EDMOND, Okla. — Most of the elected members to the House of Representatives during the last election cycle are sensible political moderates rather than being extreme liberals as often characterized, Congresswoman Kendra Horn said Wednesday.
“We’re only hearing about four different people, and they’re sucking up all the air,” Horn said before the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce membership luncheon.
A case in point is her vote against raising the federal minimum wage to a $15 hourly wage, she said. In July the Democrat-controlled House passed the legislation by 231-199, but it was balked at in the Senate.
“I voted against it, not because I don’t think we need to continue lifting up wages and work to support our communities,” Horn said.
She said the legislation did not take into account the differences of doing business in Oklahoma and California or New York, adding that the cost of doing business is different in Shawnee or San Francisco than in New York City. Far too often members of Congress push legislation with too broad an idealogical brush that does not represent nuances across America, she said.
“I co-sponsored another piece of legislation that is a regionalized minimum wage bill that I talked to the business industry about that is more nuanced,” Horn said. “That looks at the cost of doing business here in Oklahoma City.”
Realistic policies to lift people up the economic ladder to enrich communities reflect business growth needs, she said.
“For me supporting capitalism is incredibly important,” Horn said.
Horn wants to support jobs by bringing small, medium, and large businesses to the table, she said.
“We need to have the labor community at the table. We need to have our economic development professionals at the table. We need to have everyone at the table,” Horn explained.
Having different voices at the table allows people to recognize their own idealogical blind spots and shortcomings, she said.
“It’s important for our young people to see that as well,” Horn said about encouraging diverse voices to be proactive in decision making processes.
Citizens Bank President and CEO Jill Castilla said Horn is serving Edmond and the state’s strategic interests in Congress through her membership on the armed services and science, space and technology committees.
“Congresswoman Horn was so engaged in learning about small businesses, the industries around our great state,” Castilla said in her introduction of Horn, “and even since before she went into public service, she was a frequent visitor to Heard on Hurd. She would stop by the bank to talk about the economy in Edmond, what challenges we’re facing, what we’re seeing in the small businesses around the state.”
Horn was asked how to solve the illegal migration of people crossing, or attempting to cross the southern border of the United States. For many years the system of U.S. immigration has been broken, Horn said.
“We have to be sensible about this. We haven’t had enough judges — we haven’t had enough resources. It takes people 10-plus years and thousands of dollars to navigate the process legally,” Horn said.
People must be treated with dignity and respect regardless of border crossings, Horn continued.
“We need to have comprehensive immigration reform,” she noted. “I was proud to vote for the Dreamers Act that came through the House, because I’m proud to say I’ve had the privilege of working with so many young people who are excelling in so many ways.
“This is the only home they’ve ever known. They are leading in their schools. They’re starting businesses — they’re teaching and doing all these things. And as a country and as a nation — we are the beacon of light.”
A smart approach involves working with the business community in a way that acknowledges technology, she added. Pathways must be created for dreamers who see America as their future, Horn said.
Coburn writes for Edmond Sun, a CNHI News Service publication.