In 2014 I had the opportunity of spending a day with Congressman Frank Lucas and his wife Linda on their modest ranch in far western Oklahoma. My assignment was to simply document a typical Saturday at their ranch in western Oklahoma. Nothing was staged, I simply followed them around on their normal day. I was impressed by his humbleness and the warmth with which people in the surrounding communities welcomed him to their world. Why were they so welcoming? Because he and his wife are part of the Oklahoma community.
I thought with the coronavirus stories gripping the national and local news, a deeper look into one of the people making decisions for us in Washington would people feel a bit more comfortable.
You see, Lucas doesn’t “live” in Washington, DC. Sure he works there for his fellow Oklahoman’s, but he actually lives and loves Oklahoma. Most weeks sees him flying home from Washington DC on a late Friday evening flight, arriving in Oklahoma City around 8 pm, then driving two hours to his home near Cheyenne and arriving around midnight. On Saturday mornings he is helping his wife with their cattle, hauling hay, buying feed at the local feed store, or meeting friends and constituents for coffee at the local cafe. He works all weekend around the ranch and then drives back to OKC late Sunday afternoon to catch the last flight to Washington DC.
When Congress is not in session, Lucas splits his time between working on his ranch and visiting constituents in his widely-dispursed congressional district, which covers pretty well all of western Oklahoma including parts of Oklahoma City.
Lucas holds around 50 town hall meetings per year. Small gatherings in local cafe’s, meeting halls, and fairs. He invites his constituents to talk about the issues he deals with in DC on a regular basis. Lucas is a history buff, and understands US history and the complex politics involved more than most. He has studied past presidents and congressmen to learn the trials and tribulations they had to deal with, hoping to improve his decision-making in the process. Lucas actively strives to build relationships with Congressmen and women on both sides of the aisles. “Getting anything valuable done in Washington requires compromise and working together,” he tells a local audience.
So the next time you push for term limits, or make the blanket statement that “all people in Washington DC are crooks” I will counter with “No. No they are not. There are actually some very good people serving our state, and I know one of them.”