It’s quite an honor in Congress to represent the home county of the great Will Rogers.
His words, “I’m just an old country boy in a big town trying to get along,” resonate with me because I am just a country boy raised on a farm in rural Adair County.
Today I have the honor of walking the halls of the U.S. Capitol, adding my small footsteps to those of great men and women who came before me.
Will Rogers’ legacy to the world is a philosopher, aviator, actor and comedian, among other things. For Oklahomans, there is a deeper legacy - one that we still see today.
The generosity of our communities: The tragic storms in Moore and elsewhere showed the nation and the world the generous nature of Oklahomans.
Without a second thought, neighbor will help a neighbor or a stranger in a time of need. We have seen it time after time through tornadoes, ice storms, floods and even earthquakes. Will Rogers was known for his generosity and charity.
I think he would be quite proud of what has come to be known as the “Oklahoma Standard.”
Rolling up our sleeves: Will Rogers said, “America is a land of opportunity and don’t ever forget it.” Oklahoma is a land of opportunity. When we see a problem we roll up our sleeves and find solutions.
Our state is part of the global economy and leading the way in certain types of manufacturing and energy production. Our port system helps move goods throughout the country and the world. We are innovators.
Never knowing a stranger: During his lifetime, Will Rogers was known as an approachable, down-to-earth man. He was an ambassador of what still today makes Oklahoma a great place to live, work and raise a family. We are a friendly state.
People in Oklahoma make eye contact and greet each other on the street.
We give a friendly wave to whoever drives by on the county road. There is just something special about our cities and towns that you don’t find anywhere else. It’s as if we “never met a man we didn’t like.”
Demanding accountability: Will Rogers said, “Party politics is the most narrow minded occupation in the world.” I know many 2nd District residents feel the same way.
They are tired of the finger-pointing and dysfunction that is not moving this country forward. People are ready to see America move forward with goals and actions centered on country first, not Party first.
A statue of Will Rogers is located in the U.S. Capitol Building, facing Congress so he can keep an eye on us. People from all walks of life, including presidents, have rubbed Will Rogers’ shoes as they walk by to bring them luck.
Every time I walk by the statue of Will Rogers in the Capitol, I am reminded of the influence William Penn Adair Rogers continues to have on us as Oklahomans.
We are all fortunate that the Will Rogers Memorial Museum continues to be a resource and a reminder of his contributions to society.
And I am reminded, day in and day out, that we can all use a little more Will Rogers.
Markwayne Mullin is a U. S. respresentative for Oklahoma’s 2nd District.