Speaking to a packed crowd at City Hall Wednesday, Third District Republican Congressman Frank Lucas moved quickly to defuse the audience.
Confidently, he strolled through the crowded entrance to the podium, gave his greetings and proceeded for almost 30 minutes to explain why he had voted "no" on several pieces of legislation promoted by the White House.
Lucas told the mostly senior citizen crowd that he had voted "no" on the $750 billion bank bailout (applause). Lucas reminded the audience that the taxpayers have been stockholders to the tune of $250 billion in some of the biggest institutions, and as much as $185 billion in the biggest insurance company, AIG.
Moving to the new administration and new congress taking office in January, Lucas said, "President Obama comes in, the property bubble busts and the economy was set on recession. The president says ‘Congress, let’s rev up the economy with the Federal Government sending enough money to rev it up.’"
"The ideas was the presidents, but the actual language was put together by the leadership in Congress. They wound up sending $270 billion of your money. Some of that money was set aside for ‘shovel ready’ construction projects at the state and county level. I have faith in state government in Oklahoma . I think the resources have been handled wisely and well here, but we’ll all be surprised at how some of the money was spent."
Lucas emphatically emphasized his opposition to the so-called "Cap and Trade Bill," which he said is dramatically involving the Federal Government in making winners and losers. He said, "The bill raises the taxes on energy. The bill’s goal is to reduce emissions by 17 percent by 2020, by 83 percent by the year 2050."
Lucas said that the national health care issue is a "work in motion" and is the single highest political priority of the year for President Obama. The president’s goal, according to Lucas, is covering the 47 million people who are not covered by health care.
"The question is how do you pay for it?" Lucas asked.
The restless, but not riotous crowd, listened intently and applauded at several intervals.
From the audience, John Carpenter said, "We came through the depression, Roosevelt’s, CCC and WPA, and Social Security. This enhancement of health care is the final blow to the camel. It will break its back. Let’s get back to the constitution."
The audience reacted with loud applause.
Lucas had commented that national health care would run up the deficit significantly. Suggestions for paying for it by the Democratic leadership, according to Lucas, are a tax on soda, a tax on private insurance premiums and perhaps a surcharge on higher income producers.
General reaction from the questions and crowd indicated the majority did not want more government or the Federal Government to be the sole health provider.
Bob Henderson, Kay County Democratic chairman, noted Lucas had voted "no" on the bailout, "no" on the stimulus and "no" on Cap and Trade.
He said "now here comes this health bill reform and everybody knows it is a crisis. The average family spends $11,000 a year on health care. That is as big as your mortgage and you are going to vote against that. Congressman what are you for … just kicking these problems down the road?"
Lucas said, "The short answer is the approach of Cap and Trade is a dramatic realignment of this country’s economy written by the federal government to decide winners and losers. I cannot be a part of that bill."
Lucas answered the health care issue with a question, "On the health care issue, we have many challenges in this country economically and business wise — but a $1.6 trillion bill having Medicare be the model for health care for everybody in the country?"
Lucas was re-elected to an eighth term carrying Kay County by a large margin.
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