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Horn making her way in Congress

U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn
U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn

Coverage of the freshman class of the U.S. House of Representatives has focused largely on three members — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York for her progressive wish list, and Reps. Ilhan Omar of Michigan and Rashid Tlaib of Minnesota for some of their comments about Jews and the president.

Rep. Kendra Horn wouldn’t mind if some attention were paid elsewhere.

During a recent meeting with The Oklahoman, Horn, who represents Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District, said freshmen Democrats are “a lot more moderate as a group, we just don’t get the coverage that certain people do … we don’t make quite the splash.”

Horn didn’t name names but didn’t have to. Ocasio-Cortez has dominated the media airwaves since upsetting a 10-term Democratic incumbent in the primary, and has used the attention to push her democratic socialist agenda that includes the “Green New Deal.”

Meanwhile, Horn says, her colleagues are “just rolling up our sleeves and saying, ‘What do we need to do?’ I think that opens a lot of potential to get things done.”

Those newcomers who were elected in November, she says, “ran because they cared about their communities. It’s a group of really good people” who have been “working to develop those relationships across the aisle. You have to work at it, but I think it’s important, to the delegation but also more broadly.”

Horn pulled off one of the bigger upsets of the 2018 election cycle by defeating Republican incumbent Steve Russell, becoming the first Democrat in more than 40 years to win the 5th District seat. She is the lone Democrat in Oklahoma’s five-person House delegation.

Horn says her reception by the rest of the delegation has “been great,” and not a surprise. “We might not always agree on policy issues, but we’re going to work together,” she said.

During her brief time in Washington, Horn has sided with her party on most of its priorities, including voting for Nancy Pelosi as speaker and for a broad election and ethics reform bill filled with changes long sought by Democrats. She also has voted with Republicans on a handful of votes, most of them procedural, but is among a group of 55 Democrats being targeted in 2020 by the National Republican Congressional Committee.

She says the top item on her to-do list has been to be accessible to her constituents and provide the best services possible.

“I tell my staff all the time, I wasn’t elected to serve only the people who voted for me,” she said. Similarly, she says, she wasn’t elected “to represent an end of the political spectrum.”

“I intend to keep looking at every single issue that comes up — is this good policy, No. 1? Is it good for Oklahoma and is it good for the nation? Those have to be at the top of the list in how we make those decisions.”

The Oklahoman Editorial Board

The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Kelly Dyer Fry, Publisher, Editor and Vice President of News; Owen Canfield, Opinion Editor; and Ray Carter, Chief Editorial Writer.. To submit a letter to the editor, go to this page or email... Read more ›