WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep.-elect Jim Bridenstine has landed a spot on the House Armed Services Committee, giving Oklahoma coverage in the House and Senate of military policy as the nation winds down the war in Afghanistan and the Defense Department faces budget cuts.
Bridenstine, a Tulsa Republican, is a veteran U.S. Navy combat pilot who now flies for the Navy Reserve.
He also will serve on the Science, Space and Technology Committee.
Oklahoma does not currently have a House member on the Armed Services Committee; it is the first time in many years the delegation hasn't been represented on the panel. However, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, serves on the powerful Appropriations subcommittee that oversees military spending.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, who has been on the Senate Armed Services Committee since 1994, will be the top Republican on that committee next year.
‘True honor to serve'
Bridenstine said Wednesday his district has numerous Reserve and National Guard units.
“And if you look at the state as a whole, Oklahoma has strategically critical military installations, including Tinker Air Force Base, Vance Air Force Base, Altus Air Force Base and Fort Sill,” Bridenstine said.
He said he aims “to ensure our military bases and their units will be able to accomplish their missions well into the 21st century. I believe that given my background I'm perfectly suited for this committee, and it's going to be a true honor to serve.”
Bridenstine defeated incumbent Rep. John Sullivan, R-Tulsa, in the Republican primary in June and Democrat John Olson in the general election.
He is the former executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum.
The Science, Space and Technology Committee has wide jurisdiction over such matters as energy research, NASA and the National Weather Service.
“Serving on the Committee on Science, Space and Technology will give me a great opportunity to support the private sector as it sets future directions for U.S. energy, aviation and space flight,” Bridenstine said.
“Oklahoma's 1st District has a rich heritage in all these industries and can be a major contributor to each one in the future.”
Oklahoma's other incoming House freshman, Republican Markwayne Mullin, who won the open eastern Oklahoma seat, was assigned last week to committees that oversee the nation's transportation policy, American Indian tribes and federal land.