First District Congressman Kevin Hern announced Wednesday he will seek re-election in 2020, and will kick off the campaign with a rally Saturday afternoon featuring Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan.

“It’s been a real honor to serve the people of the 1st District, and to work for real-life solutions for them,” Hern said Wednesday afternoon.

A first-term Republican, Hern said Jordan will attend a private fundraiser and a public rally at Stoney Creek Hotel and Convention Center, 200 W. Albany St., Broken Arrow.

The public rally begins at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Jordan is best-known as one of the founders of the Freedom Caucus, a group of fiscal conservatives who contributed greatly to the downfall of former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner.

Hern is not a caucus member but said he is often in agreement with it.

“I’m not giving my vote to any caucus, but my voting record is comparable to anyone in the Freedom Caucus,” he said.

A businessman whose interests include McDonald’s franchises, banking, construction and manufacturing, Hern has concentrated his efforts on small business development.

Speaking to the Rotary Club of Tulsa on Wednesday, Hern said his work on the Small Business Committee has been rewarding because it is not as politically driven as some others.

“Most of the witnesses we hear are Democrats, but after they talk about five minutes you can’t tell if they’re a D or an R,” Hern said. “When you get the politics out of it, you find a lot of people who just want the government to get out of their way” so they can do business.

Hern was asked about President Donald Trump’s trade policies, particularly with China. Trump says the tariffs he’s imposed will eventually force the Chinese to the negotiating table, but farmers, manufacturers and retailers say the import taxes are driving up costs and shutting them out of an important market.

China was the No. 1 foreign market for American agriculture products in 2017, but the Chinese government recently ordered a stop to all U.S. agriculture imports.

Hern said Trump has been successful in getting other nations to negotiate with the U.S. on a variety of issues, but said China has the patience and discipline to wait out many opponents.

Hern acknowledged the tariffs are a hardship for many Americans and said he opposes allowing the executive branch to levy such taxes without approval of Congress.

“It’s complicated,” he said, referring to the trade situation. “I don’t know how long people can hold out.”

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Randy Krehbiel


Twitter: @rkrehbiel

Randy has been with the Tulsa World since 1979. He is a native of Hinton, Okla., and graduate of Oklahoma State University. Krehbiel primarily covers government and politics. Phone: 918-581-8365

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