By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
U.S. Rep. James Lankford was the keynote speaker Thursday evening during the Garfield County Republican Women’s Club candidate rally.
The congressman from Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District told a packed Montgomery Hall in Northern Oklahoma College’s Gantz Center they were at a crossroads as conservatives.
Lankford was elected to Congress in 2010. Before his election, he served as director of Falls Creek Youth Camp from 1996 to 2009.
He serves on the Budget, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Oversight and Government Reform committees, and is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform.
Lankford said he was visiting with several other Republicans in Washington, D.C., when he posed a question.
“I raised the question who owns the definition of a conservative,” he said. “Who has the right to determine what it means?”
He said conservatives are losing their core values and those who are loudest are defining what it means to be a conservative.
“I am legitimately concerned as a passionate conservative that we are shifting our definition of a conservative as who is loudest,” Lankford said. “Conservatism is not a tone of voice. Conservatism is not a volume. Conservatism is not a set of ideas.”
Instead, the congressman said conservatives were those who focused on values of limited government, fiscal responsibility, national defense and the strengthening of families, not government.
Lankford said the nation’s first political discourse made today’s politics look “tame” in comparison. He said the pressure felt by the first men to run the county is felt by modern candidates, as well.
“Every one of these individuals running for office has a sense of responsibility,” he said. “As we get frustrated with each other in elections, will you remember to bless them? And when they get elected, support them. Because it gets harder.”
Lankford had three key pieces of advice for those at Thursday’s rally. Stay focused on key conservative values, don’t lose hope things can bet better in Washington and focus on families because they will lead the country out of trouble.
“As you have stronger families you need less government,” he said. “If we don’t turn our families around, we can’t turn the budget around.”
Lankford said it would take 10 years for the United States to return to a balanced budget.
“This is going to take a decade to work our way out of this, but it can be done,” he assured the audience. “We’re going to have to turn this around a piece at a time.”
Lankford also told those at the rally, Garfield County was well known across Oklahoma.
“This group in Enid is well-known across the state as rock-solid conservatives.”