View Full Version : Law student (RJ) will run for Congressional seat

08-27-2009, 12:42 PM

R.J. Harris, a second-year OU law student and veteran of military service in Iraq, will run against incumbent Republican Congressman Tom Cole in the 2010 primary election.

Harris said he decided to run against Cole for the fourth district Congressional seat because he doesn’t think Cole is true to the conservative ideal.

“I saw that my representative was voting for bailouts and was giving away my liberty through incremental socialism,” Harris said. “Tom Cole calls himself a conservative Republican, but he is not acting like one and hasn’t been acting like one since January 2008.”

Cole said he is still true to his conservative values, and he also thinks about the decisions he makes before every vote.

“I reject the notion that my opponent is the arbiter of what is, and what is not, conservative,” Cole said. “I would suggest that my lifetime “A” rating with the National Rifle Association, my lifetime 100 [percent] rating with the National Right to Life, and my lifetime 93 [percent] rating from Americans for Tax Reform are more objective and accurate measures of where I stand on the political spectrum than the arbitrary opinions of a political opponent.”

Harris’ solutions include returning the power of many public policy decisions to the states as he said the 10th Amendment requires.

“We should let the states make policy rather than expecting Congress to do everything,” Harris said. “If citizens of a state want universal health care, then they should be able to get together and raise the money and implement a universal health care policy. Congress should not be making these kinds of decisions. It is unconstitutional.”

Harris also said President George W. Bush is not a real conservative.

“If the Bush administration and the Republican Congress and Tom Cole were truly conservative, they would not have passed Medicare Part D reform and taken us into a war which was not authorized by Congress that costs us billions of dollars every year,” he said. “Those two acts alone expanded government spending and were unconstitutional. It is time we return the government back to what is written in the Constitution and nothing more and nothing less.”

Cole said he understands what it means to be a conservative, and still seeks to uphold his values.

“My personal view of what it means to be conservative includes a commitment to small government, low taxes, minimal government interference in commerce and trade, maximum personal liberty, strong national defense, and support for traditional American values,” he said.

Harris said though he served two tours of duty in Iraq, he felt the use of armed forces was unconstitutional and the money should be spent elsewhere.

“We are supposed to have a declaration of war approved of by the Congress, and that declaration is only to happen in times of an invasion and defense of the country in times of attack,” he said. “This war was never authorized by Congress, not to mention the amount of money we are spending is outrageous.”

Cole said although he was not serving in Congress in 2002, he supports the use of American armed forces in Iraq and the president was authorized to deploy troops under U.S. House Resolution 114.

Harris said he would like to debate Cole about conservative issues and topics like the use of American troops in Iraq and the federal stimulus packages. Cole said he would consider a debate when voters are closer to hitting the booths.

“This year is not about a debate among Republicans,” Cole said. “It is a debate with the Obama administration over policy and a discussion with my constituents about their views ... Election politics can surely wait until the election season.”

Harris said he would be hosting events around OU and is even taking interns to help him with his campaign.

“We are registered with Career Services,” said Jonathan Gibbons, Harris’ campaign manager. “Anyone who wants to intern with us can sign up there. We will also bring other candidates in from around the country to talk to students.”

Gibbons said students can look forward to meeting Harris and other candidates as the election season starts.