Q&A: Sen. Steve Russell
BY WAYNE GREENE World Senior Writer
Sunday, April 08, 2012
4/08/12 at 2:56 AM
Home: Oklahoma City
Occupation: Self-employed public speaker, author, rifle business owner
Family: Married 26 years; five children ages 16-22
Education: Del City High School; bachelor's degree, Ouachita University; master's degree, Commanding and General Staff College
Why aren't you running for re-election?: "I just need a break. After 21 years in the infantry, three wars, coming home to retire and then going into politics, I want a little less contention in my life. ..."
Why did you join the Army when you were young?: "I always wanted to be a soldier. Ever since I was a child."
Why did you write your book "We Got Him," a memoir of commanding the military unit that captured Saddam Hussein after a six-month manhunt?: "I felt a moral responsibility to tell the story of my soldiers and the sacrifices that were involved in that. Many people think it was a bloodless affair, and the raid that got him was, but there was an awful lot of sacrifice that got us to that point."
What has been your top priority in the Legislature?: "I have worked very hard on veterans issues, adoption reform, reducing taxes and on the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms. Those are my signature issues."
Are you particularly proud of any one piece of legislation?: "Absolutely, the Soldiers Relief Act, which tax-exempted all of our military. We were not a non-taxing state, and we were losing a lot of the recruits from Oklahoma. ... I'm very proud of that one."
I understand you gave Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre some handgun training. How did that go?: "I admired her courage. She was very, very terrified of firearms, yet she recognized her own need for self-defense. She had a home invasion by two men and it really did scare her, and we worked together so that she could overcome that fear and defend herself. I'm very proud of her."