I’ll be voting for James Lankford in the upcoming primary for Oklahoma US Senate.

I record here my story of why.

I grew up in southeast Kansas, and I consider the Tri-States my home. That is, I consider myself a native of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. Oklahoma has been our residence for several years now, and Kevin Calvey was the first politician I came to know personally. I found him to be, above all, a good man.

A brief candidate bio is here, http://votesmart.org/candidate/biography/12479/kevin-calvey#.U52kaPldUog , at Vote Smart, and of course Google or Bing will find more. Still, as far as credentials go, he has an excellent portfolio. He is the kind of man I am proud to know. I was honored to have him represent me in the Oklahoma State House.

When Mary Fallin opted to run for Governor, Mr. Calvey threw his hat in the ring for the US Congress (our Oklahoma 5th District).

James Lankford was running as well, and the two pretty much tied with about a third of the vote each in the primary, and the runoff began in earnest. Apparently Lankford doing so well upset the apple cart. Kevin Calvey was the obvious choice by most indicators. He had the credentials and experience as well as the backing of the party. Further, I had become well acquainted with Mr. Calvey, and I was confident he would not only represent our local community well, but he would serve well the entire fifth district.

As a committed Christian, the virtues, particularly honesty in faith and practice, are important to me. As an aside, I agree with the founders, there can be no religious test. However, I want to know a candidate holds faith and holds it deeply and honestly. As weird as it may sound, I’ve known a couple of professing atheists who fit my definition. That is, despite claiming disbelief, they lived as though they would stand at Bema. They believed in Good and virtue and doing what is right, in beauty and honesty and Truth. It may not pass my religious test, but it does pass anything I can judge. God alone knows the heart. He alone has final say. If a candidate shows me he is honest in heart and is faithful, then I accept him as eligible.

So, back to the point of faithfulness shown by the two runoff candidates in 2010. Knowing Kevin Calvey, and learning what I learned of James Lankford at the time, both men’s convictions and commitment to values I honor were unquestionable. Both were demonstratedly honest, committed Christian brothers. I’m proud that assertion is a typical truism in Oklahoma politics.

Though I had strong positive and personal reasons to support Calvey, I had one reservation against Lankford. I have long experience with fundamentalism and some of the strictures and unreasonableness that can result from it. As prominent as Mr. Lankford was as a Baptist minister and youth leader, I was worried that he would be unreasonable.

Well, when James Lankford won the primary, I started looking at him harder, and I gradually became convinced that not only was he a man of character and strength, but he was thoughtful and reasonable.

He is the kind of man who makes clear his commitments and convictions, and then he says that if you will move in that direction with him, he will work with you. He believes a little movement in the right direction is much better than no progress at all.

Being redundant, but over the years since he joined Congress I have found James Lankford to be thoughtful, reasonable, and willing to compromise, but he will only compromise were he can see positive advancement toward the overall goals, and his goals have proven to be very consistent with my own.

Now, most of these facts only show how he has eliminated my only concern about him. What I hoped as a positive for him was that he would be diligent and hardworking, as he had proven himself to be before politics. He has exceeded my expectations beyond my highest hopes.

Congressman James Lankford worked with seemingly superhuman strength for the full time he has been in Congress. He even delayed campaigning for the open Senate seat while there was still work to be done for Oklahoma in Congress. James Lankford is the absolutely hardest working Congressman there  has been in recent decades, in my lifetime certainly. Most importantly to me, I still see his commitment to his family. He has not abandoned his wife and daughters to pursue fame and power in Washington DC. He has maintained his roots here in the district. He is still a family man and Oklahoman first.

Maybe I’m overdoing it, but I really cannot express my admiration and gratitude sufficiently. Mr. Lankford has exceeded all my expectations. He has been a truly great representative for Oklahoma’s fifth district, and he has helped all of Oklahoma, and he has helped fight corruption and overreach of the Federal Government.

Sure, he has made some unpopular decisions, but he has stood behind those decisions with ready answers, all of which have been thorough, thoughtful, and easy to understand, without minced words or political doublespeak.

Most of all, he has served and helped without becoming part of the problem. That is, he has not become someone who is a politician first. He is still a Christian, husband, father, and Oklahoman first. Politics for him is still obviously an appropriate priority aimed only at accomplishing the job he was elected to do. That is a very strong positive in my book.

Perhaps because I was emotionally invested in the Congressional race of 2010, but also because I am a concerned citizen who does write and share my views with my representatives, I have paid close attention. I write our Senators, and I write Mr. Lankford. (I occasionally write others, but not being in their voting districts, I don’t expect much.) Not only has Mr. Lankford replied to me, some of the replies were specifically addressing my letter (rather than being a more general statement regarding what my letter was about), but Mr. Lankford has written my personally regarding one or two of those letters, and Mr. Lankford’s staff members have called me directly a few times. This representative is committed to staying in touch with his constituents. (Senator Coburn’s staff has called me a couple of times over the years also. We have pretty good politicians here in Oklahoma.)

I have kept up with Mr. Lankford, following the media reports from him and about him, and my 15-year-old son and I have attended several of his local town-hall meetings over these years. He remembers both of us by name. Some of his staff members do also.

I will be voting for James Lankford for Senate because he is proven, experienced, hardworking, and committed to the conservative values I hold, even when the improvements have to be measured in baby steps. He is the kind of man who will work tirelessly to achieve even the smallest gains.

He is the kind of person I want representing Oklahoma in the United States Senate.