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Oklahoma Republicans cheer Trump speech, while Horn says work remains

Oklahoma Republicans in Congress cheered President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, while the delegation’s lone Democrat urged bipartisanship after a divisive speech.

Oklahoma members also paid tribute to Stillwater mother, Kelli Hake, and son, Gage, who were among the president’s guests at the speech. Kelli’s husband, Christopher, was in the Army when he was killed in Iraq in 2008.

“The president introduced them because Christopher Hake several years ago was in Iraq in his second tour of duty (and) he was killed in an improvised explosive device there,” said Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford.

“The president read a letter that Christopher had written to his son when he was one year old. Now his son is 13, and he read the letter that the dad was writing to his son at that time. It was exceptionally moving, to say the least.”

Some Republicans in the House chamber chanted “four more years” during the speech, which some Democrats likened to a political rally. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tore her paper copy of the speech in half after the president concluded.

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, said the president’s appearance showcased him “at the top of his game, and he rightly reminded the American people of the tremendous results delivered during his tenure.”

Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, said the address “was classic Donald Trump — focused straight into the issues that matter to the American folks back home, addressing the things that he has accomplished and where he hopes to go.”

Reps. Kevin Hern, R-Tulsa, and Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville, also praised the speech.

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, a Republican, said Trump “presented an optimistic vision of America’s future tonight, and from his track record, I know he will continue to deliver results.”

Inhofe said he was glad the president talked about health care.

Said Trump: “Working together, I am confident we can advance legislation that will work towards lowering the cost of prescription drugs— specifically insulin— and addressing a number of issues families face on a daily basis: rural health care closures, surprise medical billing, transparency, accountability and flexibility to choose the plan and the doctor that is right for them.”

Rep. Kendra Horn, D-Oklahoma City, said there have been bipartisan successes in the past year, including the trade agreement with Canada and Mexico and legislation to give military families more leverage with the landlords of base housing.

“But I still hear from too many Oklahomans who are struggling to make ends meet — to pay for prescription drugs, student loans, or childcare," said Horn.

"We still have work to do to address the challenges facing our state and nation. The solutions to these issues are not found in partisan rhetoric, but in showing up and staying at the table … The time for talk is over. With over 250 bipartisan bills held up in the Senate, now is the time for bipartisan action.”

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 ›

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