This information is primarily for my fellow Oklahomans voting in the First District. This is a profile of Republican Jim Bridenstine running against Democrat John Olson. It’s a good read.
Bridenstine Ready for Congressional Campaign
By DAVID JONES, Editor at Large
August 31, 2012
GOP SUPPORT: 1st Congressional District candidate Jim Bridenstine, left, enjoyed a recent fundraising breakfast visit from U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. The event, held at the Hilton Tulsa Southern Hills Hotel, asked supporters for donations between $250 and $2,500 for the Bridenstine campaign. Democrat John Olson, the owner of a small business, and Independent Craig Allen, an airline pilot, will also be on the 1st District ballot in November.
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a two-part series profiling the Republican and Democratic candidates for the U.S. Congressional District 1 seat in Oklahoma. The October issues of GTR Newspapers will profile Democratic candidate John Olson.
Jim Bridenstine knows what it is to be an underdog. When he took on incumbent John Sullivan in the race for the Oklahoma District 1 seat in the U.S. Congress, many people considered him the longest of longshots; relative unknowns rarely are successful against men who have been re-elected for a decade. But Bridenstine put on an aggressive campaign and, when the votes were counted, he had won.
He was not as surprised as some observers. “When we were polling during those last few weeks, we knew we were close with a large amount of undecided voters. Our job was to bring them to our side in sufficient numbers, and we did,” he says.
Now he is the presumed favorite in a heavily-Republican district in a heavily-Republican state against a relatively unknown Democratic opponent John Olson. Bridenstine vows he isn’t taking Olson lightly. He isn’t a congressman yet.
Assuming he does get elected what are the problems he would attack first? “The very first thing we have to do is get the budget under control,” says Bridenstine. “It doesn’t have to happen overnight, but I think it can be done in about five years. I think we need a constitutional amendment demanding a balanced budget with some kind of provision where a super majority will allow emergency spending.
“Second, Obamacare has to be repealed entirely. There are some things in it, such as covering previous medical conditions, that many will want to keep but I think those items ought to be argued and voted on separately.
“Last, Medicaid should be allocated on block grants to the states and handled by people who know the territory. Each state has its own set of problems; they shouldn’t be ruled on by a distant Federal bureaucracy.”
The tendency of the federal government to force states to kowtow on a wide number of issues bothers Bridenstine. He is a great believer that the Constitution gives Washington certain powers and leaves the rest to the states; he fears Washington is encroaching on things that should be rightfully left to the states. “Government governs best that governs most locally.” The legality of same-sex marriages, for example, is something that should be left to the states. “My personal belief is that a marriage is between a man and a woman. That is the way it has been throughout history and that is the way it should still continue. I understand that there are same-sex couples who want to ensure their partners will be able to inherit each other’s property and have the same benefits as spouses and all this can be handled through contract law.”
He also is particularly disturbed by President Obama’s decisions not to enforce certain illegal immigration laws. “The President’s role is to enforce all the laws of the United States, not to pick and choose which laws he prefers. If the laws need to be changed that’s the job of the President and Congress working together.”
If elected, Bridenstine says he hopes to get a seat on the House Armed Services Committee. A pilot in the U.S. Naval Reserve, he has not only seen action in the Middle East but has flown numerous drug interdiction sorties in South and Central America. He knows the role America’s military has been forced to play in keeping world peace. “Currently our military is getting gutted,” he says. “We have had two cuts of $450 billion each over ten years and are facing cutting about 100,000 people from the military, mostly from the Army. I’m not just concerned this is unfair to military personnel, I’m afraid this is going to cut into the basic ability of our country to defend itself.”
A recent development that has excited Bridenstine is the selection by Mitt Romney of Paul Ryan as his vice presidential candidate.
“Paul Ryan is an excellent choice for vice president. He is a proven leader within the Republican Party. His selection will strengthen and energize the conservative base supporting Mitt Romney. As chair of the House Budget Committee, Ryan has demonstrated outstanding leadership and an in-depth understanding of federal spending and revenues.
“He fully understands the perilous nature of our nation’s economic crisis and has proposed bold solutions to return our country to a position of fiscal responsibility and economic strength.”