Tom Cole

Tom Cole

OKLAHOMA's 4th DISTRICT

Maintaining Funds for National Security

2015/03/02

Last November, the president announced that he planned to unilaterally grant legal status to millions of illegal immigrants. Republicans in Congress contended that this move was unconstitutional and that the president does not have the authority to take such sweeping action without the consent of Congress. Public opinion polls suggest that the majority of the American people believe so as well. 

Accordingly, in December, both chambers of Congress voted on legislation to fund the government, which included full funding for all but one of the regular appropriations bills through the end of the fiscal year. At that time, in order to prevent funding of the president’s unconstitutional immigration plan, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was funded under a temporary measure that expired before the plan could be implemented. 

Several weeks ago in mid-January under the new Republican-led Congress, the House of Representatives immediately addressed the need to fully fund the Department of Homeland Security. However, when responsibly voting to fund DHS earlier this year, lawmakers didn’t forget about the president’s unconstitutional action. Passage of the legislation included five amendments to block funding for the president’s immigration plan. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats blocked that very same legislation and instead sent a bill to the House that would fund DHS through the end of the fiscal year without placing any limits on the president’s immigration scheme. 

With the funding for the Department of Homeland Security dangerously set to expire last week, both chambers of Congress on Friday voted to fund DHS for another week. While I certainly would have preferred a longer term solution and hope we can find one this week, I believe it is more important to prevent any lapse in funding from occurring. In a world where our enemies are numerous and seem only to become more dangerous, it is unacceptable to cut off critical funds—even for a short time—that protect the lives of Americans by helping maintain our nation’s readiness and ability to combat our dangerous enemies. 

Some have expressed concern about consideration of similar bills funding the president’s unconstitutional executive action announced in November. Since the president unveiled his plan before the American people, 26 states have taken action against the president’s overreach and are currently challenging the constitutionality of his executive action. In Oklahoma, that effort has been led by Attorney General Scott Pruitt. Because the president’s plan raises legitimate legal concerns, it recently led a federal judge in Texas to halt the plan until courts determine its constitutionality. That means that until the courts come to a final decision, the president’s plan cannot move forward. 

While I remain deeply opposed to the president’s overreach, I do believe it is important to respect our country’s system of checks and balances and allow the courts to decide the fate of the executive action. As the United States Congress awaits the decision of the courts, it would be well advised to continue responsibly funding DHS, rather than jeopardizing the safety and security of Americans.

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House Votes for Continuing Resolution to Fund DHS

2015/02/28

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after supporting legislation on the House floor to fund the Department of Homeland Security for seven days.

“Tonight both chambers of Congress voted to responsibly fund the Department of Homeland Security for another week,” said Cole. “While I certainly would have preferred a longer term solution, I believe it is more important to prevent any lapse in funding from occurring, especially with mounting threats to our national security. In a world where our enemies are numerous and seem only to become more dangerous, it is unacceptable to cut off critical funds, even for a short time, that help protect the lives of Americans. The legislation passed today helps maintain our nation’s readiness and ability to combat our dangerous enemies by funding DHS. 

“Some have expressed concern about consideration of similar bills funding the president’s unconstitutional executive action announced in November. As we remember, the president’s plan was intended to provide legal status to millions of illegal immigrants. Since the president unveiled his plan before the American people, 26 states have taken action against the president’s overreach and are currently challenging the constitutionality of his executive action. Until the courts come to a decision, the president’s plan cannot move forward. 

“While I remain deeply opposed to the president’s overreach, I do believe it is important to allow the courts to decide the fate, rather than jeopardizing the safety and security of Americans. As the United States Congress awaits the decision of the courts, it would be well advised to continue responsibly funding the Department of Homeland Security,” concluded Cole. 

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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Cole Statement on President’s Veto of Keystone

2015/02/25

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after President Barack Obama vetoed legislation sent by Congress to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. 

“After more than six years of needless delays and a shameful refusal to make a decision either way, the president was finally forced to make a decision on Keystone,” said Cole. “Despite his prior promises to veto the valuable legislation passed with strong bipartisan, bicameral support in Congress, I had hoped that the president would change his mind and side with the vast majority of the American people who support this common sense project. Unfortunately, he chose to veto legislation that would approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and consequently create tens of thousands of jobs for hardworking Americans. 

“In addition to preventing the creation of American jobs, the president’s veto signals that he has turned his back on Canada—one of America’s best friends and a country that already allows the United States to run a pipeline across the length of its country to transport American oil from Alaska to the lower 48 states. It makes sense for Canada to be able to transport oil to America in the same manner. Not only is it cheaper, but studies have shown that pipeline transport is also more efficient and environmentally more responsible. 

“The president’s decision to side with radical environmental extremists shows just how out of touch he is with the country he was elected to lead. It is apparent that in his final two years as president, he is uninterested in leaving a legacy that benefits the working people of the United States. Opposing Keystone is economically, diplomatically and environmentally irresponsible. The president’s decision to veto this vital legislation willfully ignores the facts and defies common sense,” concluded Cole. 

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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Small Businesses Matter to American Families

2015/02/23

After six weeks primarily devoted to legislative business in Washington, it was a welcome change to have a full week in Oklahoma devoted to meetings with constituents. When I travel across the Fourth District, I am always inspired by the spirit and can-do attitude of our small business entrepreneurs. And it serves as a reminder that Congress should do whatever it can to lift the regulatory and tax burdens that hinder the success of America’s small businesses. Because when small businesses succeed, American families succeed as well. 

Our country’s ability to prosper depends heavily on Americans who work for and own small businesses. Unfortunately, as many Oklahomans know far too well, those working on Main Street are often met with excessive regulatory and tax barriers that choke innovation and discourage job creation. Too often, these regulations create a barrier to entrepreneurs from entering the marketplace in the first place. That not only shatters the American Dream for a would-be entrepreneur, it prevents the creation of jobs that would have lifted other hardworking Americans as well.

While I was meeting with Oklahomans who depend on the success of small businesses, either as the owner or hardworking employee whose salary supports a family, I was pleased to report back that the House members in the new Congress have already passed measures to help Main Street. 

Passed earlier this month in the House, the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act remembers the critical role small businesses play in creating job opportunities that support millions of families across the country. Along with instructing federal agencies to look at the economic impact of regulations on small businesses, the bill requires that agencies conduct periodic reviews of current rules. The legislation also seeks to involve those employed by small businesses in consideration of new regulations through Small Business Advocacy Review panels. This valuable legislation raises the voices of those employed by small businesses by allowing them to be heard in the regulatory review and consideration process.

Along with addressing the regulatory process as it impacts small businesses, the House also passed America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act. While I believe that our federal tax code is still in need of major reform, this legislation would provide some certainty to the current system by making provisions that have expired—yet been routinely renewed—a permanent part of the tax code.  

Whether as an employee or owner, Americans depend greatly on the success of small businesses. According to the United States Small Business Administration, an estimated seven out of 10 new jobs in the economy are created by small businesses. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Commerce recorded 332,998 small businesses in Oklahoma that employed 673,373 people. 

It has been said that small business is the engine that drives America. When I am in Oklahoma, I am constantly reminded of the accuracy of that assertion. When government gets out of the way and allows that engine to fire on all cylinders, it drives our nation and our people toward a bright and prosperous future.

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Israel Always a Welcome Friend

2015/02/13

In the global war on terror, the United States has no better ally and friend than the State of Israel.  Surrounded by enemies intent on destroying them, Israel has more at stake in this war than any other nation in the world.  Moreover, our two nations share a commitment to living peaceably, fighting terrorism, defending freedom and protecting democracy. As terrorist activities in the Middle East become more barbaric, we must continue to value, nurture and respect our relationship with Israel, still our most reliable ally in the region. 

In the interest of showing support for the State of Israel, toward the end of last month House Speaker John Boehner extended an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint bipartisan meeting of Congress. That invitation was accepted and is currently scheduled to take place before lawmakers of both chambers in early March.

Since hearing about Netanyahu’s upcoming address, President Barack Obama has behaved petulantly and rudely by openly expressing his opposition to the visit and insisting that he will not extend a similar invitation to meet with the prime minister at the White House. 

As his reasoning for ignoring an important world leader, especially one representing our most dependable ally in the Middle East, the president said that such a meeting would interfere with upcoming elections for the prime minister. This explanation is disingenuous at best, as President Obama’s political team is actively participating in the opposition’s efforts to unseat Prime Minister Netanyahu in the upcoming March election. Following the president’s disappointing lead, several democratic lawmakers have promised not to attend the meeting. Vice President Joe Biden, who ironically met with Netanyahu’s opponent at the Munich Security Conference recently, also expressed that he will not be in attendance.  

The real reason for the president’s temper tantrum is more likely his desperate desire to strike a deal with Iran over its efforts to secure a nuclear weapon.  By all accounts, the president is so determined to reach an agreement with Iran that he is willing to jeopardize the safety and security of Israel, whom Iran has vowed to destroy.  Since 1984, Iran has been designated as a state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. State Department, and since 2006 the United States has imposed increasingly stringent sanctions on Iran for failure to stop its uranium enrichment program – a precursor to developing a nuclear weapon. While the Administration believes that a deal with Iran is possible, I have said before that it is better and safer for the American people and our friends around the globe to only accept an agreement that permanently eliminates Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons. 

Our friends in Israel rightly share that concern and distrust of Iran, whether elections are coming up or not, and it remains an issue that must continually be monitored. A nuclear armed Iran is a threat to the safety of the entire west and a direct threat to the very existence of the state of Israel. Since the president is apparently unwilling to acknowledge this reality, House Speaker John Boehner has very appropriately extended an invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu to present the facts himself. The prime minister recently responded to the Administration’s criticism of his coming visit, “We do have today a profound disagreement with the United States administration and [the world powers] over the offer that has been made to Iran.”

The Administration and others have blamed Republican leaders for meddling in negotiations by inviting the prime minister. Considering that Nancy Pelosi led a congressional delegation in 2007 to Syria, where she visited and attempted to lead peace talks with President Bashar al-Assad without the direction or approval of the Bush Administration, Democratic criticism of the Netanyahu invitation rings hollow.  

Republicans in both chambers remain supportive and united in welcoming the prime minister of Israel in the coming weeks. Regardless of the time of year or the political circumstances, Israel is always a welcome friend. 

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The Oklahoman: President Obama asks Congress for authority to attack Islamic State

2015/02/12

The Oklahoman - Chris Casteel

President Barack Obama on Wednesday asked Congress for official permission to use military force against the Islamic State, but some Democrats called the president’s proposal too broad and Republicans complained of its limitations.

Six months after the United States military began conducting air strikes against the brutal Islamic organization that has occupied land in Iraq and Syria, the president requested a three-year authorization specific to the conflict.

The administration has been operating under the 2001 resolution authorizing force against al-Qaida and the 2002 resolution that allowed the invasion of Iraq.

The president’s proposed language would not allow the use of U.S. forces “in enduring offensive ground combat operations.”

Obama — accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel — made brief remarks at the White House about his request, which Congress may begin debating late this month.

Obama said coalition forces had conducted more than 2,000 air strikes against Islamic State targets since September, destroying leaders, equipment and fighting positions.

“ISIL is on the defensive, and it is going to lose,” the president said, using another name for the group, which is also sometimes referred to as ISIS.

Use of ground forces Obama said his request reflects the core objective to destroy the organization through airstrikes and training other countries’ ground troops. And he said that, under certain circumstances, U.S. ground troops might be used for a limited objective.

But he said he was convinced the United States should not get dragged into another prolonged ground war.

“That’s not in our national security interest, and it’s not necessary for us to defeat ISIL,” he said. “Local forces on the ground who know their countries best are best positioned to take the ground fight to ISIL — and that’s what they’re doing.”

He said the three-year limit he sought was not a timetable.

“It is not announcing that the mission is completed at any given period,” he said. “What it is saying is that Congress should revisit the issue at the beginning of the next president’s term.”

Inhofe, Cole react Sen. Jim Inhofe, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and frequent critic of the president, said Obama’s request was ambiguous about what operations would be allowed.

“I want commanders to get it done,” Inhofe said. “All reasonable military options should be on the table. I believe ‘use of all necessary and appropriate force’ would have been a better message.”

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, whose district includes Tinker Air Force Base and Fort Sill, has long been calling for a new authorization for force and said the president’s proposal was long overdue. He said he hoped Congress could provide clear guidance for U.S. armed services.

Cole, who sits on the House panel that allocates money to the Defense Department, said he was concerned the administration “will try to ‘nickel and dime’ this critical mission.

“The president must understand that destroying ISIL calls for unwavering, sustained use of overwhelming force. With such a dangerous enemy at hand, we cannot afford to hesitate or fail to consider all the possible military assets.”

Democrats wary House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, of California, who opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, did not embrace the president’s proposal in saying that she looked forward to bipartisan debate.

“Congress should act judiciously and promptly to craft and pass an (authorization) narrowly tailored to the war against ISIS,” she said.

Veteran Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, said the executive branch had relied on the 2001 resolution to justify indefinite detentions and drone strikes “far from Afghanistan.”

Leahy said, “We have a responsibility to take action against ISIL terrorists who are responsible for the murders of thousands of innocent men, women, and children, including American citizens. But we must do so in a way that avoids repeating the missteps of the past, and that does not result in an open-ended authorization that becomes legal justification for future actions against unknown enemies, in unknown places, at unknown times.”

Online: The Oklahoman

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House Passes Senate Version of Keystone Approval Bill

2015/02/11

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed S.1, the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act. This Senate-passed legislation would force construction approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and remove the presidential permit requirement. In light of today’s passage in the House, the bill will be sent to the president’s desk for consideration. 

“At the start of the new Congress last month, the House immediately voted again on legislation to address the president’s inaction on Keystone and to release thousands of jobs to the American people,” said Cole. “More than six years since TransCanada’s application was first submitted and with studies showing no significant impact on the environment, it is high time for President Obama to approve construction of the northern route of the pipeline. 

“While the president has stated his intention to veto this bipartisan, bicameral legislation, I hope that he reconsiders and chooses the way of the American people, rather than catering to environmental extremists,” concluded Cole. 

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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NewsOK: Inhofe, Cole respond to Obama's request for force against Islamic State

2015/02/11

NewsOK - Chris Casteel

Sen. Jim Inhofe, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on Wednesday criticized President Barack Obama’s draft resolution requesting congressional authorization to use military force against the Islamic State, also called ISIL and ISIS.

Inhofe, R-Tulsa, said, “My first concern is that the President's AUMF limits the time frame, which telegraphs the wrong message.

“This is a generational fight. We cannot arbitrarily say we will be done in three years. Let's be honest with the American people. Additionally, the phrase 'enduring offensive ground operations' is ambiguous and could leave us in perpetual debate on what the military is authorized to do. I want commanders to get it done.

“All reasonable military options should be on the table. I believe 'use of all necessary and appropriate force' would have been a better message.

“Finally, our country, its people and Congress, need to know what the strategy is with regards to ISIS/ISIL _ what are our goals and objectives, and what is the end state. On Jan. 23, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey said, 'I think in the crafting of the AUMF, all options should be on the table… Constraints on time, or a 'sunset clause,' I just don’t think it's necessary.'

“The President should listen to his military commanders.

"I look forward to debating these concerns in committee and on the floor in the coming weeks and I call upon Congress to make this a priority in the coming days."

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, whose district includes Tinker Air Force Base and Fort Sill, called the president’s request “long overdue.”

Cole, who sits on the Appropriations subcommittee that approves military spending, said, “I continue to support a sustained military effort to destroy these terrorists, but I am concerned that the Administration will try to 'nickel and dime' this critical mission.

“The president must understand that destroying ISIL calls for unwavering, sustained use of overwhelming force. With such a dangerous enemy at hand, we cannot afford to hesitate or fail to consider all the possible military assets.

"Because the president prematurely and unwisely withdrew troops from Iraq, ISIL's mobilization was encouraged rather than thwarted. In order to secure the area once again, the Administration has now had to reintroduce combat units that arguably shouldn't have left in the first place. In the meantime, the enemy has grown stronger and is much more difficult to defeat.

"While I agree with the president's objective to combat ISIL, I have never accepted that he has the authority to act without congressional authorization. I have argued for many months that he should consult Congress before taking action, rather than relying on previous authorizations under a different Administration for different missions, different enemies and clearly different purposes.”

Online: NewsOK

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Cole Statement on President’s AUMF Request

2015/02/11

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the president submitted a request to Congress for authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). 

“Considering that ISIL has already been responsible for killing Americans and attacking a number of our allies, there is no question this terrorist group poses an immediate threat to our homeland,” said Cole. “The president’s request for authorization of military force to combat this dangerous enemy is long overdue. As lawmakers consider his request, I am hopeful that we can provide clear guidance for the mission and fully authorize the executive branch and our military tasked with meeting the objective.

“I continue to support a sustained military effort to destroy these terrorists, but I am concerned that the Administration will try to ‘nickel and dime’ this critical mission. The president must understand that destroying ISIL calls for unwavering, sustained use of overwhelming force. With such a dangerous enemy at hand, we cannot afford to hesitate or fail to consider all the possible military assets. 

“Because the president prematurely and unwisely withdrew troops from Iraq, ISIL’s mobilization was encouraged rather than thwarted. In order to secure the area once again, the Administration has now had to reintroduce combat units that arguably shouldn’t have left in the first place. In the meantime, the enemy has grown stronger and is much more difficult to defeat.

“While I agree with the president’s objective to combat ISIL, I have never accepted that he has the authority to act without congressional authorization. I have argued for many months that he should consult Congress before taking action, rather than relying on previous authorizations under a different Administration for different missions, different enemies and clearly different purposes,” concluded Cole. 

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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President’s Budget Charges America into Financial Ruin

2015/02/09

During a quick glance of the news, it’s impossible to ignore the mounting crises overseas, like the dangerous uprising of terrorists groups in the Middle East and mobilization of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine. While these worldwide crises are currently in the forefront and rightly viewed as urgent threats to our nation’s security, the sometimes overlooked yet increasingly dangerous threat to our nation’s future prosperity and security is living in the form of our exploding national debt. 

Currently exceeding $18 trillion, our nation’s debt and the interest on that debt is beyond alarming, steadily paralyzing American opportunity and diminishing the future for our children and grandchildren. All the while in the midst of economic crisis, the president prefers to dream up more ways to spend money instead of recommending much-needed ways to save it. 

The president’s skewed view of the American economy and apparent ignorance of the nation’s urgent debt situation was further confirmed upon release of his budget for fiscal year 2016 to Congress last week. While every president’s proposal is accepted as a wish list and is not binding, the document reveals a lot about that president’s priorities and where there could be places to negotiate and find common ground with Congress. President Barack Obama’s budget priorities sadly show a leader who is completely out of touch with the problems we are facing as a nation. Instead of saving money, the president’s budget document foolishly proposes more places to spend, putting an even heavier burden on the taxpayer. 

For the fifth straight year and especially in light of the new majority, the president’s budget to Congress is clearly dead upon arrival and does not stand the slightest chance of becoming law. The document is clearly not serious either politically or philosophically. Taking a broad view over the 10-year budget window, the proposal increases spending by $2.4 trillion, requests $2.1 trillion in new taxes and ultimately leads to $8.5 trillion added to our national debt. With all his recommendations, the budget wouldn’t balance in five years, 10 years or ever.

Not only am I deeply concerned by the president’s recommended tax increases and irresponsible spending, but I am even more baffled that he failed to address several urgent items in his proposal. For example, the changes he recommends for the Social Security Disability Fund, which is set to go bankrupt on his watch, serve to pit seniors against the disabled in our country, and just serves to hasten the insolvency of the entire system. He also missed another opportunity to call for entitlement and tax reform or put common sense items like chained CPI on the table for negotiation. 

As a member of the House Budget Committee, I participated in a hearing on the president’s budget a couple days after it was unveiled last week. This hearing gave members the chance to ask questions of Shaun Donovan, who is the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. When I spoke with Director Donovan, I reflected on past bipartisan success in cutting billions from discretionary spending, but I also pointed out that the mandatory or entitlement spending is the real driver of our debt and keeps growing. Without serious reform to entitlement spending, the pace of that growth isn’t going to slow down. 

Getting our debt under control and achieving a balanced budget should undoubtedly be the joint priority of Congress and the Administration. However, instead of listening to the voices of those who elected the new Republican majority, who want lawmakers to rein in our nation’s spending, the president recommended a course that will ultimately charge America into financial ruin and dangerously put our country at the mercy of our creditors – many of whom are foreign countries like China.

Unfortunately, the president is more interested in leaving the difficult decisions for changing our debt trajectory for another leader.

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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

Currently serving in his seventh term, Tom Cole was elected to Congress in 2002. Identified by Time Magazine as “one of the sharpest minds in the House,” Cole is an advocate for a strong national defense, a tireless advocate for taxpayers and small businesses, and a leader on issues dealing with Native Americans and tribal governments. Cole was named as one of the “Five Freshmen to Watch” by Roll Call at the outset of his congressional career.

Since 2009, Cole has served on the powerfulHouse Appropriations Committee, where he is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Education); he is also assigned to the Subcommittees on Defense and Interior.

For the third consecutive Congress, Cole was reappointed to the House Budget Committee in 2015 as one of the three members of the majority party who also sits on the Appropriations Committee. He is currently considered the Senior Appropriator on the panel.

In 2013, Cole was appointed to serve on the House Rules Committee. In addition, Congressman Cole serves as a Deputy Whip for the Republican Conference and is a member of the Republican Steering Committee.

In October 2013, he was appointed by Speaker Boehner and Budget Chairman Paul Ryan to serve as one of four House Republicans on a House-Senate joint budget conference committee that negotiated a bipartisan budget deal for fiscal years 2014 and 2015.

Tom Cole has a significant background of service to his home state of Oklahoma. He has served as the State Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, District Director to 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 19,1995.

Cole is widely regarded as one of the GOP’s top political strategists. He served as Executive Director of the National Republican Congressional Committee in the 1992 cycle. He also served as the Chief of Staff of the Republican National Committee during the historic 2000 cycle in which Republicans won the presidency, the Senate and the House for the first time in 48 years. In the 2008 cycle, Cole served as Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Cole is a founding partner and past president of CHS & Associates, a nationally recognized political consulting and survey research firm based in Oklahoma City. The firm has been named one of the top 20 in its field 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 serves on the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents, as well as the national board of the Fulbright Association. He is also a member of the Congressional Advisory Board to the Aspen Institute.

Tom Cole is a fifth generation Oklahoman and an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation. He is currently one of the only Native Americans serving in Congress. He was awarded the Congressional Leadership award by the National Congress of American Indians in 2007 and 2011 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 the Mayor of Moore in her native state of Oklahoma. Cole’s late father, John, served 20 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

Steve Russell

OKLAHOMA's 5th DISTRICT

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