Featured photo by Matthew Simonson/Oracle
U.S. Senator James Lankford, Oklahoma’s junior senator, paid a visit to his constituents at ORU on Wednesday, Sept. 4.
Students received an hour of the senator’s time, devoted to answering their questions about topics ranging from public policy to life and career advice.
The 50-60 students, faculty and staff in attendance applauded him as he entered the Fenimore Room in the Hammer Center. He smiled, sipped his Sonic drink and waved his hand in modesty to the crowd.
Lankford opened the discussion briefly detailing his background in ministry, family life, and his role in the United States Senate.
“You don’t know where you’re going in the days ahead,” said Lankford. “But make sure you’re ready when you get there that God can use you in whatever task that he has placed you in.”
The first question of the afternoon came from a student in the back of the room who asked about the senator’s view on abortion.
Photos by Matthew Simonson/Oracle
“I am tenaciously pro-life because I believe in the value of every single individual. I believe that every person is created in the image of God; every person has value and worth.” he answered.
Lankford further laid out his beliefs on abortion and the discussions he has had with his colleagues in the Senate on this issue.
Another student, concerned with recent mass shootings across the U.S., questioned the senator about his actions on this issue.
“This ultimately comes back to, over and over again, a family and a community issue. The devolving of families, the devolving of communities, the isolation individuals, the more an individual acts out,” Lankford explained. “Part of our role in community is to be able to engage with people that are hurting, that are isolated, and to be able to make sure we’re watching out for our own families as well.”
The senator addressed specific legislation that he and his colleagues are working on to reduce gun violence across the country.
Students proceeded to question him over his stances on education visas, human trafficking, and being a Christian in politics. Lankford spent extensive time addressing the issues of abortion and living out his faith as a public official.
“It’s my responsibility to be able to do my job well, because I can’t hide behind the fact that I’m a Christian.” said Lankford. “I’ve got to also understand that everything I do is for the glory of God…that means I better do the best job.”
Afterwards, Sen. Lankford took pictures and spoke one-on-one with students before heading to another townhall for his constituents.At the end of the session, ORU Convergence Journalism major Deborah Laker led the room in prayer over the senator. ORU Vice President of Advancement Laura Bishop presented him with a Praying Hands sculpture.