Our Problems Demand an Independent Approach

“Oklahoma Storm” 1945 Photograph by Bradley Smith (1910–1997)

Storm clouds are brewing on the horizon. Our tolerance of globalization and monopoly power has resulted in a disparity in wealth and income that is unconscionable … and growing. And the global Elites in whom that wealth is concentrating are more than happy to foment our current culture wars – in order to have us unnaturally divided by personal identity or political tribe, rather than class.

If that were not disturbing enough, our embrace of materialism and digital culture has left our communities soulless and disconnected, fueling polarization and saddling our youth with an epidemic of despondency. As a result, our very survival as a civilization and Union now hangs in the balance. There is no time to wait; this is Mark’s urgent call to action. He will head to Washington with a singular focus: to reclaim our economy and revive our culture.

As a first principle, Mark’s campaign is one deeply rooted in his personal faith, which compels Christians to emulate Jesus’ ministry and bring “good news to the poor”.

Martin Luther King, Jr. preaching about helping the poor.

In looking to Jesus’ Gospel for guidance, Mark humbly traces the same inspirational path as Martin Luther King, Jr., who famously stated --

"I didn't get my inspiration from Karl Marx; I got it from a man named Jesus, a Galilean saint who … was anointed to heal the brokenhearted. He was anointed to deal with the problems of the poor.”

So the framework Mark will utilize to analyze and devise legislation is first to assess the degree to which it will advance the lot of “the poor” – i.e. hard-working Americans struggling economically and psychologically to navigate a hostile economy and culture. At the end of the day, Mark will ask what policies best serve the interests of working Oklahomans, living paycheck-to-paycheck. In a word, his faith-based approach is a "populist" agenda.

Mark refuses to be constrained by national party platforms. His focus on the well-being of the common man naturally produces a broad, eclectic mix of policy positions - many do not line up with current partisan labelling because they creatively balance and meld diverse approaches, and utilize practical solutions that neither major party has the guts or clarity to address effectively.


Mark’s “take”--

"We live in an age in which the economy works well only for a narrow, affluent sliver of Americans, while the bulk of our population lives paycheck-to-paycheck in an environment of soul-rending materialism, meaningless careers, crushed expectations, and ever-widening disparities of wealth and income.

A majority of people alive right now can remember a different economic reality; one where prosperity was more broadly shared, folks worked hard at challenging jobs, and Americans appreciated having the world's highest standard of living.

The American economy is currently afflicted by deep structural ills that disproportionately and negatively impact the working class. Our leaders’ failure to protect and repatriate our industries, their willingness to tolerate market failures and indulge crony capitalism, has led us to a moment of crisis."

We must also reverse globalization’s windfalls by addressing the growing disparities of wealth and income between economic Elites and the rest of us. This rebalancing is best achieved through our tax system.

Individual Rights & Social Policy

Mark’s “take”--

"Issues of individual rights and personal identity are currently at the forefront of our political discourse. Whether it be debates over abortion, gun rights, the prevalence of systemic racism or youth gender dysphoria, cultural issues seem to dominate the agendas of our current political “tribes”.

These battles are a distraction from the more fundamental and consequential battle to reclaim our shared economic prosperity from the global economic elites. By design, the Elites are encouraging identity politics to distract us from class-based economic disparities and dissuade us from class solidarity. I look for policy solutions that can unite, rather than divide, working class Americans."

"It is now a well-established fact that America is experiencing an epidemic of youth despondency, resulting in thousands of annual deaths by suicide; and that heartbreaking trend closely tracks the advent of social media and its near universal adoption by our vulnerable youth. If a biological pathogen were causing such mass casualties, we would spare nothing to “stop the spread”. How can we then, in good conscience, not take every available legislative and regulatory step to stanch this mental health emergency?"

Foreign Policy & Defense

Mark’s “take”--

"I have lived long enough to see the general futility of U.S. covert operations, “nation-building”, and outright military intervention all over the world. Whether it be CIA operations in Iran under the Shah, arming the Contras in Nicaragua, military “mission creep” in Vietnam, hubris and deception in “liberating” Iraq, etc., all of these conflicts were tactically and/or militarily unsuccessful, left our reputation on the world stage bruised, and often sowed the seeds of future regional conflict.

The interventionist impulse of neoconservatives and neoliberals is not only immoral, but also has proven to be profoundly counterproductive. We should engage with the world and its conflicts, but only as the globe’s most generous contributor of humanitarian and peacekeeping assistance."

"Our Southern Border is the flash point for so much of what ails us as a nation. This absolutely insane situation is not sustainable without grave damage to our national sovereignty and permanent injury to the health and livelihood of individual Americans and their local communities."

Environment & Energy

Mark’s “take”--

"Climate change is an existential challenge for America and the world. There is no doubt the planet is warming, and that a substantial part of that warming is due to human activity.

There is plenty we can do, individually and as a nation, to be responsible stewards of our planet; and I’m committed to advancing those solutions in Congress. But there’s only so much we can do alone without ceding our economic sovereignty to our global rivals, and consigning our working class to unfair international competition.

I favor an “All of the Above” energy policy – maintaining strategic fossil fuel independence while aggressively developing sustainable alternatives."

Democracy & Elections

Mark’s “take”--

"With uniform eligibility and balloting laws in place, the election objections of 2020, and nightmare of January 6, likely would never have occurred. That’s because the most serious challenges to presidential Electors arose from the idiosyncratic and disparately enforced balloting and tabulation laws of individual states, most notably Pennsylvania and Arizona."

"Due to gerrymandering and other partisanship, well over half of Oklahoma elections are decided without a general election - effectively disenfranchising thousands of Oklahomans of all political affiliations. We will all benefit by moving our federal elections to a non-partisan system akin to that used in the City of Tulsa for municipal offices."

"The Valeo & Citizens United decisions represent the most disenfranchising legal development since the Civil War, as oligarchs and their non-natural creations are now empowered to completely drown out the political speech of regular Americans of ordinary means. This Constitutional error has ushered in the absurd, anti-democratic, and Establishment-supporting era of PAC spending, unregulated dark money, etc."

Tribal Issues

Mark’s “take”--

"Indian Country is currently dealing with serious issues arising at the intersection of Tribal sovereignty and State governance. The resulting chaos – caused by the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt decision – presents a clear and present danger to the safety and livelihood of all Oklahomans.

The good news is that McGirt reaffirmed Congress’ plenary authority to bring resolution to such issues. The bad news is that our Congressperson, Kevin Hern, is completely “asleep at the switch” -- allowing our tribes and Governor to continue on a dysfunctional path in the vacuum of Congressional action and leadership.

As a person of Indigenous heritage, I begin with an admitted bias in favor of Native rights. I grieve the genocide and injustice historically perpetrated on my ancestors (and all indigenous peoples) by European colonists and later, by proponents of Manifest Destiny. By the same token, as a Member of Congress I will have a responsibility to assess the contemporary realities of tribal rights and relations, and use my office to craft creative solutions that benefit all residents of Indian Country."