Rep. Frank Lucas undaunted by group's label of 'liberal Republican'
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Thursday, February 28, 2013
2/28/13 at 4:35 AM
Third District U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas said Wednesday that he will not be influenced by a conservative group's threat to find a primary opponent for him next year.
"I am surprised ... Club for Growth would target me as a Congressman who has not voted conservatively enough," Lucas said through his Washington office.
"In my record of representing my constituents, ... I have always put their best interest first."
Club for Growth, a Washington-based interest group, said Wednesday that it is targeting nine incumbents it calls "liberal Republicans."
It said Lucas has voted in line with the organization's policies 68 percent of the time during his 19 years in Congress.
Perhaps more to the point, though, is the Club for Growth's antagonism to just about every government program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Lucas, the senior member of Oklahoma's House delegation, is chairman of the Agriculture Committee, which writes the budget - commonly called the farm bill - for the USDA.
The bill includes spending for nutrition programs such as food stamps and school lunches, as well as farm subsidies, all of which are opposed by Club for Growth.
Club for Growth opposed the farm bill produced by Lucas' committee last year, even though it cut about $35 billion in spending, and lobbied against a discharge petition that would have forced a vote on it.
The bill never got a vote on the House floor, resulting in a temporary extension to prevent a potential shutdown of the USDA.
"The Club for Growth is trying to affect Republican primaries, and I believe that is their right of free speech," Lucas said.
"However, anytime I have to choose between the influences of D.C. political groups and my fellow Oklahomans, I will always side with my fellow Oklahomans."
Original Print Headline: Lucas undaunted by group's label of 'liberal Republican'
Randy Krehbiel 918-581-8365
U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas: "The Club for Growth is trying to affect Republican primaries, and I believe that is their right of free speech. However, anytime I have to choose between the influences of D.C. political groups and my fellow Oklahomans, I will always side with my fellow Oklahomans."