District 2 Congressman Markwayne Mullin, who took office in January, visited Durant on Friday and heard the concerns of a crowd of around 50 people at Kiamichi Technology Center.
The evening visit was the final one of Mullin’s week-long, 16-stop “listening tour” of district sites throughout eastern Oklahoma.
“We’ve got to work together to get this country back on track, or we’re going to lose it for our kids,” he told the crowd. “We have common ground. We believe in the flag, we believe in the Constitution.”
He said he plans to respect the office, not take it for granted, and he will represent the people of the district regardless of their political leaning.
“It starts with us all listening to somebody else and taking the time to hear their opinion and discuss it, not get upset about it.”
He spent an hour taking questions from those in attendance, and most of those who spoke up were elders. Their questions and comments mainly focused on rampant government spending, specifically on the Superstorm Sandy relief bill and “Obamacare.”
Others were concerned about the progress of the Keystone pipeline, legality of Obamacare mandates and financial accountability for government agencies.
Mullin said his initial focus as a congressman would be to examine and potentially eliminate government waste, specifically in the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy.
“But it’s unrealistic for you to think that I’m going to (Washington) and I’m going to solve all our problems,” he said. “We can do more things if we just don’t accept failure. We’ve been very, very passive. If we get involved, we can take a lot of that back. I’m looking at making government smaller.”
He urged citizens to “get involved” with the process of government accountability, “past asking questions and talking to friends.”
Mullin, a Republican from Westville in Adair County, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November of 2012, replacing Dan Boren. He is a member of the Cherokee Nation and one of two Native Americans serving in the House. (The other is Tom Cole, a Chickasaw Republican.)