Video: John Sullivan relishes challenge in Tulsa’s First Congressional

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Published: 28-Jun-2010

John Sullivan has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since February 2002, when he replaced Steve Largent. In an interview this month with CapitolBeatOK and News9, Sullivan said, “I want to continue the work we’ve done the last few terms for the people who work in our state.”

Sullivan has always put a strong emphasis on support for the energy industry. He said, “There were 325,000 people working in the energy industry in our state, over 100,000 of them in the First Congressional District. I am able, from my position on the Energy and Commerce Committee to protect things like hydraulic fracturing.”

Recently, he said, federal officials proposed “to eliminate the exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act, saying that it leaks into the ground water. There’s been over a million hydraulic fracturing done in the United States over the last sixty years, and in not one instance has it ever leaked into the ground water.”

The proposed removal of the exemption, he said, “would be very detrimental to jobs and economic development in the First District, so I want to fight to protect that.”

Sullivan affirms “deficit hawk” views for his work on spending. He touted his involvement with a federal agency realignment bill he introduced to identify “waste, fraud and abuse for an up or down vote in Congress.”

Asked to elaborate, Sullivan explained the measure is “the Federal Agency Program Realignment and Closure Act, and it’s based on the BRAC or base realignment and closure bill, basically that [approach] — but with regards to every federal agency. It’s going through with a fine-toothed comb, rooting out waste, fraud, abuse and duplication.” Sullivan  contended, “Medicare, for example, has $60 billion worth of fraud.”

If his bill is enacted, “we set up this bipartisan commission, identify whatever they would find – say, for instance, that $60 billion – to Congress for an up or down vote. That money could only be used for deficit reduction. It can’t be put back in the general fund for spending or for more government.”

He said Republicans in Congress are “looking at all the entitlement programs. It’s very important to be doing that. We must be committed to that if we’re truly going to get this deficit under control. “

Although no Democrats filed to oppose him, independent Angelia O’Dell will be on the November ballot. To face her, Sullivan will have to work his way past five fellow Republicans, most of whom are running on “Tea Party” themes.

Sullivan said, “I look forward to the election. I love it. I love to talk about the issues. I have many opponents – every time I’ve ever run for office, from when I was a state legislator to Congress.”

He observed, “It’s a free country. Anyone who’s 25 years old, has 750 bucks and doesn’t have a felony conviction.