Local citizens attended Rep. Markwayne Mullin’s townhall meeting armed with hard hitting questions.
Tuesday morning, 60 plus people gathered in the Graham Community Building, Sheriff Mike Reed, Mayor Jimmy Tramel, and Police Chief Dennis Nichols attended.
Mullin was introduced as a “reproduction of the energizer bunny,” full of perseverance and energy.
“It’s been an experience in D.C,” said Mullin. “The oddest question people keep asking me is, ‘are you having fun?’ I always wonder if they are watching the same news I am. It is, however, a huge honor.”
Mullin described walking the marble halls of the Capitol. He said the steps are worn by the footsteps of the congressmen who walked there before him. As he walks these same steps, in his boots, he wonders what the founding fathers would think of the way the country is being run.
“I wake up early every day and just start walking. I walk around the capitol and see the writing on the wall of previous generations,” said Mullin. “I wonder what our generation will write on the wall. I wonder what legacy we’ll leave. I’m not in Congress just to point fingers, I want to do something.”
Mullin discussed how the Congress loses touch with reality while they are in D.C.
“The people around you are searching for what you think. They tell you what you want to hear. They treat you like you’re special, and you lose touch with reality and start thinking you are someone special,” said Mullin. “I don’t want to lose touch with reality. I count on everyone in this room to hold me accountable.”
The latter part of his statement was met with agreement and applause.
Mullin spoke about the committees he serves on, and how he got appointed to them. He is on five committees total, two are major committees. He said he is the only freshman member of congress to be appointed to two major committees.
Mullin then opened the floor to questions.
The first question was about social security, and if it is possible to remove it from the general fund and allocate a specific fund for its administration.
“The president doesn’t want to touch social security,” said Mullin. “He says it’s solvent until 2016. I’m not sure what kind of math he’s doing there, but I don’t think it’s solvent.
“The approach they are taking now is trying to make it stand alone. They are using it for a lot of projects with the new budget and they are raising the eligibility age.”
He says he is not on that specific committee, but the lawmakers are well-informed.
A mother, along with her two daughters, asked about national defense and border control.
The gist of Mullin’s answer was that, “we are guarding other people’s borders but not our own.”
Another member of the audience asked what Mullin is hearing in Washington about immigration reform.
“I’m not for amnesty in any form. I don’t mean to be cold-hearted, but a blanket amnesty is not the answer,” said Mullin.
He anticipates we will see a worker sponsorship program in the future.
In response to a question about Benghazi, Mullin talked about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“Hillary is doing a great job deflecting. This administration is putting her out there. People are asking if, when, and how the president can be impeached over this,” said Mullin. “Hillary is taking the pressure now, but I think once it becomes too much for her to handle, she’ll flip on the president and take him down with her. I can’t wait to see that.
“Two or three days ago I heard that we’re selling tanks and M16s to Egypt. Is that true?,” a local man asked.
“I haven’t heard anything about tanks, but we are selling M16s to Egypt. We are doing so because of a previous agreement, but I don’t agree with it,” said Mullin. “Basically, we sold it to the Muslim Brotherhood. They paid for it with money we gave them, so essentially we gave away something we are going to be shooting down from the sky some day.”
A local woman spoke up saying, “What worries me most is wasteful spending.” She spoke of horses that she sees when she is driving in to Tulsa. “These are horses we are paying to feed and they aren’t even worth shooting.”
After explaining that he loves and owns horses he said he agreed.
“These are wild horses and we are essentially paying the sale barn to drop them off. It does show how much waste is going on in D.C. These horses cost roughly $50 a head per month to maintain. Congress always talks about cutting waste but they never turn their attention to things like this,” said Mullin.
He spoke about a balanced budget saying that the country needs to cut 33 percent of the government to achieve that balance. He also mentioned it would take 10 years to wean everyone from government dependency.
He admitted that he does not foresee a balanced budget in 10 years.
“There is nothing currently in place that will hold the next Congress accountable to a budget we set now.”
Tramel asked about EPA regulations in regard to coal, oil and gas.
“If I was an investor in the coal industry. I’d be nervous as all get out. They are trying to shut down coal lines,” Mullin said.
A gunsmith from Chouteau asked what attitudes the House of Representatives have about the new gun bill.
“It’s not going to the house because there is not enough democrats there to support it. It will go straight to the Senate. If it became an executive order the federal government would fund it, if not the states would be allocated money. I would be shocked if something didn’t come out of it though,” Mullin said.
A question from a woman in the back of the room prompted a discussion that lasted the remainder of the meeting.
She asked, “What is the best way for our voices to be heard? The media deflects the truth. We can’t all pack up and go to D.C, so how can we make our opinions known?”
“Do you know what they consider a big opposition? When 1 percent of their constituents speak out in opposition. One percent,” said Mullin. “Call, leave messages, write letters and encourage everyone to do the same. Imagine if 10 percent of our churches spoke up, we would squash the opposition.
“No on can convince me my voice doesn’t mean anything. I’d rather try, than complain. Nobody knew me before I got involved, I was a plumber giving advice on TV,” Mullin said.
He encouraged people to find their talent and passion and use it to get involved. He said to get a group and work together to make a difference.
“Remember that nothing moves fast and changes won’t be immediate. Also remember to pick your fights, but don’t pick all the fights,” Mullin said.