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New Rep. Steve Russell defends Boehner vote on Facebook

Freshman Rep. Steve Russell, an Oklahoma City Republican sworn into office on Tuesday. took to Facebook Tuesday night to defend his vote for House Speaker John Boehner.

Russell was heavily criticized on his Facebook page from some who wanted him to vote against another term for Boehner, the Ohio Republican who has led the House for the last four years.

One woman wrote: “What a disappointment!!! My husband and I are sorry we put your sign in our yard!! You will not get our vote again!! As a Christian we thought you would stand against evil but with the first vote you have proven to be weak and one who is going to continue to cave to political pressure. We will continue to pray for you and hope you will have a change of heart and stand strong for the people who elected you!!!”

Of the five (all Republican) House members from Oklahoma, only Rep. Jim Bridenstine, of Tulsa, voted for another candidate for speaker. He voted for Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert. In all, 25 Republicans opposed Boehner, but the speaker was easily reelected.

Bridenstine is closely aligned with Oklahoma tea party groups. He and those groups backed Russell in his race to replace Rep. James Lankford in the House.

Russell posted this on his page late last night:

“What has been surprising in the last two days are the attacks (many uncivil) some are fomenting without even having an understanding of my vote. Some reached out not understanding my actions and I appreciated that and the prayers.

“Like Daniel, God controls my heart. Imagine if Daniel had told Nebuchadnezzar what a godless evil tyrant he was who was unfit to lead? What influence then? Instead, the Jews were able to preserve their culture, language and faith and ultimately returned home. All because Daniel listened instead of following some emotion or passion.

“Psalm 1 cautions us to not seek the counsel of the ungodly but it also tells us to be planted in such a way to bear fruit in due season. Romans 13 reinforces the same point.

“I am sorry some feel disappointed but I am very much at peace. There was no leader, no plan and a terrible outcome. If you are going to spring an ambush, you better have superior firepower, violent action and surprise. They had nothing. No one even knew who the supposed leader was to be. Instead of pushing 300 or more pieces of legislation to the president we would have seen upheaval and no vision. Without a vision the people perish.

“Instead, we have already taken the first vote to dismantle Obamacare with the Hire Heroes Act which exempts the mandate on vet hires. It is now on its way to the senate. There is so much more we are organizing and doing but instead all that is being fomented is division and confusion. We must be mindful who the author of that is.

“Again, thanks for the prayers for those who still care to pray for me. I am not worried about the pressure. I have been under far worse than anything going on here.”

Chris Casteel

Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. Casteel covered the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City. From 1990 through 2016, he was the... Read more ›