Q&A: Mullin, Lanier face off for congressional seat

Republican Congressman Markwayne Mullin is facing democratic challenger Danyell Lanier in the race for the United States Representative seat for Oklahoma's second congressional district.

Both candidates were given identical questions. The following is a transcript of their answers.

Markwayne Mullin

1. In your words, what is the job of a U.S Congress member?

I am sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution and to represent and serve the constituents of my district. It is important to represent the values of the people, while also following the moral principles upon which I have based my life, candidacy and work as a member of Congress. These values include life, liberty and the rule of law.

2. In what ways are you connecting with the voters of Oklahoma to understand the issues that matter to them?

I hear from voters every single day about their struggles and the issues that are important to them. Oklahomans are concerned about rebuilding the economy, protecting our freedoms like the Second Amendment, and ensuring the looting and violence that threaten the safety of families around the country doesn’t take hold here.

3. Which issues are at the forefront in Oklahoma?

Both on the campaign trail and in my office, we get hundreds of phone calls each month from seniors, families, law enforcement, local officials and others seeking our help. I am laser-focused on hearing from them. In addition, I hold town halls and teletown halls, and regularly take tours of schools, small businesses, veteran centers and more, and am active on social media. I’m particularly proud of the many casework successes my office has had helping people during COVID-19.

4. In this unique time, what do you think is the most pressing need in Oklahoma and what are your thoughts on addressing that need?

The most pressing need in Oklahoma is getting our economy back to where President Trump had it prior to COVID-19. We enjoyed soaring economic growth and jobs, the unemployment rate had fallen to its lowest point in 50 years, and manufacturing was rebounding in our country. If we did it once, we can do it again. Doing so requires unleashing the American spirit by enacting policies that encourage personal and economic liberty and freedom. We must stop the lockdowns! I believe in the free-market, and that the economy will come back if we encourage businesses to reopen and support them with favorable tax and regulation environments.

4. What action/policy do you feel should be top priority for this position?

The solution to rebuilding our economy lies in advancing free-market policies that create the right conditions for job creation and growth.

5. In just a few sentences, what do you most want voters to know about you?

My wife and I are the proud parents of six children, and we’re concerned about their futures. We run a small business. I have elderly parents. I’m in Washington, D.C., fighting for Oklahoma values because I know firsthand how important it is to you and your family.

Danyell Lanier

1. In your words, what is the job of a U.S. congress member? 

The job of a U.S congress member is to make national laws that influence our daily lives, ensure our military, and federal programs are properly funded and promote the general welfare of the people. A congress member is to be voice for the people, voting on house bills that are in the best interests of their constituents, providing non legislative constituent services such as (Washington D.C tours, assistance with federal agencies, military academy nominations) lastly maintaining a system of checks and balances within the three branches of government

    2. In what ways are you connecting with the voters of Oklahoma to understand the issues that matter to them?

Covid-19  changed the traditional methods of connecting with voters-so we got creative with zoom town halls (I host happy hour chats,virtual post card writing parties) , Facebook ads, contactless literature drops/campaign signs delivery. Lately, we have been doing outdoor meet-and-greet events where we can social distance. We have connected with 11,000 voters in the last two weeks via text message. and I send out an email newsletter. I try to attend in-person events when I can, last week I was at the Veteran's Park clean up in Mcalester and later went to the Back the Blue Bash in Wilburton.  

  3.Which issues are at the forefront in Oklahoma?

Healthcare, broadband internet expansion, water quality, regulations our farmers and ranchers are facing, revenue loss  due to covid-19 many small businesses could not get the CARES ACT money to help them when they needed it most, and what is happening with the post office veterans have reached out to me saying they aren't getting their medications by mail on time, and some Oklahomans have said their pensions checks(not everyone has direct deposit) are late, and bill payments are late getting to bill collectors and they are incurring fees as a result.

3. In this unique time, what do you think is the most pressing need in Oklahoma and what are your thoughts on addressing that need? 

Healthcare. Covid 19 exposed an already vulnerable issue we had with the rural hospitals closing, and lack of healthcare resources this made it worse especially in the rural areas. Oklahoma already took a bold step with expanding Medicaid/Soonercare now we need to make sure we have the 90% of federal dollars needed to power it. Oklahoma has already been coming up with the 10% it has just been going to other states for their Medicaid programs.

4. What action/policy do you feel should be top priority for this position?

Honestly there’s a lot to be done, so I will start with listening to what Oklahomans want which is what I am already doing, talking to people about the bills coming up for a vote in Congress (I recently held a townhall on HR 3884 MORES ACT removing cannabis from the controlled substance act). I will be a congress member that will show up to vote on bills that are important to Oklahomans and our country.

5. In just a few sentences, what do you most want voters to know about you?

I am not a politician. I am Veteran, Cherokee citizen, wife and mother that will use a common sense approach to work across the aisle to get things done for Oklahomans. Its time to put people before party and I am the right person at the right time for the job.

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