By DAVID JONES
Editor at Large
Editor’s Note: This article is the first of two profiling the Republican candidates for the U.S. Congressional seat in Oklahoma’s District 1, which covers Tulsa County and the surrounding area. Next month, incumbent John Sullivan will be profiled.
Jim Bridenstine has always aspired to leadership, and now he wants to be elected to the United States Congress.
Bridenstine, a conservative Republican, is vying for the seat now held by Republican John Sullivan. Few observers, if any, would think of Sullivan as a liberal, so the obvious question is why would a relatively unknown conservative try to unseat a sitting and well-known conservative Republican?
“I would disagree,” says Bridenstine, “that Sullivan is appropriately conservative. He has voted 11 times to raise the debt ceiling and has supported bailouts, earmarks and tax code manipulation. These are not conservative Republican positions and this is why I am running.”
Normally unless something (a scandal, unpopular votes, etc.) has placed an incumbent in an extraordinarily weakened position, the strengths of incumbency are usually considered an insurmountable barrier to a challenger.
Also, Sullivan has a considerable war chest to fund a re-election campaign. How does Bridenstine hope to compete? “We have already raised more than $140,000 with most of that coming in the last two months. We’re building a financial base. The revenue is coming in faster. We are doing fund raisers, meet and greets, whatever it takes to meet the challenge.” He says he is seeking as many television and radio appearances as he can in order to make himself known to the public. He says he would love to have debates with Sullivan in front of live audiences; although to date, none have been scheduled. Whether that can be arranged remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Bridenstine lists some of his primary positions.
When it comes to state’s rights, Bridenstine says we are already guaranteed them in the Constitution, but that they are being chipped away. “Following the Constitution is not optional; amending the Constitution is. When the legislative branch delegates its law-making functions to the regulatory bodies of the executive branch, the rule of law is replaced by the rule of man. Congress must stop this practice and restore the Constitution’s separation of powers and the rule of law.” He would like to see Congress cut down in power and size with term limits and spend less time in session and more time home with the folks. He would like to see a balanced budget amendment that could only be overridden by a super majority in times of crisis and the president given a line-item veto.
He is pro-life and believes that life begins at conception.
“To quickly reduce our dependence on foreign oil, Congress should lift restrictions on clean drilling in our own territory. Cap and trade legislation will tax fossil fuels, raise energy prices and force consumers into alternative fuels prematurely. Controlling markets in this fashion is not an appropriate role of government and cripples the economy. While the environment should be protected and global warming studied, global warming should not drive national energy policy without clearer evidence.” He also urges overhauling of the tax code, fiscal constraint, and tort reform.
He finds much to dislike about Obamacare. “Forcing citizens to buy government-mandated insurance is unconstitutional. Some companies are given waivers and others are not depending on their political clout. “The Congress Budget Office’s budget projections stop at 10 years even though the costs increase dramatically after 10 years. The uncertainties surrounding the costs of Obamacare, he says, are keeping businesses from investing capital or hiring. I would vote to repeal and replace Obamacare with a more competitive and cost reducing system.”
Bridenstine believes that healthcare reform should handle the following issues:
• Allow families and businesses to buy insurance across state lines.
• End frivolous lawsuits that result in defensive medicine and exorbitant malpractice insurance premiums.
• Enhance health savings accounts.
• Eliminate exemptions for pre-existing conditions.
• Allow dependents to remain on their parents’ policies through age 26.”
Bridenstine, a Jenks High School graduate, received a triple major at Rice University (economics, psychology and business) and a master in business administration from Cornell University. He is a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve serving in war zones and with drug interdiction units in Central and South America. He went on to become executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium. Now he wants voters in the first congressional district of Oklahoma to get acquainted with him before the June 26 election and place their confidence in his abilities to successfully represent their interests in Congress.