When Christie and I first decided to enter into public service, our first concern was our family. When we were first honored enough to be able to represent the great state of Oklahoma, one of the first questions asked was: “Are you going to move our kids to Washington?” Our five kids are country kids through and through. Christie’s family and my family are generational in Oklahoma. The decision was easy – we are staying at home.
Very often, I get asked how I manage being a Member of Congress and father of five. My response is: “I am blessed with a great wife. She raises us all.”
Christie and I knew our roles in the family were going to change when I would be gone more than 40 weeks a year working in Washington, more than 1,000 miles away from home. With only my weekends with my family, we were going to have to change how our family communicated and how we prioritized our time together. Our priorities are the same: God, family, you.
This past week, Christie and I celebrated our 20th anniversary. We often say that we quit working for ourselves the day we had our first child, so as we reflected on our 20 years of marriage together, it was tough not to think about how being a Member of Congress has affected our family and our kids over the past few years. While the opportunity to serve the great state of Oklahoma is an honor, God and family come first. Without those two, our service is pointless.
Ultimately, every opportunity is what you make of it. The opportunity to serve in Congress as a citizen legislator and represent the communities and families I grew up with and worked with my entire life is truly a blessing. It’s also an opportunity for our kids. It allows our kids to witness civil discourse and appreciate the beauty of democracy firsthand.
Our family will always be one of our top priorities. The choice to serve in Congress isn’t our lifestyle and it isn’t our career – it’s a calling. More than anything, it’s an opportunity to show our kids what a gift it is to follow the Lord’s call. The Lord puts each of us on a path for a reason greater than our understanding. My family and I are truly honored to be part of your family in Oklahoma.