” he said about next year’s term.

“But we’ve had about a year of reasonably good work.”

Cole added he will be paying close attention to the political jockeying that typically comes during a president’s last term in office. President Obama is entering his final two years in office.

“The real question is can both sides sit down and work together,” Cole said.

“It would be a mistake and bad for the country to have gridlock and a divided government.”

Online: Pauls Valley Daily Democrat

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Hong Kong Illustrates Human Desire for Democracy

2014/10/13

More than 238 years ago, brave Americans understood the value of a democracy marked by unique freedoms and liberties for its people. Less than a hundred years later in the midst of a civil war that threatened to dissolve the Union, President Abraham Lincoln again inspired our nation to preserve government “of the people, for the people and by the people.” And we did.

Our democratic society has since caused others across the world to recognize the innate desire of mankind to be free. The existence and endurance of our great nation has created an even greater hunger for democracy in countries with oppressive governments. In recent days, we’ve seen this illustrated through the situation in Hong Kong that has led to pro-democracy student protests against the Chinese government—causing the world to remember a similar pro-democracy revolt at Tiananmen Square in 1989.  

For much of the 19th and 20th centuries, Hong Kong was occupied by Great Britain and thus operated under British rule. Upon expiration of the British lease in 1997, however, Hong Kong was returned to Chinese control with the understanding that the region could continue operating somewhat free and independently for 50 years. Unfortunately, with the Hong Kong elections set for 2017, the Chinese government has told voters in the region that their candidates must be pre-approved—a move that violates the region’s supposed autonomy and right to choose its own leaders until 2047. In response, peaceful protests started at the end of August and then led to the students boycotting class in late September and instead filling the streets.  

After thousands recently took to the streets to demand freedom, this temporarily brought with it a glimmer of hope when the central government agreed to engage in talks with the protestors last Friday. Unfortunately, the Chinese government backed out of the planned talks, causing protestors to fill the streets once again. 

China’s totalitarian system is brutal and repressive. Unlike the citizens of the United States, citizens of Hong Kong do not enjoy the right to peaceably assemble, express thoughts contrary to the official doctrine of the government or demonstrate in support of such rights. And while the United States is obviously supportive of pro-democracy efforts around the world and our hope for the young leaders of Hong Kong’s democratic movement is strong, we have neither the authority nor pressing national interest to do more than lend our moral support. 

Struggles like those we are witnessing in Hong Kong should serve as a reminder that freedom is as fragile as it is precious. The rights we enjoy as Americans were secured by the blood and courage of our founders who understood that certain things were worth pledging their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to achieve and defend. As desirable as it may be to have the citizens of Hong Kong win their freedom by the stroke of a pen, Americans know it is rarely, if ever, that simple. 

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Ross: “We Must Restrict Air Travel to and from West Africa”

2014/10/09

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Rep. Dennis A. Ross (R-FL-15), Senior Deputy Majority Whip, today released the following statement after he and wrote a letter to President Obama requesting he institute travel restrictions to and from the West African countries that have been impacted by Ebola, and enhance security within airports and throughout the country.

“I am deeply concerned that this Administration is not taking the necessary precautions to prevent any further cases of Ebola in the United States. President Obama’s recent comments stating that it’s ‘highly unlikely’ Ebola would reach our shores were completely wrong.  Instead of embellishing safety measures, the president needs to look at the dangers of this disease with an unimpeded view and act accordingly. This disease is taking life in tragic numbers. Yesterday, the first Ebola patient in America who was hospitalized in Dallas, Texas passed away.

“My constituents and I do not want to begin the venture of quarantining those living in our country.  Unfortunately, by allowing travel to and from countries that have been infected with this deadly virus, we could be heading in that direction. The fact is that there are uncertainties about this virus so we must take the proper precautions.

“It is my prerogative to pass legislation that will best represent my constituents’ needs, but it is also important for the government to take necessary action when facing a dangerous threat; in this case that threat is Ebola. Until this disease is controlled and wiped out, the president should begin a ban on air travel to and from infected regions of Africa and utilize legal quarantine and isolation procedures for United States citizens seeking to exercise their constitutional right to reentry. This is the only way to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the United States and its citizens is preserved.

“There is an adage, ‘we must hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.’ This situation is no different. That is why I signed on to this letter.”

Congressional members who signed the letter include Reps. Dennis Ross (R-FL-15), Steve Stivers (R-OH-15), Alan Grayson (D-FL-9), Ted Yoho (R-FL-3), Robert Pettinger (R-NC-9), Kristen Sinema (D-AZ-9), Kenny Marchant (R-TX-24), Stephan Fincher (R-TN-8), Tom Cole (R-OK-4), Michael Grimm (R-NY-11), Steve Stockman (R-TX-36), Adrian Smith (R-NE-3), Bill Posey (R-FL-8), Dave Joyce (R-OH-14), Tom Marino (R-PA-10), Mike Kelly (R-PA-3), Roger Williams (R-TX-25), Steve Daines (R-MT-A.L.), Matt Salman (R-AZ-5), Gregg Harpre (R-MS-3), Andy Barr (R-KY-6), Steven Palazzo (R-MS-4), Mike Coffman (R-CO-6), Dave Loebsack (D-IA-2), Bob Gibbs (R-OH-7), and Paul A. Gosar (R-AZ-4).

View the letter here.

###

Contact:Monica Rodriguez (202) 225-1252 (Ross)Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165 (Cole)

Link to original release from Congressman Dennis Ross (FL-15)

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Global Partnership to Contain Ebola

2014/10/06

Over the last several months, we have all kept a close watch over the alarming outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa. Primarily impacting the countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, our concern is certainly shared with those who have lost loved ones to this disease. As Americans, our first inclination in the midst of suffering is to lend a helping hand and prevent a situation from growing from bad to worse.    

Ebola has claimed thousands of lives in West Africa. What started as a few remote cases has now impacted entire communities that do not have the resources to combat the disease. It is in the interest of the United States to partner with other countries to slow the spread of Ebola in West Africa and prevent it from being more widely spread around the globe. We are still learning what public health policies are in place to combat Ebola, and specifically how government-sponsored humanitarian aid can mitigate this disaster.

The Department of Defense has announced its plan to involve our military in building infrastructure to treat Ebola victims in West Africa. This would include the deployment of 1,500 military personnel to join 195 individuals already on the ground, followed by another 1,290 that could be deployed over the next couple months.

While I understand the need to assist, I believe that the Department of Defense must provide detailed plans for the operation, including how the bio-security of U.S. personnel and their families will be maintained. There must be interagency cooperation and contributions by other elements of the U.S. government and partner nations to ensure the U.S. military’s mission remains limited in duration. The Administration also must provide a detailed timeline and spending plan associated with its request for emergency funds. Finally, engaging all experts—at home and abroad—will be key to coordinating a response for containing disease outbreaks like Ebola.

Even though Ebola has primarily impacted those living in West Africa, we are all concerned about Ebola reaching our own shores and threatening the health of Americans, especially since someone was recently diagnosed with the disease in Dallas, Texas. The individual is not a U.S. citizen and had traveled into the United States from Liberia not long after he was exposed to a victim of the disease. While he wasn’t showing symptoms before traveling out of Liberia, he wasn’t honest in his paperwork about his exposure to Ebola and was allowed to travel to the United States. Because we cannot monitor or adequately screen individuals coming from the countries where the disease is prevalent, it is in the interest of our nation’s safety and security to temporarily discontinue travel into the United States of foreigners or flights originating from the affected countries until the outbreak is under control. I am certainly supportive of helping stabilize the serious situation in West Africa by sending humanitarian aid like medical supplies and health workers, but our ability to effectively bring it under control overseas is made more difficult when the disease could also threaten our own country.

Considering that Ebola is listed as a communicable disease for which foreigners are generally barred entry into the United States, it certainly causes one to question the protocols that have existed which allowed him to enter the country. But, perhaps more importantly, this case also illustrates how closely linked our country is to the rest of the world, especially through air travel. As a result, we must realize that isolation of a health issue is usually only temporary, invoking the need for a global partnership when providing humanitarian assistance. 

Fortunately, our nation is home to quality health professionals with the ability to face cases should they reach us. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continually updates its website with resources for both health professionals and the general public. While I have great confidence in the ability of our health professionals, I will continue to monitor the situation in the days ahead.

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The Oklahoman: Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole says cost of new war uncertain

2014/10/05

The Oklahoman - Chris Casteel

Rep. Tom Cole, the Moore Republican who helps set U.S. military spending, says there’s no way of knowing how much it will cost to destroy the Islamic State and that money isn’t the primary concern now.

“I think you have to decide that this isn’t a matter of dollars and cents, it’s a matter of how great the risk is,” Cole said in an interview.

“And look, these people are busy establishing a terrorist state in the heart of the Middle East. This is like watching al Qaeda working with the Taliban in Afghanistan in the 1990s.”

Cole, whose district includes Tinker Air Force Base and the Army post Fort Sill, sits on the House subcommittee that sets defense spending. Before leaving last month for weeks of campaigning ahead of the Nov. 4 elections, lawmakers approved a short-term spending bill that authorizes funding and training for Syrian rebels but contains no specific amount.

That authorization lasts until mid-December, and Cole said the Pentagon easily could get by until then by shifting funds around in accounts.

President Barack Obama and military leaders have said destroying the Islamic State will take years, and Cole said the cost to U.S. taxpayers will depend on the administration’s overall strategy and the contribution from other countries.

“I don’t think FDR could have told you how much it was going to cost upfront to beat the Germans,’’ Cole said, referring to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and World War II.

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, “Between September 2001 and June 2014, lawmakers appropriated about $1.6 trillion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and for other war-related activities. Of that amount, about $1.4 trillion has gone to the Department of Defense, with about $165 billion provided for training indigenous security forces and for funding diplomatic relations and foreign aid for Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Cole said the price tag for fighting the Islamic State wouldn’t even approach that of prolonged ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“But most of the estimates I’ve seen about the cost of war upfront are wrong,’’ he said. “And you just have to recognize that. But the administration I think was a little slow to realize the nature of the threat, and has been tentative in deciding what to do. Partly because these questions are tough on Democrats.”

Cole has been among the most prominent Republican voices for a congressional debate on U.S. strategy against the Islamic State, also referred to as ISIS and ISIL. Cole believes the president should present Congress with a specific request for authorization as a starting point for that debate.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, of California, agrees that lawmakers should debate a new authorization — even if the actions currently being taken by the U.S. military are covered by the one passed for operations in Iraq more than a decade ago.

Pelosi said at a news conference last week: “We are the first branch of government, Article I, the legislative branch. Congress has a role in defining how our country degrades and defeats ISIS, one of the challenges that we face to our national security ... When this Congress comes back into session in November, it is important that we are here, we are ready to debate and vote on such an authorization. Between then and now we should be preparing.”

The administration has insisted there are no plans to use U.S. ground troops in Syria, and Cole said he would only be willing to commit forces there “to destroy ISIL and then get out of there.”

The Middle East, Cole said, “is clearly in a profound sense of change. It wouldn’t matter if it wasn’t for energy and if it wasn’t for its ability to export violence. And those two things mean the United States is going to have to be involved at some level. And it’s going to be murky ... there are hard decisions.”

Online: The Oklahoman

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Ada News: Gov. Anoatubby Touts Nation's Economic Success

2014/10/05

The Ada News - Eric Swanson

A combination of prosperity and strategic planning allowed the Chickasaw Nation to support more than 200 programs serving tribal members this year, Chickasaw Gov. Bill Anoatubby said Saturday.

“The Nation is doing very well, and we have a lot to be thankful for,” he said.

He said officials are always reviewing the tribe’s mission and looking for ways to improve operations.

Anoatubby and other tribal officials provided an overview of the year and a preview of upcoming projects during the State of the Nation address, which took place in Fletcher Auditorium on the Murray State College campus. The address was one of the highlights of the Chickasaw Nation’s 54th annual meeting, which was part of a weeklong festival celebrating the tribe’s history and culture.

Treasury Secretary Holly Easterling had good financial news for tribal members. She said the tribe’s net assets totaled $105.9 million after all program costs were covered.

“Governor, the current financial position of the tribe is strong and on an upward climb,” she said.

Economic success

Anoatubby said business opportunities allow the tribe to fulfill its mission by creating jobs and providing funds to support tribal programs. He added that ventures in areas including entertainment, manufacturing, medical technology and tourism played a key role in the tribe’s economic fortunes.

“Because of our businesses, we have not needed to draw on our trust account for many years,” he said.

Turning to another fiscal issue, the governor said all Native American tribes won a significant victory earlier this year when Congress approved the Tribal General Welfare Act of 2013. The bill bars the federal government from taxing tribal benefit programs designed to promote a tribe’s general welfare.

Anoatubby said tribes across the country urged federal lawmakers to push the bill through Congress.

“Hats off to Congress,” he said, addressing U.S. Rep. Tom Cole in the audience. “Hats off to you for intervening in this issue. A little more than week ago, Congress passed a bill — and it was signed into law — which recognizes a tribe’s rights to provide for its people.”

Anoatubby noted that Cole had co-sponsored the bill.

Projects

But the tribe’s financial health was not the only issue on Anoatubby’s mind.

The governor said the tribe is working on several projects designed to revitalize Chickasaw culture and language. Among those projects is a series of historical and contemporary documentaries called “The Chickasaw Heritage Series.”

The first entry in the series tells the story of the Chickasaws’ first encounter with Spanish explorer Hernando Desoto in 1541.

The tribe is also producing a feature film called “Te Ata,” which traces the life and career of Chickasaw storyteller Te Ata Fisher. Shooting for the film is taking place this fall around Oklahoma.

Anoatubby said film is a unique tool that allows the tribe to share its story with others.

“It is a great way to convey the message of who we are as a people,” he said. “That story goes beyond recounting our history, sharing our accomplishments or projects. It is a story of the indomitable spirit of the unconquered Chickasaw people.

“Whether it is the story of a young athlete such as Joshua Turner, the accomplishments of Congressman Tom Cole or the experiences of a Chickasaw aviatrix or storyteller, film enables us to convey the full depth of our experiences.”

Online: The Ada News

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The Oklahoman: East Central University student in Ada hopes to help foster children through her Chickasaw Tribe T-Ball program

2014/10/04

The Oklahoman - Brian Johnson

Tiffany Postoak has the heart, desire and passion to help foster children, particularly those within her own tribe of the Chickasaw Nation.

The East Central University legal studies and political science major from Tupelo High School, a resident of Allen, traveled to Washington, D.C., last month as a National Child Awareness Month Ambassador.

As the representative from Oklahoma, Postoak served as a community leader, learned the ins and outs of setting up a community service project, and how to raise public awareness and spur change.

Postoak’s choice for the fundraising project will be a youth T-ball tournament, for ages 4-6, next spring in the Ada area.

“I was very impressed with Tiffany Postoak from Allen, Oklahoma and also a member of the Chickasaw Nation,” said U.S. Rep Tom Cole in a Facebook post. “She is here as Oklahoma’s Youth Ambassador for National Child Awareness Month and is currently leading a project called Chikasha To’ili (Chickasaw Baseball) to raise money for Chickasaw children placed in foster care. Many of the children placed leave the majority of their belongings behind, but the money raised through Tiffany’s project helps provide clothing for these children in their new living environments.”

Postoak said, “The entry fee will be each player donating clothes or toys. So if you have 12 players on your team, the team of players can donate 12 outfits or 12 toys. Money can be donated also to benefit the Chickasaw foster care children.”

With the collaboration of Christine Pappas, an ECU legal studies and political science professor, Postoak came up with the idea. She was motivated by another former National Child Awareness Ambassador from ECU, Loren Dunnam.

Dunnam represented ECU and Oklahoma at the event in 2012 and set up a project to collect clothing and supplies for the children of her Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma.

“I know that some foster children don’t have many clothes. When you receive foster children, three or four pieces of clothing may come with them, but that’s all,” Postoak said. “Hey, if there is something I can supply for these children, I want to do it. I don’t want them to think that the world has forgotten them.”

Postoak received the all-expenses paid, three-day leadership training on Capitol Hill through a $1,000 grant from the Festival of Children Foundation. She had the opportunity to network with Youth Ambassadors from across the country, in order to have ongoing training, mobilization resources and a platform to build her service initiative.

This was her second time to go to Washington. Postoak has also traveled there with members of the Pi Sigma Alpha Honors Program for Political Science.

“I loved it and I’m excited to go back,” she said before the trip.

Online: The Oklahoman

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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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