The Beginnings Of Jim Inhofe’s US Senate Career

In just two months, Jim Inhofe will step down from his seat in the United States Senate and from a political career spanning seven decades. From state representative to mayor of Tulsa to both houses of Congress, Inhofe, 87, has brought sustainable principles to every job, but he made the biggest impact in the Senate by understanding the importance of giving up.

James Mountain Inhofe’s service in the Senate began, he said, with a humble experience, which would affect him for 28 years, to this day. He was speaking for the first time on the floor of the senate.

“Yes, I was a little disappointed that day,” Sen. Inhofe recalled in a recent interview.

Almost thirty years later, Inhofe still remembers how he, who was newly elected to fill the term that David Boren had not reached, brought the anger that he spoke in the House during the debate of the Senate, later the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, genial West Virginia. Democrat Robert Byrd, gave Inhofe advice.

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“He said, ‘Boy, I like your voice, but this is the United States Senate, this is not the House and this is not how we operate,'” Inhofe said.

Inhofe said Sen. Byrd explained to him in detail that: “If you make enemies, you can’t do anything,” Inhofe remembers that Byrd, “everything is done by consensus and he said, ‘You’re dead water, you can’t do it.

That advice, Inhofe said now, shaped the way he went about his work from that day on. He said it’s a big reason he’s developed deep and productive relationships with Democrats like former California Senator Barbara Boxer, Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders, and Rhode Island Democrat Jack Reed.

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“All these people are my close friends,” said Inhofe. “They shouldn’t be my best friends, but they are and we do things that no one else can do.”

Inhofe and Boxer alternated as chairman and member of the Environmental and Public Works committee, which in part approves federal highway funding. He and Senator Reed are currently a member and chairman, respectively, of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which oversees the annual defense appropriations bill.

Inhofe said these are two things – roads and security – that he decided early in his Senate career that he wanted to focus on.

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“You go read the Constitution,” Inhofe said, “The law says there are two main things we do: one is military — we want to protect America — and the other is infrastructure. The committees that are important — Environment and Public Works… and there it is.” [Armed Services].”

Inhofe said he combined his understanding of the Constitution with the scientific advice of Sen. Byrd and found that he and his friends across the country were able to achieve the most important work in the country, something he was very proud of as he neared retirement.

“There is no need to make enemies over things,” said Sen. I’m afraid.


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