Live Blog with State Sen. Andrew Rice [OK-Sen]

I never thought I’d be doing what I am today.Running for public office was never an ambition of mine.  With a background in theology and missionary work, I always thought my life’s work would be teaching religion and tolerance; I thought I’d be leading a life of service, not one of public service.Many of you know why that all changed for me – it was when my brother was killed on 9/11 in the World Trade Center attack.  After working with victims’ families groups to push for responsiveness and accountability in investigating why that terrible event happened, a new calling came before me.

I returned home to Oklahoma to start a family and a public advocacy organization.  When a state senate seat opened up in my neighborhood, I decided to run for that office and try to affect change from within state government.  After knocking on 20,000 doors, I was fortunate enough to win that election.

I love being a state senator.  I love having direct contact with my constituents and being able to take their concerns straight to the state capitol.  In my job, I’ve been able to reassure people in my district that government can be a force for good in people’s lives.

When I was approached about running for U.S. Senate last year, I was initially reluctant.  Like many Oklahomans, I was wary about the Washington establishment.  But then I began to ask myself why Washington couldn’t be a little more like my state senate district, where the needs and concerns of voters are taken directly to the seat of government.

Many of the fights I’ve been leading in the Oklahoma legislature are fights that need to be taken to Washington.  I’ve fought to expand health insurance coverage for children to close the gap between those who qualify for Medicaid and those who can afford private insurance.  My second TV ad, which you can see here, talks about my fight to hold insurance companies to their word in covering patients who enroll in potentially life-saving clinical trials.

I’ve fought to honor our veterans and our troops by battling hunger, homelessness, and shortfalls in benefits for those who have given so much to serve our country.  I’ve fought for common-sense solutions to our energy problems that will grow our economy while developing clean, renewable energy alternatives that will make us both energy independent and environmentally responsible.

My opponent, Jim Inhofe, has ignored the needs of Oklahomans on all of these issues, instead pursuing his own ideological agenda and putting the needs of corporate lobbyists ahead of his constituents.  He talks about how he doesn’t change – but the problem is that while he hasn’t changed, the world has.  He’s out of touch with Oklahoma and with the new realities that have made his worldview a relic from the past.  For the future of Oklahoma, Jim Inhofe needs to retire.

More details about my campaign and our issues are on my website, www.andrewforoklahoma.com, and I’m happy to take your questions.

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