Path Home Shows 2015 Show Archive July 2015 Show 1530 Mr. Lankford Goes to Washington

Mr. Lankford Goes to Washington

James Lankford’s journey from youth camp director to U.S. senator gives insight to who he is and why he believes what he does.
Mr. Lankford Goes to Washington

Mr. Lankford Goes to Washington

For more information visit these links:

James Lankford

U.S. Senator for Oklahoma

Show Details

Show 1530: Mr. Lankford Goes to Washington
Air Date: July 26, 2015



Rob McClendon: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us here on “Horizon.” Well, to say a lot has happened to James Lankford over the past five years could be one of the biggest understatements you’re going to hear today. The one-time youth pastor now sits in the U.S. Senate, a politically meteoric rise that took many by surprise, including some of the more seasoned politicians that ran against him. Today, we’ll spend our time learning more about Oklahoma’s newest U.S. senator, but before we do, a little background on a life in some ways parallels an iconic movie character.


Rob McClendon: It’s a story that movies are made of and a role that made Jimmy Stewart a movie star.

Jimmy Stewart: No sir, I will not yield!

Rob: A political neophyte willing to risk all in hopes of helping his country.

Jimmy Stewart: I want to make that come to life for every boy in this land.

Rob: And a journey not that different than that of Oklahoma’s newest U.S. senator, James Lankford.

[Movie Excerpt: Let me show you around a little bit.]

Rob: First elected to the House in 2010, Lankford had spent the previous 14 years as the director of the largest Christian youth camp in the country.

James Lankford: Politics was not on the horizon.

[Music and Lyrics: Give me a J. J! Give me an A. A! Give me a M E S, yes that spells James. His voice is so low it can make the earth shake.]

Rob: A youth pastor better known for his pipes than his politics.

[Music and Lyrics: It’s like James Earl Jones in those Star Wars flicks when he mumbles or grumbles …]

Rob: So when two-term incumbent Mary Fallin announced she was giving up her congressional seat to make a successful run for governor, Lankford surprised many, even those closest to him, by entering the race.

James Lankford: When I filed, everyone that was around me, basically said, “You just did what?”

Rob: But in a seven-way Republican primary full of better funded and more established candidates, Lankford finished first.

Lankford: Tomorrow morning, the journey begins. Let’s get to work together.

Rob: Quickly rising to a leadership position in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Lankford: Hello. I’m Congressman James Lankford from the great state of Oklahoma.

Rob: But despite holding a safely Republican congressional seat, Lankford surprised people once again when he announced his plans to leave the House of Representatives and run for the U.S. Senate.

Lankford: Cybersecurity is a tremendous foreign threat that people are not paying attention to. It affects us in our day-to-day life.

Rob: And just like in his first congressional race, the chief competition coming in the primaries – from the powerful speaker of the House, T.W. Shannon.

[Shannon campaign ad: Lankford gave the green light to the Washington establishment for more spending, more debt.]

Rob: But when negative campaigning began to backfire against Shannon, a race many believed to be headed for a runoff, Lankford instead won outright.

[House roll call: Mr. Inhofe of Oklahoma, Mr. Lankford of Oklahoma.]

Rob: Sworn in as only the 17th person to ever serve in the Senate from Oklahoma, Lankford is once again a freshman lawmaker, but one that no one can now dismiss as inexperienced.

Lankford: People ask me all the time, “What do Oklahomans want from their federal government?” The answer’s simple – they want to be left alone. They do not want someone else over a thousand miles away telling them what to do, how to run their business and how to run their lives. It’s not the people in Oklahoma who are anti-government – far from it. We are grateful for people in government who serve faithfully every day. But we also understand that our federal government has a task and it also has a territory.

Rob: A change that Mr. Lankford has gone to Washington, to try to shape.

Rob: A philosophy that I will explore more with Oklahoma’s newest U.S. senator when we return.