Frank Lucas and Frankie Robbins share more than a first name. Both want a nicer, more productive Congress.
“I’m that candidate that people say they want,” said Robbins, a Democrat running against the incumbent Lucas. “They don’t want the professional politician.”
Lucas, R-Cheyenne, says he’ll continue to be a workhorse for northwest Oklahoma’s 3rd Congressional District.
“If you go to work and not just to scream, then you can get something done. I think my track record has been to work. Not hoop and holler, not to shout, not to grandstand, but to work,” he said.
Lucas points to the farm bill, which he said is the only major piece of legislation in recent history to have passed through Congress in “regular order,” or the regular way bills are supposed to be adopted into law.
“I think I demonstrated with the 2014 farm bill that if you work hard enough, if you reach out to everyone, if you’ll put strong enough principles together in a bill. it’s still possible to get it done,” he said.
He led the creation of the farm bill because he was chair of the House Agriculture Committee. Caucus-initiated term limits mean he won’t be leadership on any committee this year, but he has been working toward earning a gavel in a financial services subcommittee.
First and foremost, he said, his responsibility is to reflect the opinion of his constituents in a “toxic environment.”
“Not only did we save money, but I did it in a way where a majority of my Republicans and Democrats on the committee voted for it,” Lucas said. “You could still do good things that are in the best interests of, in this case, the people of the great state of Oklahoma. It’s just that in the environment we’re in you have to work a lot harder.”
Robbins said he’s had enough of labels like liberal and conservative. The three-time challenger in congressional campaigns also laughs about being an underdog.
Since 2008, when he first ran for Congress from Medford, there haven’t been many changes.
“Nothing has changed except for the health care law. Nothing has changed, and the polarization has gotten worse. It’s just so vicious. It’s really a detriment to our democracy,” Robbins said.
Lucas believes things will change big time come Tuesday. He predicts Republicans will control both the House and Senate for the first time in President Barack Obama’s presidency.
With a Congress divided by partisan leadership, he said, the nation gets a boat that sails in circles.
“That would be OK if it was a safe world, we had a strong economy and if everything was great. Somebody’s got to make decisions,” Lucas said. “With a unified Congress, we’d be able to compel the president to work with us to make some things happen.”
It’s still too early to tell what the president will be like in his final two years, especially if he faces a GOP Congress, Lucas said.
“It’s hard to gauge what will come in the next two years, but I think we’ll be able to put good pieces of legislation on the president’s desk, and he can decide whether he supports them or not,” Lucas said.
Robbins recalled a saying he saw on a friend’s fridge. The saying, he said, has stuck with him.
“A bad attitude is like a flat tire. You’re not going anywhere until you change it,” he said. “I’m that change, that positive change and that different politician.
“I’m just an ordinary guy with an extraordinary and uncommon desire to serve the people,” he said. “My campaign promise is simply to tell the truth as best I know it, put my country and people first and partisan politics dead last.”