WOODWARD — U.S. Sen. James Inhofe was in Woodward on Wednesday for a short visit and discussed a variety of topics.
He said he enjoys it when people from Northwest Oklahoma visit him in Washington because it’s one of the rare groups of real people who come.
“This is God’s country,” Inhofe said. “Long before anyone around this table was born. I was a claims adjuster, and this is my territory. I had everything in Western Oklahoma. And people fought for this territory, honestly, because nobody wanted something you weren't entitled to. It's just a different bunch of people the find anyplace else.”
Inhofe remembers flying over the Woodward area after the devastating wildfires last year and visiting with people. It had a lasting effect on him.
“I was out here quite often. I was flying around,” Inhofe said. “You don't get a flavor for the problem until you are fighting low over an area where the fire just swept through, and you have cattle on the fence row burned alive.”
At the time, a list was made of things that needed to be done, should something like that ever happen again.
“I'm proud to say is that it's all done. It’s all in law now. And these are the things I personally introduced,” Inhofe said.
One provision of the Wildlife Regulatory Relief Act was to make CRP land available for grazing. Inhofe said it required a change in statutes to make that happen. Another was freeing banks from some regulations.
“Allowing banks to be freed from some of the regulations that they had to take care of the people that were caught in these tragedies,” Inhofe said. “It seems that we have more than our share.”
Inhofe talked about a variety of subjects during his Woodward visit.
He said he remembered talking to area people when 17 Republicans were running for president in 2016, and the one he thought least likely to win the nomination was Donald Trump.
“This is a different Washington than we've had before,” Inhofe said. “I understand that he's not a lovable guy. I have to admit, I cringe a little bit when I hear a tweet coming on.”
Inhofe did say the infamous Trump tweets have accomplished a purpose nobody had thought could happen — they've taken some power away from the national media.
Dropping regulations has been something unique during this administration, and Inhofe said he is proud to be a part of that process.
“The 15 years that I was chairman of the Environment, Public Works Committee, that's where we hit all the regulations coming mostly from the Environmental Protection Agency,” Inhofe said.
Changes in the top people in the EPA and some of the deregulations have made it a different agency now, Inhofe said.
Support for the military dropped 25 percent from 2010 to 2015, during the Obama administration, with more than $200 billion in cuts, Inhofe said. That has changed with increases in defense spending under Trump.
After the meeting, Inhofe said deployed soldiers express relief over the changes happening on their behalf.
Inhofe concluded by saying he’s always been fond of rural areas. He said Oklahoma's military installations have benefitted during each base closure round. He attributed that to community support.
“It’s called community support. You assume everybody does that, but they don’t. But that we do, in Oklahoma,” Inhofe said. “That's the most joyous part of what I do.”