Congressman Frank Lucas Loses Seat at the Table for Ag in Party Reshuffling - Promises to ReturnWed, 23 Jan 2019 19:02:36 CST
On Wednesday, House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Michael Conaway released the roster of Republican committee members that will serve in the wake of the party’s transition from majority to minority status in the House of Representatives. Not included on that list is Congressman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma’s 3rd District. Lucas is a longtime veteran of the House Agriculture Committee having previously served as Chairman of the committee overseeing the crafting of the last Farm Bill in 2014. This marks the first time in recent memory that an Oklahoman has not served on this committee. Lucas stated afterwards that he has accepted an alternative committee assignment on a temporary basis for the good of the party until such time as he can return. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays reached out to Congressman Lucas for comment after this announcement was made. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“With the smaller number of spots for Republicans on the various committees as we go from majority status to minority status - I’m helping the team; I’m helping the underclassmen; the new members coming in and I’ll temporarily be taking a leave from the Agriculture Committee… still be on the Financial Services…,” Lucas stated. “I will be the Ranking Member on the Science, Space & Technology committee. But, for this next couple of years, I’ll be helping the team as we get through some challenging time here in Congress.”
In being asked by his party leaders to accept this departure of the committee, Lucas has been assured that his seniority on the committee will be preserved and reinstated at such time he is able to return to the committee upon an eventual change in party dynamics. Lucas assured his constituents in the 3rd District that his focus remained on them and their interests - also noting that he will still have the opportunity to impact Oklahoma and the ag industry in this new role on the Science, Space & Technology committee.
“Agriculture is my first and foremost concern. It is my livelihood back home. It is the one industry that is everywhere in the 3rd District. I’ll be there for the Farm Bill. It’s just right now - sometimes you have to help the team,” he said, before listing the priorities of his new committee and how those will impact agriculture.
For example, with NASA under his new committee’s jurisdiction, he says much work is being done on weather satellites. Also, the National Science Foundation falls under this committee’s scope - which has had tremendous influence in terms of research grants for universities like Oklahoma State and OU. In addition, the National Weather Service is subject to this committee’s oversight and has a large facility in located in Norman, Okla.
“So, I’m looking forward to those responsibilities, a brand-new area,” he remarked, “but ever mindful of the core industries in my district and in my state.”
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