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Senator Lankford Statement on President Obama’s Visit to Oklahoma

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) released the following statement and information on the topics being discussed by President Obama during his visit to Oklahoma:

“Even with our many differences on policy, I, like many Oklahomans, pray for the President and want the best for our nation. As I have said before, the President of the United States is always welcome in Oklahoma. I welcome the President to the conversation regarding criminal justice reform, prison employee issues, Tribal economic development, and the role of the federal government in expanding broadband internet.

“Our federal prison and law enforcement employees do outstanding work carrying out justice and keeping our communities safe, yet their contribution to society often goes largely unnoticed. Our nation must be firm and clear on the consequences for crime, but if we can promote redemption, while reducing incarceration overspending and waste, then we should have that conversation.”

Visit to Durant High School:

The President is meeting with members of the Choctaw Nation while also announcing ConnectHome, a new program to subsidize broadband internet to 27 cities and the Choctaw Nation. Senator Lankford believes the private sector has expanded broadband and cell service to the nation and they should continue to take the leading role to expand broadband internet access. The free cell phone/lifeline program is riddled with fraud and waste; Lankford believes expanding free cell phones to free broadband will only make the problem worse.

In May, Senator Lankford led a Senate Indian Affairs Committee field hearing in Anadarko to highlight Indian-owned businesses and discuss policies that help foster economic development in Native American communities. The hearing, entitled “Advancing Economic Success in Indian Country,” served as a forum for Tribes and Native American business owners and community development officials to examine paths to economic success and discuss common barriers faced by some in their community. Before the hearing, Lankford and Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) toured the Riverside Indian School with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.

Visit to Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno:

Prison safety has been an important issue for Senator Lankford since he first served in Congress. While in the U.S. House of Representatives, Lankford pressed the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to create a pilot program for access to pepper spray for employees at several federal prisons, including the Federal Bureau of Prisons Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City. In 2013, Lankford co-sponsored the Federal Correctional Workers Safety Act of 2013 (H.R.1143), which would have required the Director of the Bureau of Prisons to ensure that each prison facility provides a secure firearms storage area for use by all employees who are authorized to carry a firearm, or allow employees to store their firearm in a Bureau-approved vehicle lockbox. Congressmen Frank Lucas (OK-03) and Cole also co-sponsored the legislation. Lankford now serves on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, which has jurisdiction for federal law enforcement programs.

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