The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

November 23, 2012

James Inhofe moves to spot on influential Senate Armed Services Committee

ENID, Okla. — When the new session of Congress begins Jan. 2, U.S. Sen. James Inhofe will have a new position.

Inhofe, R-Okla., is giving up his spot as ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, which deals with national infrastructure, to become ranking member of the Armed Services Committee.

The Armed Services Committee helps establish policy and spending priorities for the Department of Defense. It also holds hearings for those nominated by the president to top civilian and uniformed positions at Defense Department.

In the Democrat-controlled Senate, being ranking member means Inhofe is the senior Republican on the committee. Having Inhofe in that position is incredibly meaningful for Oklahoma.

As we all are aware, the Sooner State has not had a base closed in any of the Base Realignment and Closure rounds. We like to think that is because our bases are essential to the defense effort.

We also are aware Oklahoma is one of the reddest of the red states — meaning it typically votes Republican in presidential races. In fact, in the past two presidential races, President Barack Obama has not won the vote in a single Oklahoma county. Yes, we are among the reddest of the red.

That puts greater importance on Inhofe’s new position. We would hope politics would be kept out of something as important as our country’s defense, but we also are realistic enough to know that is not possible. Politics always are involved.

Having a strong voice for Oklahoma’s military bases on the Senate Armed Forces Committee means we can rest easier. Inhofe will fight to keep — and expand — our bases.

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