ENID — The Republican Party’s takeover of the U.S. House means big things for Rep. Frank Lucas.
The Cheyenne farmer, who represents Oklahoma’s 3rd Congressional District, will become chairman of the House Agriculture Committee when Republicans officially take control of the chamber in January. No Oklahoman has ever been chairman of the panel.
Lucas has been the ranking Republican on the committee, so he knows the job the chairman does.
In fact, he’s been a member of the committee since he was elected to the House in 1994.
As a farmer and rancher himself, Lucas also knows the needs of the men and women who produce the food we as a nation consume.
We feel the Ag Committee needs someone with a good, solid knowledge of agriculture and a sense of values shared by farmers and ranchers across the country. In those respects, Lucas certainly fits the bill.
One of the most important jobs Lucas will face is writing a new farm bill in 2012.
Next year, Lucas said, he will lay the groundwork for that effort.
This will be an extremely important time for this legislation. Lawmakers are facing a massive federal budget deficit and Republicans have pledged to make efforts to trim it.
One of the things that has been mentioned is trimming farm subsidies, a traditional safety net for the nation’s farmers.
Lucas, himself a fiscal conservative who does not like budget deficits, will have his work cut out convincing other lawmakers of the importance of helping farmers.