From The Oklahoman...
U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, says he wants to continue to fight for smaller and less intrusive government.
U.S. Rep. Tom Cole said Tuesday he is seeking a fifth term to fight against the spiraling national debt and out-of-control spending in Washington, which he called one of the pre-eminent problems facing the country.
"This administration has frankly taken it to a new level,” said Cole, R-Moore, during a news conference held at the state Capitol. "More importantly, they've moved us into a big debate about where the country is going to go in the next half century or so.”
Cole predicted Republicans will do well nationally as a result of President Barack Obama's policies, especially his measure setting up a national health care system.
The health care bill will dramatically expand the federal government, Cole said. Democrats "used every trick in the book” to get it through.
"We're headed toward fiscal disaster unless we have dramatic changes in Congress,” he said.
"I think people are extraordinarily upset, and I think you're going to see that in 2010.”
Cole said it's possible the Republican Party's gains this fall could top the 54 Democratic seats the GOP won in 1994.
"I don't know if we'll gain that many, but it's going to be a very good year,” he said.
"This is an administration that believes that government is too small, that taxes are too low and that government needs to play a bigger role in the lives of individual Americans,” the 61-year-old said. "I think this administration wants to evolve us into a social democracy, kind of what we see in Europe. That's not what America is all about — it's about individual opportunity, personal freedom, achievement and responsibility.”
Cole was elected to the 4th Congressional District in 2002 to succeed J.C. Watts, who did not seek re-election.
Cole's only announced opponent so far is Republican R.J. Harris, an Army National Guard member who has served in Iraq and who said he may be deployed to Afghanistan this summer.
Harris reported he had $328 in campaign cash at the end of March. Cole's report showed he had $627,219.
The filing period for congressional offices is next week.
Cole said he is still passionate about serving in Congress.
"The biggest single issue in front of the country is restoring fiscal balance,” he said. "The spending has just been out of control.”
Cole last year considered running for governor, but said he decided he could help out the state more in Washington.
"I still think the big problems the country faces are in Washington, D.C., not in Oklahoma City,” he said. "I think Oklahoma's been pretty well run and members of both parties can take some pride in that. They've been pretty responsible.”
Cole last year was named to the powerful House Appropriations Committee; that also played a factor in his decision.
"That puts me in a position to work against frivolous spending, but also in a position to protect some things that are important to Oklahoma — military funding being one of them,” he said. "Everybody's got some interest in the appropriations process, and I want to make sure ours are looked after.”