Hern Hosts Tele-Town Hall with over 11.5k Attendees
Washington, DC, February 8, 2022 | Miranda Dabney
Last night, Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) hosted a virtual town hall with constituents across the First District. The call included 11,597 participants both online and by phone.
Rep. Hern discussed recent issues including the crisis at our southern border, the situation in Ukraine, and the status of Federal vaccine mandates.
Excerpts from the call are below:
Lindi in Tulsa: If [Republicans] are lucky enough to take both the Senate and the House in 2022, what do [they] feel like is the largest issue facing the nation at this moment, and what is their plan to address it?
Rep. Hern: On day one last year – when President Biden was sworn into office – he said “I want to bring America together.” Then he… drives to the White House and ends the XL Pipeline, cuts Federal leases, returns our dependency on energy to the Middle East. So, this is all tied together – never kid yourself that it’s not. Think about – just in the last 12 months – what we’re dealing with. We’re dealing with the border crisis like we’ve never seen in the history of this country. We’re dealing with the Afghan crisis. We’re dealing with the crime crisis – we’re seeing it everywhere. Police officers are being murdered. We’re seeing businesses being looted. [The Ways & Means Committee] just had a hearing last week on the mental health crisis; teenage suicides are at an all-time high in this country. We’re dealing with the fentanyl crisis because of our open Southern border. There’s now enough fentanyl that was caught [in] the last fiscal year to kill the entire population of the United States five times over. And what we have now is the inflation crisis. So we have a lot of things that we’re dealing with right now in the first twelve months of President Biden’s presidency. We have a lot going on, and we have to be concerned about the sovereignty of our country. So, we can’t just focus on one thing; we’re going to have to focus on a lot.
Jeff: Can we expect a Russian incursion in Ukraine to effect energy prices in the industry here in Oklahoma?
Rep. Hern: The short answer is yes. I’ve heard numbers as high as $5.00 a gallon for gas. It may be only temporary, but you have to remember now that we’re not energy-independent or energy-dominant like we were just about 13 months ago, everything that we do to meet our supply and demand in the United States is going to be driven by how much it costs to import crude from the Middle East, which has impacts on what happens with Russia. There’s going to be a significant increase in crude. Fuel costs at the pump are roughly 64% higher than they were a year ago. So, all these policies matter; it’s a huge contributor to inflation: we all have to drive places, especially in Oklahoma. We’re a rural state… Fuel prices going up are going to be significant should Russia invade Ukraine.
Multiple Callers: What’s going on in Congress regarding vaccine mandates?
Rep. Hern: The Supreme Court ruled that the President didn’t have the Constitutional authority to do an executive order pushing OSHA to… enforce [the vaccine mandate] and… fine businesses tens of thousands of dollars per issue. So that’s been set aside. The healthcare workers – we’re still pushing on that. We lost… from the National Guard standpoint. The Secretary of Defense ruled that National Guardsmen had to get vaccinated to stay in the military, [just] as everyday regular military people need to. So, this is going to be a constant battle. But also, what you’re not seeing a lot [in the media] is… the pushback on things that [federal, state, and local governments have] done. We saw Johns Hopkins University do their studies and say that a lot of the things we did with social distancing had zero effect, or such a miniscule effect that it really wasn’t worth the psychological pain that we put our American citizens through. Again, if anyone’s concerned about vaccination mandates, about yourself being vaccinated, talk to your physician, don’t let somebody in a news organization try to convince you that you need to get vaccinated. Go to your doctor to tell you about your specific health situation.