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James Lankford prepares for freshman term in Congress

Freshman U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, will represent Oklahoma's 5th District when new Congress begins today.
BY CHRIS CASTEEL Published: January 5, 2011

— Facing a room full of friends and family members who came here to see him sworn into Congress, James Lankford couldn't keep from being emotional.

“We were overlooked, but we felt called to do this task and we just went out and did it,” Lankford said Tuesday after a ceremonial swearing-in conducted by Rep. Frank Lucas, the dean of Oklahoma's House delegation.

Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, choked up when he thanked his wife and daughters for the sacrifices they made during his yearlong campaign for Congress and talked about splitting his time between here and his home.

“We have never as a family been separated … We've always done everything together,” he said.

And he expressed his gratitude to people like Holly Isch, his volunteer campaign manager, and her husband, Greg, who took on extra work after Holly gave up her salary.

“It wasn't about me,” he said. “It was about us … This group that has been us in this journey.”

Lankford, 42, will be officially sworn in today, when the new Congress begins, taking the 5th District seat vacated by Gov.-elect Mary Fallin.

The former Baptist church camp director, who was little known when the campaign began, defeated a field of Republican candidates that included two sitting members and one former member of the state Legislature. He defeated Oklahoma City attorney Billy Coyle in the general election.

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